Calculating Construction Costs as a New Investor

4 Replies


So I've read quite a few books on REI, read forums, Etc. Etc. and I am currently trying to buy my first property in Waterbury, Connecticut. I plan on house Hacking one of the units, but will probably be putting down 20%, so not quite sure it actually qualifies as a house hack :).

It's a two family house, built in 1930, and needs a lot of work. I am trying to break down the construction costs to see if the numbers even make sense, but being a new investor, I am not good at calculating costs.

I currently work a full time job in NYC and live in Brooklyn, and I will have to drive down to see the property on person. I plan on moving and working in waterbury once the house is bought, but until then, I'm working mostly from long distance. That being said, which of these options make the most sense for me?

1) Don't get near the property until I become well versed in calculating Construction Costs.

2) Learn the basics on over the next few days to give me a rough idea of the numbers. (I'm concerned that won't be enough to get a good estimate)

3) Bring down professionals to calculate the costs. (Would that mean 10 different professionals? Someone for plumbing, the roof, exterior, flooring, painting, electricity, Etc.)

4) Get an experienced investor to come down with me. (I don't know anyone who would be able to that right now, and I don't have what to offer someone in return right now while being tied down to the job I'm still on. I don't want to do the classic "Hey, I choose you to be my mentor" :)

5) Something else.

Thanks for your time!!!


I would say options 3 and 4. I’m in the construction Industry and free quotes are pretty normal as the guys want to lock in the work. Also, having a veteran investor view the property with you Couldn’t hurt. He/she may even give you good insights on what to look for when your on your own.

Check out J. Scott's book on estimating rehab costs to give you a general idea. I would try and find a general contractor that can at least give an estimate/bid for some of the specialized work (they will probably refer you to a plumber, roofer, electrician, etc but at least you will have ballpark numbers to get you started). An experienced investor would definitely help, preferably someone local that knows the area well and is involved in the same asset class that you are looking at. 

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