When I first started flipping houses I thought it would be a combination of a few simple steps that would guide me from start to finish.
How hard could it be to fix a house?
I mean all you have to do is get rid of the bad or old and replace it with new and fresh.
How hard is that really? Well, if you think it is that easy you are in for a rude awakening when you start your first flip, and prepare your scope of work for your contract.
Now as a rookie I had very little experience in construction, only a little time I spent in high school working with a company that repaired houses after floods or fires.
So when I was ask for a scope of work I simply handed them the repairs list I put together.
WHAT A MISTAKE THIS WAS!
I did not know at the time but I had opened Pandora’s box of up-charges and change orders… I was basically giving them money!
From that experience I learned how to make a scope of work and after several properties under my belt I got down a system. (Free copy of my book with the scope of work here!)
What I am going to outline in the next paragraphs are some basics you NEED to incorporate in your Scope of Work
- Who is responsible for Materials
As you go through projects you will see that you can use many of the same product more than once for multiple jobs. This means that a cost savings can come back to you when you can buy in bulk you can get the savings.
Additionally contractors will charge for the materials with a mark up, generally 20-40%, which is a huge part of what you are making on any deal! I personally take responsibility for the following items on a bid
- Fixtures (Electric)
- Ceiling Fans
- Vanity Lights
- I don’t do can lights, and until recently I did not do ceiling fans either
- Not for the weak of heart, or for the major remodel. Cabinets, without a great vendor, can be the end of you.
- Includes bathroom vanities
- Plumbing fixtures
- Faucets (Kitchen and Bathroom)
- Shower and tub Fixtures
- Kitchen and bathroom counter tops provided by local vendor
- Remnant pieces can be used from job to job to spice up a bathroom or for a small wet bar.
- All kitchen appliances
Items I don’t provide
- Installation items
- Thin set
- Screws, etc
- Mechanical Items
- HVAC System
- A/C Condenser
- Water Heater
- Windows and Doors (Depending on project I will take these on, if there is a Window and door schedule create by a third party IE, Architect)
- Landscaping items
- Roofing supplies
Every job is a little different but these are the general guidelines I provide for a Contractor on what I will be providing. It is very important you denote very clearly on the Scope what is will be provided and what will not be provided, not being clear will create major issues moving forward and cost you and your contractor time and money.
2. Know Your Vision
I have said it before to people I work with but it is important to note that, “If you don’t communicate something I don’t know it, and I am not a mind reader.” Communication in your scope is vital to ensure your vision comes to life. Some many times I have seen or heard:
- “Put that tile in that people like the is so popular right now”
- “Laminate or wood in this room, but maybe tile I am not sure. Just bid them all for here
- “Like a basic granite, not a crazy one but not a cheap one”
- ” White cabinets that are modern but kinda timeless, but I don’t want expensive or cheap”
- “Paint it green and white with some yellow, colors that will work for the neighborhood”
What is the issue with the comments above? There is room, not just room but a TON of room for interpretation. Leaving project ideas open ended is a pitfall of an investor that will never see true success. Here is why it can take you down and reduce your profits;
- Vision is not created by YOU the investor but instead created by the contractor. The motivations and rewards for both parties vary dramatically, which will hurt your end product!
- Disputes Disputes Disputes! No one wants to go into a dispute over a contract. It costs time, money and headaches. Having a clear scope of work can reduce this significantly.
- Change Orders, you may get a great bid based on your “This grade but not that grade” comments, but when the rubber meets the road your vision and the one you bid can differ and cost you money! This is even more painful if you are on a tight budget and don’t have room for changes, IE construction draws only to a set amount, UGH.
- Hodge podge of design. One of the greatest values in a flip property is uniformity. When vision and uniform design are broken so is the experience for your buyers. It is your job to show the house in its greatest form, and with the highest level of uniformity
3. Follow a Plan
This is something I do for everything in my life!
No joke, I plan out almost everything nowadays. When I truly decided I would be an entrepreneur my goal was to lead my life with freedom and abandon a schedule. Funny thing was, abandoning a schedule and being free don’t actually line up!
The whole story behind this is for another day, but here is the jist of it. FOLLOW A PLAN.
All of my scopes layout the home in a basic format and all you have to do is copy it and plug and play. Here is a FREE Copy, it is in my extras on my book 🙂
4. Spend Time at Other Investors Property
I know that everything I have put out there is a lot of work and requires you to gain knowledge, I know that… That said the reason you get the opportunity to make so much CASH on a deal is because you are putting in that effort!
I have found that the best people to talk to about what you can do to spice up a property are your fellow investors. Show up at there open houses when they come up online. Take notes, photos and more notes. Photo both the style of design you like and the one you do not.
Often time, every time at my properties, the paint they used is in the garage along with excess material. This is a great way to get color scheme and supply names if you really like the layout. The goal is to be present in your industry, and to take in advice from your peers.
It is one of the most fulfilling things in the industry when someone talks to you about your product and wants information, and to be clear I still go to many open houses and learn more and more each time. In fact I would venture to say that I take more away from the open houses now that I know how to ask questions and see what I am missing
So wrapping it up for this article the key is to know your vision and communicate that effectively to your contractor.
To be successful at this you must first know you vision and your plan. You must follow the layout for a scope of work in my book, and you need to continue to grow constantly by attending open houses and networking with your peers.
It isn’t easy but it is worth it and as you perfect your system you will move faster and be able to grow into a much larger business than just 1 flip, and bigger than just yourself!
Andrew T Greer
CEO Better Tomorrow Group
Andrew is an active investor, speaker, Realtor, serial entrepreneur, and educator in all that is Residential Real Estate. If you would like a FREE copy of his book follow this LINK. If you would like to follow him on Social media you can find him on Instagram @beastmoderealestate and @bettertomorrowgroup on Twitter/Periscope @TheBTGRoup and Facebook at Better Tomorrow Group.