Wanna Be a Successful Rehabber? Follow This Recipe. (Part 5)
From Craig Fuhr, The Fix & Flip Artiste …
Can you believe we are half way through 2014? It’s just insane how fast life moves these days. It seems like it was just yesterday that I started this series of lessons, but alas – we’ve come to the end. This is the final installment.
Right now, you’re probably feeling like California Chrome standing at the starting gate, just waiting for the sound of that pistol so you can sprint to your first rehab deal. You’ve learned a lot in the first four installments Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, but hold on there my thoroughbred rehabber-to-be…
Good ole’ Craig still has a few more steps to teach you.
In the previous installment, I ended with Step 11, which is Plumbing, Electric and Miscellaneous Hardware. At that stage of your project, you’re so close – you can almost smell the alluring scent of your massive payday!
Get it in Focus
Here’s where I would once again remind you to FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS! There’ll be time later to “make it rain,” but for now your number one job is to keep yourself and your team focused…
Step 12: Carpet and Other Flooring
I’ve fired contractors for installing carpet too early. Nothing gets my blood boiling faster than soil on brand new carpet – especially when it could have been easily avoided. I always say, “When the last guy goes out, the carpet guy can come in.”
That is – I want everything 100% complete before the carpet goes in.
As with every contractor, you don’t want to wait until the last minute to line up your carpet install. I usually call my carpet contractor when I know I’m 1 ½ to 2 weeks out from completion. That gives him plenty of time to come measure and fit me into his schedule. Install for most average houses takes only a ½ day .
REHAB TIP: Always be sure to check the measurements taken by your carpet guy. They LOVE to pad their numbers, which in turn makes them more money. Carpet is measured and priced by the yard. On a recent job – my guy measured 98 yards. I thought that seemed high, so I also measured. I calculated 88 yards. That saved me, $125 BUCKS! If you have a smart phone, check out the apps MagicPlan or RoomScan. They are FANTASTIC, and yes, almost magical in helping you measure the size of each room. Once you’ve calculated your square footage, simply divide that number by 9 to get your square yardage.
You may find hardwood floors under old carpeting.
We love refinishing hardwoods back to their original grandeur. There is a reason, however, why most homeowners cover over hardwoods with carpet – and that reason usually has four legs. You guessed it –Grandma covered over the hardwoods because she got tired of looking at Duke’s pee stains on her pretty hardwoods.
So what’s a rehabber to do? Before the carpet goes in, find a reputable hardwood refinishing contractor in your area. For a couple bucks per square foot, he’ll sand, stain, and polyurethane the floors back to new. To fully cover over pet stains, go with a darker stain. And by all means, go with a matte or satin finish on the floors rather than a hi-gloss.
Another item I complete just prior to carpet is grouting the floors. You’ll recall that I leave this to the end of the job because new grout tends to get completely ruined by saw dust and dirty work boots.
Step 13: Touch-Up and Punch-Out
It’s inevitable, your carpet guys are gonna ruin some of your freshly painted walls as they go plowing through the house with 12’ long rolls of carpet. Get used to the fact that while they’re nailing down the tack strips and stretching the carpet with their kickers, your base moldings will require some touch-up.
Neatness always counts on my jobs, but after the carpet is installed, I’m fanatical about neatness. Be sure your punch-out contractor knows you mean business when it comes to removing shoes upon arrival, no smoking inside, and that drop-clothes are mandatory during touch-up.
Step 14: Staging
If you stage a home one time, you will stage every home you do thereafter! It’s like opening Pandora’s Box. Once you see your creation staged, you simply cannot go back.
Staging does help a home sell, but take it from your old buddy Craig – you don’t have to go overboard. In every house, I stage the kitchens, baths, and generally something small and inviting in the entry to the home.
Most of my rehabs are on houses that were built in the early 1900s. As such, I may have a master bedroom that seems smallish. In that case, I’ll stage the room with a bed and an end table to make the buyers see what can actually fit in the room. It can be hard for some people to use their imagination, so you want to give them a vision, especially for rooms that are odd.
Professional Cleaning: Just prior to, or just after staging, you should hire a professional cleaning company. Have them do a deep scrub of every surface in the home. And when I say, every surface, I mean that there should not be one inch that the cleaners miss.
Remember this – your buyers will be moving quickly – but they’ll see a LOT. They’ll notice dust on molding or scuff marks on the walls. They’ll notice sawdust in kitchen drawers or a sink that isn’t pristine. You’ve taken a lot of time and spent a lot of money to get your rehab to this point, so don’t skimp on hiring a professional crew to make the place shine.
Rehab Tip: When I list a home for sale, I print a small sign that I position just inside the door. The sign reads, “Welcome Home. Please remove your shoes upon entry.” And because I know many people are rule breakers, I provide my cleaning crew with a roll or two of plastic carpet protector, which costs about $12 bucks a roll at hardware stores.
After the vacuuming is done, I lay the protector out like a runner through the home. I make a line in to each bedroom leading to the closets, I lay it on the steps, and anywhere that I think potential buyers will track through the home. If there are hardwoods in the home, I buy a roll of heavy brown paper and tastefully tape it to the floors.
That’s all Folks
So there you have it – my tried and true Rehab Recipe for Success. Commit these steps to your DNA and never stray from them.
Put your contractors on notice that you know the correct, logical order of a rehab – and that you will not tolerate straying from the order. Do this my friend, and I promise that your life will be far less stressful and your bank account will have for more dollars!
P.S. Need a mentor?
I’ve received a number of very kind comments, and I can’t thank you enough. We love your questions as well – so feel free to reach out to us in the comments section. Or, if you think you’re almost there, but you could use a little help to get you over the hump… just reach out to me by clicking on the “Need a Mentor” link above, and I’ll be glad to answer any questions.