After being covered in fleas last week while viewing a vacant house, I decided to write this article on some things that you should seriously consider bringing with you when you go to view a property.
OFF (Flea Spray)
This is a must have as the days get warmer and you are going to look at a vacant property. Being covered in fleas stinks, especially when you don't realize they are hitching a ride on you until you are in car driving away.
If you haven't been in many fixer uppers, you might not have thought of this. When I run out, I am usually headed straight to a cornerstore to get more. After going through houses that look like they've never, ever been cleaned, and you have to touch doorknobs, light switches and cabinet handles, you will be cringing as you feel the greasy, dirtiness.
Many of these houses do not have electricity. A mag lite flashlight was what I used to use, but I got sick of having to buy new batteries. They are good safety as well as you could hit an attacker over the head with it if you needed to. I use an 18v rechargeable DeWalt flashlight nowadays. It seems to put out better light as well.
Digital Camera and/or Flip Video
Whether the house is vacant or not, you should take a camera with you to take as many pictures as you can. This really helps when you can't remember a certain aspect of the house. Viewing the pictures is much easier than going all the way back over to the property. This is especially useful if you are wholesaling and the house is occupied.
This one comes in handy when properties are boarded up.
Checklists are not just for beginners. You may know what to look for at each property, but it is easy to forget one item that might cost you some serious money. This is something that carries over from flying. When I took my mom up for her first flight in a Cessna 172, she seemed concerned that I was going over the checklist before starting the plane. In flying, there is a checklist for everything. You can memorize everything, but the checklist is there to make sure you don't forget something. Your inspection checklist doesn't have to included every little thing, but it should included the big items that can get costly if missed (i.e., water heater, AC, doors...) Get AND USE a checklist. In flying, if you miss something serious, you can't just pull over. In real estate, if you miss something, you can't just give the house back.
This one seems like common sense, if you are meeting a seller. But, I don't know how many times I've gone to get a contract out of my car, only to realize I didn't have anymore!!! This is the time to get super stressed. The seller is ready to deal. You give them an hour or more to think about it and they might start hesitating. Always bring several copies of contracts. While you are at it, make sure you have several working pens.
Your Lead Analysis
You should always be prepared to make an offer on a property while at the property, or at least try to. Try to have some comparable sales in the area and a good idea of ARV (After Repaired Value). It's best to avoid telling a seller that you will get back to them. If they are motivated and it is a good deal, you'd better be ready to make a decision. Drive the comps before viewing the property. Calculate your MAO (maximum allowable offer - this will have to be less repairs after you see the house).
Most phones now have adequate calculators. If yours doesn't bring a calculator. You really don't want to mess up a calculation when you are dealing with thousands of dollars.
This includes business cars, brochures and other items that enhance your credibility. I've got a tri-fold brochure that includes testimonials from people I've bought houses from. It has a space on the back for where I write in my offer. If the sellers do not decided to accept right then, I leave it with them so they can look it over, read it and let it sell them on the idea of selling to me. I've heard of some investors taking a photo album with before and after pictures of rehabs they've done. I wasn't sure about this, but I'm sure it helps to build rapport.
Now that you know what you need, gather your gear and look at some el dumpos!
Danny Johnson is a real estate investor in San Antonio, TX. Check out his blog at http://www.FlippingJunkie.com - *** He is sharing his marketing, marketing results, leads that are coming in and how he is analyzing them.*** .