Handyman to REI

14 Replies

I am currently a contractor for a non-profit low income family builder. As much as I enjoy what I am doing for the community and families in need, I've been itching to do my own thing. I've already have a good start as I'm living rent free in my own house.

I just don't know the next step. I am taking steps to start up my own gig with small side jobs. I don't have the capital nor the cash flow to afford to be a GC on my own yet. I know people have taken similar steps as I am about to, just curios on how to go about it in the most streamline way possible. 

A little about me... I know how to build houses from the ground up. We build new 1000-1300 sq ft houses. I am 27 years old and have been interested in RE since I started working on a construction crew during my high school summers. I live in Lafayette, LA. I would like to start with small projects and work my way up. So.. from handyman to GC to REI with a mixture of all because I still like to get my hands dirty.

You have a hugggggeeee advantage compared to people that have no building experience. I think you need to be more specific on what you want to do and what you want to invest in. There are so many options and it may more helpful if people knew what you were interested in pursuing. SFH,Multi's, Apartment Complex's? Buy and hold...flipping? Maybe you would like to do them all! I know one thing is true- you wont have to hire a contractor to do the work(lucky you)!

Welcome to BP and I wish you the best of luck!

James

IMO, I think you should start going to a few local REIA meetings if you have one close to you. You can network with other local investors. You bring a lot to the table and could probably find someone willing to partner with you on a few deals. There are plenty of other investors out there who have captial but don't have the construction knowledge that you have. Good luck!!

Take some time and write down some goals and create a game plan and work it.  There are so many different areas of real estate it can be overwhelming on where to decide to start at.  Since you are good at fixing things maybe start with a small house to either flip or collect rent.  For myself when I started out my main concern was making sure I received rent on time.  I found out about Section 8 which addressed my concern.  I purchased 1 little 2 bedroom home on a slab.  It was easy for me to maintain and gave me a taste of what real estate is like (rental wise).

Since you are handy maybe buy a small house to flip, fix up or rent.  Since you own your home you can take out a line of credit.  At least you would get a tax deduction on a portion of that money.

The key is to not quit your day job while you are exploring.  The first property purchased is always the hardest. 

Good Luck.

@Derrek Sander

Welcome to the BP community. Congratulations on you taking this bold step to progress to the REI stage.

The good thing is that you have a lot of tools in your toolbox and they are in demand.

Yes, there are lots of investors on this site that you can partner with and share handsome profits in your undertakings.  

Their influx of  money coupled with your skills can and will get you going.

So, you have to outline your goals in terms of the areas you want to focus on and then advertise it to the community....you will be deluged with responses from the near 320,000 active BPers!

Additionally, it's best to be interactive on the site by adding inputs of value so that others can see and become comfortable to approach you for partnership.

Good luck on your REI journey.

@James Barnes I have a vague game plan already to do some flips that would allow me to eventually buy and hold. Obviously SFR would be my niche since I have a good understand of them already. Eventually maybe get into multifamilys. But for me its getting to the point of flipping houses.

@Jeremy Tillotson Any advice on how to get to being a reputable contractor that people would invest with on properties? I am starting from the bottom with experience and not nearly enough connects.

@Mark Hutchins I like the idea of starting off small just to get my feet wet. A 2 bedroom would work well as Lafayette is a small college town.

Hey @Derrek Sander , glad to see you jump on here.  I met you when I helped on one of the Habitat houses last year.

Do you know what one of my biggest challenges is as an investor?  Good contractors - they are like the 10lb bass I've been after, I haven't caught one yet!  ( ;-)That is an exaggeration, of course.  I know a few good ones in a few specialties, but none that have a broad range of "tools" on their belt.)

If you are free for breakfast one day soon, I like to start early and I can always work around early meetings without changing my plans for the day.  So few people do anything early (between 6-8 AM) I can almost always make an early meeting.  I'll be glad to discuss some of your ideas and see if there's any way we might be able to help each other grow?

I don't know if you have use Craigslist to get business, but it does work.  Also get some business card and past them out door-to-door.  I always get business using this method.  This is a job in a job.

@Robert Leonard I remember raising some trusses with you. I'm off on Mondays, but will be out of town this upcoming Monday. If you are available, we can meet up the following week on the 13th for some breakfast. Let me know if that works for you.

@Joe Moore I haven't used craigslist yet. Just gotten jobs from word of mouth and also from a friend who used to do some of that work but no longer does. I will try that though, along with the business cards and probably a yard sign. Thanks.

Derrek, you have a huge advantage in that you know how to build and rehab alrerady. Have you thought about finding/purchasing a property that needs to be rehabbed, and working on it in your spare time? You could live in it and sell it when its done, most of the work you can do yourself and reap the equity you are building, then sell and put the money made towards another investment, maybe something bigger. Just some thoughts. You are young and heading down a potentially great path in REI.

Originally posted by @Derrek Sander :

I am currently a contractor for a non-profit low income family builder. As much as I enjoy what I am doing for the community and families in need, I've been itching to do my own thing. I've already have a good start as I'm living rent free in my own house.

I just don't know the next step. I am taking steps to start up my own gig with small side jobs. I don't have the capital nor the cash flow to afford to be a GC on my own yet. I know people have taken similar steps as I am about to, just curios on how to go about it in the most streamline way possible. 

A little about me... I know how to build houses from the ground up. We build new 1000-1300 sq ft houses. I am 27 years old and have been interested in RE since I started working on a construction crew during my high school summers. I live in Lafayette, LA. I would like to start with small projects and work my way up. So.. from handyman to GC to REI with a mixture of all because I still like to get my hands dirty.

 If you're not a GC, what kind of a contractor are you? You mentioned you owned your home? I am not sure if you want to risk it, but if you take a loan 75% of the value of the house, you might be able to buy land, put that as collateral, declare it as a primary, take a construction loan, build the house, sell your primary/first, live in your new home, do it again and again, improving value everytime. In CA, your margin is around 30-40%, that means, if I spend 300k on a house, I could sell them at 400k. By 4 years, you will be at your feet at around 3x what the value for your house is now, or possibly a duplex.

@Manolo D. I am actually comfortable in the house I live in now with no desire to move. Currently I am a GC but under the umbrella of the non-profit I work at. It is from my understanding that my license cannot be transferred for private uses. I have no company or business set up to do so at this moment either. 

Originally posted by @Derrek Sander :

@Manolo D. I am actually comfortable in the house I live in now with no desire to move. Currently I am a GC but under the umbrella of the non-profit I work at. It is from my understanding that my license cannot be transferred for private uses. I have no company or business set up to do so at this moment either. 

 Not sure about your state laws, but in CA a GC license is issued to an individual not a company, the company will get issued a license number once they have a licensed individual as an employee or shareholder (20% minimum). If you took the exam and you had to pass some accreditation or work experience, then it MIGHT be issued to you and you MIGHT need to detach yourself as an employee, in case you want your own company. I'm assuming, other than that, you are an employee with the non-profit, a piece worker, or an unlicensed comtractor, at least in CA laws.

Anyway, setting that aside, the hard truth is, it is very hard for investors to trust someone who has only experience to offer, track record or not. I'm not saying it is impossible, it is just hard. Even for me, know how to build, don't want to offer capital, has track record, is fully licensed, and has a good pool of employees (not subcontractors), even with that, I still can't find a good match.