ACTUAL Repair and CapEx Costs?

2 Replies


I've been looking for a property for about 8 months now and am now getting very close to purchasing a place. I've learned a ton in the past 8 months and have focused on "doing the math", and I have pretty ridiculously kick-*** Excel spreadsheet to analyze properties.

One thing that I'd like to improve in my spreadsheet is switching the 10% I have for "Repairs & Maintenance" and the 5% I have for CapEx (Contingency/Emergency/Surprise Issues) and flesh out actual numbers on the properties that I am serious on making an offer on.

Because, I'm looking at a range of properties, some are in superb condition or flips while others are pretty damn old. I want to be able to get more accurate numbers instead of just a percentage.

SO, could you guys help me with a list for Repairs and CapEx, as well as average repair/replacement costs, as well as average lifespans.


Fridge - 10 Years - $800 Replacement
Hot Water Tank - 7 Years - $1,000 Replacement
Roof - 20 Years - $10,000

You get the idea. My plan is then to go down the list one by one and take the remaining life on the list and "do the math" to find out what that will cost me on an annual and monthly basis. 

I just don't want to miss anything and also don't know the lifespans and costs on most of this stuff and need your help!


I'm sure it will help many others too!


Setting repair costs at 5% doesn't feel all that workable if you're working with a complete disaster of a house.  

The problem is that repair costs can be very regionally specific.  For example, roofers in one area can charge vastly different rates than roofers in another, mostly due to local ordinances regarding permitting, licensing, insurance, minimum wage laws, etc.  Even the price of a refrigerator will vary from region to region.  So while I could provide you with what I use as estimates, the odds that it would translate well to your area is pretty slim.  Hopefully somebody who is closer to you geographically could help you out on that.

As far as spreadsheet calculations, I use lots of if/then formulas and I set it up like so:

Living Room Dimensions :   15      20        = b2*c2

Item       Required           Price                 Calculated Estimate        Actual   Over/Under

Fridge          Yes              $900               If B2=Yes,C2,0                     $872.62    =e2-d2

Carpet (sq ft) Yes            $3.75               If B3=Yes, c3*(bold above),0 $4625.00  =e3-d3

Tile (sq ft)      0                $5.50               If B4=Yes, d48(bold above),0  $0               =e4-d4

This allows me to quickly go through column B and choose yes/no and have it calculate materials for each room based on dimensions I've entered in a list above.  If I change my mind and want to go from carpet to tile, I just change one line to No and the other to Yes and it recalculates.  I also use this to track my actuals so I can see if I'm over budget and what the culprit is.  Someday I'll add conditional formatting to cells so anything that is overbudget by x amount or x percent will automatically color code the cell red.  I also add an overall fudge factor of 10% to the bottom of the sheet.

I've thought about making my spreadsheet more generic such that I could enter material only prices and installed prices and have another if/then statement for whether I pay for installation or do it myself and I probably will down the road so that I can calculate savings easily for doing things myself vs hiring it out.

When I go look at a property, I estimate the square footage of each room.  If it's vacant, I take actual measurements, but I hate getting out the tape measure with a seller or a tenant hovering around.  I take notes on stuff I would want to change as I go.  I count number of windows needing replacement, number of kitchen cabinets to replace, estimate countertop square footage, etc.  It's all on a googledoc so that I can access this template from any device I happen to have.  If I've got cell service and my tablet, I can actually enter this stuff in as I go and have a quick rehab swag before I'm even out the door.

My spreadsheet was built by me, based on the way my brain works and is unlikely to work for very many other folks.  I like it because when it came time to getting backsplash for one of my kitchens, I fell in love with a really expensive tile set.  I was able to look at my spreadsheet to quickly see that the project was running underbudget and I was almost done, so I rationalized spending the extra amount to really make that part of the kitchen pop.  I rarely make emotional decisions like that, but everybody who came to see the place really commented on the backsplash and how unusual it is, so I think it's one of the reasons why the place moved so quickly.

In order to build the spreadsheet at first, I used Home Depot and Lowe's prices for things like doors, sinks, bathroom faucets, cabinets, etc.  Since I've done a couple of projects now, I have actuals that I paid for those projects.  For example, I put in a new furnace and air conditioning for a 1600 sq ft townhouse and I originally estimated it at $8500 because I had no clue what it would be.  My actual came in at $5700, so now I know I can use that price for an equivalent square foot house.  So spend a little time on Home Depot, Lowe's or Menard's or whomever is your local warehouse store and look up some prices and use that to populate a rehab spreadsheet that you can then link to from your main analysis sheet and I think you'll be pretty happy.

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my question Linda.

Yeah, my plan is to have an 'expandable' R&M and CapEx area that lists everything individually similar to yours. The main thing I was looking for, which you already addressed, is that I was looking for actual rates and lifespan numbers... again such as:


Fridge - 10 Years - $800 Replacement
Hot Water Tank - 7 Years - $1,000 Replacement
Roof - 20 Years - $10,000

But I can understand how this could be very regionally specific, especially for labour costs and things such as roofing.

I know that this will come SO much easier with experience, it's just difficult doing this on my first place since I've never hired anyone for home repair before. Appliance COSTS are easy to find out, but not the average lifetime on them.

I was also hoping for a list so that I wouldn't leave anything out (ex. floors, paint, etc.).

I was actually thinking about keeping my Excel sheet on my Google Drive so it would be in the 'cloud' for exactly the reasons you stated, but I believe I used too many Microsoft-specific code and features to be able to use it as a Google doc. I'm contemplating converting all of the code slowly to a web format such as PHP so that it'd be universally usable. I'd also be able to let other people use it... it'd basically be just like the BiggerPockets calculator but custom to how I like it, plus it'd be free with no limitations :P

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