Should you do the Rehab Work Yourself
When it comes to flipping a house one of the most common questions is, should you do all or some of the rehab work yourself?
Before we get too far into the discussion about doing the work yourself you need to ask yourself a few of questions?
Do you have the skills do actually do the work? You must be able to do the work to a professional standard. People will expect craftsmanship.
Do you have the necessary tools? Different projects take different tools. It may be quite expensive to go out and purchase everything you need to complete various tasks. If you are confident that you will continue this type of work maybe it is worth it. If not, you could be wasting more money and taking profit out of your flip.
Do you have the time to do the work? Trust me, it will take longer than you think.
Can you do the work quickly working alone?
If you answered ‘no’ to any of these questions then you might not want to try to do the rehab work on your flip house yourself.
So, why would you want to do the work yourself? The two most common reason is the joy of working on a flip rehab and probably the most common to save money. Be careful with the ‘save money’ reason because it might actually end up costing you money to do the work yourself if you take too long or have to have it redone because you did not do it right or created new problems!
Perhaps you want to do some of the work, but not all. The easiest way to see what you can or cannot do is to break the projects down into categories.
Basic, would be simple things like painting, cleaning, non structural demolition, light sanding, filling nail holes in the wall, new faucets, new sinks etc… Basically, anything that can be done with little or no expertise and you have a low risk of making things worse.
These types of items are pretty simple and would probably be worth you doing yourself if you have the time. These items are a fairly easy way to save money if you are flipping a house for profit.
Intermediate, would be things a little more complicated. Think of tasks you could accomplish using various electrical equipment like saws. If you can replace a tile floor or build a small deck these types of things would fall into the intermediate category. In this category would also be repairing larger holes in the walls which is something you may frequently find.
Advanced, would be the most complicated projects. Things here would require extensive experience and perhaps the ability to read blueprints. This category would include rewiring or replumbing a house. This would also include removing walls or other structural changes. Items in this category are probably the ones you would not want to tackle alone.
One word of caution from someone that has been there when it comes to flipping a house, replacing drywall is a lot harder than you think it will be. This is one of those tasks that I really thought I could do without much expertise but was wrong. To be precise, it is not the hanging of the drywall that is be biggest problem, although that can be a chore until you figure out the ‘secrets’! No, it is the mudding of the drywall that proved to be a challenge for me. I found that mudding takes a lot of practice and is really more of an art than anything else.
Another issue you may run into when trying to do the work yourself is knowing what permits you need. You can check with your local building department and they can help you if they are not too busy. If you are just painting or do some minor repairs you will probably will not need a permit. This is especially true if you are doing the work yourself. I have found times while flipping a house for profit that if I did the work (small stuff) I could get by without a permit but if I used a contractor they might get one.
The bottom line is you can save money doing some of the work yourself but you can also lose money if you do not have the time and expertise to do the projects you have planned for yourself. I will do some of the demolition myself and sometimes will paint, but since house flipping is not my only job I have found it better and faster to use contractors.
Remember the whole ideal in flipping a house for profit is to flip it fast. Yes, the numbers have to work but if you purchase homes to flip with the repairs figured in then you should be fine. Don’t buy a flip house if the numbers don’t work. As long as you follow that rule you will be fine.