When a potential buyer goes to see a property should a contractor be there for the viewing because as a new investor I wouldn't have any idea on an estimated repair cost or is that what the inspection is for?
If you can't assess the work that needs to be done or the cost to do that work, you're going to need someone to help you with that process. A good contractor can do that for you, but keep in mind that if you're asking a contractor to view properties with you, you'll likely need to compensate him for his time in some way.
I need to find a contractor in Atlanta to go with me to view a property. Can anyone refer to one?
Hey @Linda Harris ! Happy to help with some Atlanta contractor referrals, shoot me a PM with your details.
You definitely need to learn what things cost to be successful in this business.
Contractors will come out and give you bids for a fee. pick their brains & learn everything you can while they are there. Rinse & Repeat.
You could view the property first time on your own. Then if there are concerns you have, say you would like to come back for another showing with your contractor for estimates. May soften the seller up in the meantime!
I would add that an inspector will be helpful in reporting many unseen (and seen) repairs that need to be done. An inspector does not give estimates on the repairs, however. If you have the funds to pay the inspector, a good combination is to have the inspection then provide that report to the contractor that you have estimate the repairs.
Side note, this can get expensive if you are not going to offer on the property. - shoot even if you are going to offer on the property. So, compensating a contractor to walk the property with you and explain all of the repairs and associated costs is a great way to get familiar with your local rehab costs.
I agree with @James Wise it is very helpful to have a solid idea of what things cost in your particular area. When I view a property I make a list of things that need work & take pictures. That way I can keep track of everything that a property would need and I can factor that in when I work my numbers for a place. Once you make an offer, factor in those things and see what else comes back after the inspection. Every property I have purchased I have gotten some sort of concession from the sellers for things that we either discussed early on, or things that came up during inspection. One property needed a new roof & siding, so I agreed to pay full price & got all the cash I needed to do the repairs at closing, he provided me 3 quotes for each & I got some to compare. Another property had some plumbing & electrical issues come up during the inspection, so we got the price lowered because of the electrical (non insurable in the original state) and a cash concession for the other issues.
Some times you will look at a property and know that its just going to be a lot of work. I looked at one recently that was wood shingle siding upstairs, half rotten with peeling paint & 5 different types of floors downstairs, including painted plywood, and the floors weren't level enough to have any reasonable hope of re-covering with out substantial cost & work leveling the whole thing out, the joys of old houses on sandy soil.