Quite possibly the noobiest noob question of all time...

8 Replies

So I just came back from previewing 8 properties for potential buy and hold/fix and flip.  I found that I was constantly trying to take good pictures, videos, jot down notes, and ask questions.  At the time everything is in my head, but I found that after a long day of previewing and trying to gather and collect my thoughts, that everything is a mess filled with bad photos angle, even worse videos of me running from room to room with the camera pointed to the ground or the realtor's butt, and illegible notes that seem meaningless afterwards, or even no notes bc it was all in my head at the time.. 

Does anyone have an efficient and effective system they use when previewing a property? 

I hope I look back at this question years from now when I have dozens of properties and laugh my *** off at how noobie this question sounds, but for now, I am a bit flustered at how things went today and want to do it better next time.

Did you run numbers on those 8 houses first? I don't look at a property unless I've already run comps and figured the max rehab I can do while still getting my target minimum return (buy & hold). You can likely do eight deals at once, so why look at them all at once.

I've viewed 15 properties in one day and at the end of the day everything was blurred.  Try not to view more than 4 in one day.

When you take pictures, if your camera numbers them, when you download them, look for the gaps in the time stamps as to where one property begins and one ends. Also, another way to do this with pictures is always take a picture of the front of the house as your first picture for the house with the address showing.

Take your notes on one piece of paper per property with the address of the property on the paper at a minimum and hopefully the picture of the front of the property and some stats.

You always have the listing pictures to jog your memory. So while taking your own pics is important to make sure you don't miss anything, I find my walk through notes to be the most important tool.

Like @Doug McLeod  I probably wouldn't have even been visiting all these properties. But if I had I would have ruled most if not all out immediately.  I wouldn't take pictures until I determined it was a possibility. And even then probably not until it was a deal. 

When I take pics--and this is typically after the deal is struck--I often start with a close up of the number on the house.  This serves as a sort of bookmark that the following pics (until the next number) are of this property.  And I don't take written notes. Rather, I record a voice memo as I walk through the property. Sometimes I do a video. So I make three passes through. The first I just look at it and take my time. The second I do my voice memo and move quickly. The third I will take pics.  When I get back from the visit I'll transcribe the memo. 

We use a systematic process similar to what Dawn mentioned, we always start with the front picture of the house, and follow the same order in each house, that order follows our property analysis sheet that we complete on the walk through. If you look at 8 houses, and you are reviewing all at the end of the day, you can tell where one ends and the next begins,  We also make sure not to take too many pictures. 8 max of only the high ticket items, roof, windows, kitchen, electric panel, kitchen, baths, furnace, ac, front and back, andything unusual,  i dont want a picture with a hole in drywall that will cost 25.00 to fix, no pictures of carpet of paint, or things we will replace in every house.... always a couple photos for perspective. 

We do a rehab analysis sheet on each property, before we leave the property we will know what we can pay for it before we go to the next one. If the pictures are confusing, we will still know what we were willing to pay.

I have an assistant that does most of the analysis these days and we write offers from there, I go take a look at only the properties when we get a counter offer that looks promising, or if we can offer list or better. 

Create a system, take minimal pictures, keep practicing : -)

Thank you guys!  Great advice everyone.  

@Doug McLeod  , yes I ran all the properties through my spreadsheets, they were all +2% properties and fit all my criteria.  I filtered through hundreds of properties and narrowed down to 10, and 2 went under contract the same day.  

Great advice @Dawn A.  & @Dell Schlabach  I took photos of the front on some but not all.  This was my second time previewing and I guess I'm still shaking off the newbie excitement. 

  @Dell Schlabach , why do you take a picture of the electrical panel?  

@Phil C.  

I'm a buy and hold guy myself, so I'll add a bit to the above.

Nice systematic approach - yup. I start with the front, basement, roof, kitchen, bathrooms and end with bedrooms.  I take pictures only if something is questionable that I want someone else to look at.  I bring pre-printed sheets to take notes with.  The hope is that everything just says fine or good when I'm done... it never does :)
Ex: bad kitchen = "replace" under kitchen in my notes = no picture needed
Ex: ??? nice cabinets, weird counters = picture of counter so I can show someone else

Picture of front - yup.  Great place to start and burns the details into your brain.

The final piece I'll add is DATES.  Get the dates on everything you can.  I have a date field next to the big ticket items and one in each room field incase there is something important there.

When did the roof get replaced?  When was the last time the electrical panel was worked on?  And the big one for my neck of the woods: How old is the furnace/boiler?  

The date gives you a better idea of what systems are going to need to be replaced in the immediate future.  

Thanks @Aaron Montague, great tips!  I bought myself a fancy clipboard that has pockets and holders for  printouts and is easy to write on.  I'm going to take my time next time and be more systematic about it.  Thanks again!

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