Diary of a POP TOP Second Story Addition Project

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DEMO's a GO

Time to kick this project into high gear! 

Hammers are swinging.

Dumpsters are filling.

Floors are getting scratched....

Good news is our demo guys started a couple days early. Bad news is they beat the floor protection going down so there will be a few extra bumps and bruises on the original hardwoods for our flooring guys to work out at the end. Not a big deal, but something that shouldn't have happened. We have checklists to prevent this kind of thing, but in our superintendents defense, he just a baby and kicked off 4 new projects in the span of 2 weeks!

We had a minor setback on getting our new footers poured yesterday so that will delay the actual removal of the roof till later this week.... 

WRONG HOUSE!?! WHAT DO YOU MEAN WRONG HOUSE!!!

When you tear houses down for a living, you NEVER want your phone to ring and the first words out of someone's mouth to be...

"Wrong House"

But that just happened.  Luckily we didn't tear down the wrong house, but we did end up with the wrong house on our siteplan.  The ORIGINAL house accidently made it onto our PROPOSED siteplan that was APPROVED by the county!

When the inspector showed up to do his initial inspection, first thing he noticed was our permit for a second story addition didn't match the siteplan. The inspector also wanted an ORIGINAL stamped copy of the foundation plan and foundation letter from our engineer in the permit box, which we have, just not in the box...A quick call to our surveyor got the siteplan corrected...

But now we have to have it reprinted, RESUBMITTED to the county to get stamped, and back into our permit box BEFORE we call call back to reschedule this inspection. Hopefully this won't cost us too many days, but it has already brought our demo to a standstill since we don't want take the roof off without a clear path to put one back on ASAP!  

HOW TO RAISE A CEILING FROM 8' to... 

Originally posted by @Roy N. :

@Todd Whiddon 

Not trying to jump ahead here, but what did you find for joists in the ceiling of that one story?

I've been playing with a pop-top with "near passivhaus" renovation on my own bungalow - which happens to be structural brick, but with an existing set of 2x6 joists in the attic floor which will all need to be removed/replaced/sistered.  However, your mention of raising the 1st floor ceilings to 9' has just given me another idea ....

You can pretty much guarantee NEW floor joists for a second story addition, with most houses having 2x6 or 2x8 ceiling joists.  This house had 2x8 ceiling joists...

Since most buyers in our area want 9' ceilings MINIMUM with 10' becoming more and more popular, it was a no-brainer for us to go ahead and raise the existing 8' walls up a foot with a cripple wall and the run new i-Joists for the second story floor framing.

Here is an example of a "cripple wall raise", a cripple wall is basically a short wall with a new double top plate, in our case it would be constructed from 2x4's.

 I've also seen ceilings raised with LVLs... unless required by code in your area this way is MUCH more expensive than just a 2x wall raise.

Foundation Footers - Part 1

Our foundation guy came out to dig the footers we marked out the other day.  Only problem is the ONE footer we did NOT mark ended up a wee bit short.  

Actually that's NOT the only problem.  A couple pier footers did not meet compaction requirements when dug down 12", so when our foundation guy comes back to extend the deck footer, he will have to dig the others deeper and possibly take other measures to make sure they meet the engineers expectations.

We've got the siteplan revision back APPROVED from the county! Dealing with some rain today but we are hopeful to have these footers passed off and poured by the end of the week. 

Lumber is being delivered Monday!

Q&A OPEN HOUSE - DEMO VERSION

I'd like to do this tomorrow. But afternoon Halloween Traffic pretty much starts at 10am... So for everyone interested in checking out the Demo'd house leave a comment in the thread or shoot me a PM and I'll see you next TUESDAY the 4th from 11-12

The Top is Popping

The weather forecast is ALL CLEAR into next week so we gave our demo crew the green light to.....

EXCITING STUFF!!  We have a GINORNOUS tarp that will literally cover the ENTIRE house if needed, in fact, we may cover it up JUST to be on the safe side!  

Also we WAAAAAY Mis-Under-Estimated the amount of dumpsters this demo would take! I've actually lost count, I think we are at 4-5 already with another one coming tomorrow and another one coming Saturday.  The previous homeowners left a bunch of junk in the house and yard which almost took an entire dumpster to remove, and of course anytime you have a dumpster in a neighborhood all the neighbors are DELIGHTED to share their broken basketball goals, propane tanks, old tires, paint cans, and everything else they aren't allowed to put in their normal trash with you.

We are bringing in a Bobcat Monday to rework some of the grade around the house, remove some sections of driveway and the old carport slab, take out all the HUGE bushes around the house, demo all the existing landscape beds, and knock down a few trees. Needless to say that will take another dumpster or two as well.  

Anyone want to start a dumpster company with me??  <---- JK, please don't bust me for dealmaking in the forums... ;)

@Todd Whiddon  I can't thank you enough for sharing this post it is simply awesome. Please count me in. 

My message to Atlanta BP Members. 

I had the pleasure of attending Todd's first open house on Oct 20th with a few other BP members. I learned more from Todd's QA session then I could have ever imagined. Todd is a great guy and takes great care in answering your questions, providing feedback, do's and don'ts about flip. Originally, Todd had scheduled an hour for the session however, we all asked so many questions that we spent a lot more than an hour and Todd was kind enough to take his time from his busy schedule and answer all questions. He even encouraged to ask more questions and educated us on so many aspects that a newbie would not even care to think. If you are keen on learning about Flips and different challenges I'd highly recommend that you come to the Q&A. It's simply awesome. Thanks again Todd for the QA session earlier in October. I look forward to learning more from you and can't wait to see the house through the different phases. 

Hopefully, I will see a lot more Atlanta BP members at the next QA. 

Thanks again Todd for putting this together. 

@Azeez K.  No Prob! Enjoyed having you there and Thanks for the kind review!

Foundation Footers - Part 2

Our foundation guy came back and adjusted the long footer for the Master Bedroom addition and dug the ones by the back of the house down deeper to try and find dirt that was would meet the required compaction.  He got down past where we thought "virgin ground" was and the dirt was still a little soft, so he brought in a load of rock and went to work on it with a "whacker packer"


A quick call to our engineer to swing back by to check out the adjusted footers and...

Another quick call to the concrete company and...

The company that does all our New Construction foundations wanted 3,950 for these footers.  That INCLUDED about $750 for a line pump  to pump the concrete under the house.  But since this isn't the type of work they do on a daily basis they didn't exactly sharpen their pencil to get the job!

Our "small job" concrete guy who does odds and ends for us on our flip houses came through though and was even willing to use a good Ol' fashioned bucketand  wheel barrow. to save us from having to get a concrete pump! This helps us get back on track with our budget since the patio demo and PLETHORA of dumpsters had us heading in the WRONG direction!

4 Walls

First off, Thanks to everyone who stopped by our Q&A Open House today!  

WOW! is the only thing that describes my impression arriving at the jobsite this morning! It's AMAZING how different it LOOKS / FEELS to walk around this house with NO ROOF and NO INTERIOR WALLS!  

My oldest son had the day off of school today, so I took advantage and got some cheap cleanup labor!

Great day all around today, and a confirmation that good things happen with..

Economies of Scale...

ECONOMIES OF SCALE

Just like Walmart and DR Horton get pricing advantages because of their sheer volume, You too can take advantage of having more than 1 project going at a time.  Even if you have NONE-ONE project, THIS PRINCIPAL still applies, and will help you go FURTHER FASTER.

Here is a map of everything we have under construction right now

While we are pretty spread out as a whole, and some days are challenging to tackle having enough people to handle inspections, check on job sites, ect. Nothing makes our project manager AND checking account smile more than when we have multiple job sites in the same general area!

Not only do we save on gas, but sometimes the stars align and we can roll our subs from one house to another to another and get special pricing and preferred placement on their schedule!

Take the first few days of this week for instance, we have 4 projects in the beginning stages ALL within a few miles of each other that ALL needed some machinery work, and not just one machine but 2 different machines for various odds and ends on each project.

1. At our "Diary of a Pop Top" house we needed to demo the existing landscaping and a portion of the driveway and carport.

2. At our "Other Pop Top" House we have to remove the driveway, EXCAVATE the ENTIRE side of the house to REPLACE an ENTIRE wall of the foundation, along with demoing a FOREST of BAMBOO, and clearing way for footers for a front, back, and 2nd story addition.


3. At our "Busy Intersection" New Construction house, we need to tidy up the dirt and concrete in the crawlspace and also try and find our sewer tap.

4. And at our "OMG this is the BIGGEST project we have EVER done and it BETTER sell FAST" New Construction house, we also have to find our sewer tap and demo a bunch of existing landscaping.

Since we are paying by the hour for this machine work, and they can get multiple projects done in one day, we are saving MEGA BUCKS vs having these things done at different times where we would most likely be charged an ENTIRE day for something that may just take a few hours.

So how do you take advantage of Economies of Scale if you are just starting out or investing in a new area you aren't quite established in yet?  NETWORK and PARTNER with people who HAVE SCALE.  

Many builders "and SMART investors" form "Builder/Investor Buying Groups" where they share subcontractors and suppliers to increase their collective purchasing power and CLOUT when it comes to having their jobs done when they want them.

If I just had one kitchen sink to replace, the plumber may "get to me when he can", but if my team and I can keep a few of his crews busy month after month after month, I can pretty much count on him replacing that sink for me anytime I need it.

And Remember, Economies of Scale applies not only to purchasing power, but KNOWLEDGE too!  As you build your team of contractors, real estate agents, private money investors, mentors, and partners. FIND PEOPLE with SCALE, and SCALE your business EXPONENTIALLY!

RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB

Our earlier suspicions of the previous homeowner owning a concrete company were confirmed today!  Just the like the patio that was pretty much 3 feet thick of solid concrete. THE ENTIRE DRIVEWAY RUNWAY is OVER A FOOT THICK  of DOUBLED UP concrete! 

This time we weren't caught by surprise though and brought in the BIG GUNS to demo out a small portion of the driveway and carport.  

We are gonna take out and replace the ENTIRE driveway towards the end of the project, which given the extra amount of concrete to dispose of, will add significantly to our DUMPSTER DILEMMA.

@Todd Whiddon  WOW! You guys are really turning out some houses! How many jobs do you have going right now? How many people do you guys have in your company, and what does the team consist of? GC, Project Managers, etc. I'm sure people would like to know this kind of stuff too. Maybe a brief overview of your business structure. 

Originally posted by @Karen Margrave :

@Todd Whiddon  WOW! You guys are really turning out some houses! How many jobs do you have going right now? How many people do you guys have in your company, and what does the team consist of? GC, Project Managers, etc. I'm sure people would like to know this kind of stuff too. Maybe a brief overview of your business structure. 

Todd - Can you also tell us how many tens of thousands of dollars you've paid for high-priced coaching and who your favorite guru is???  :-)

I recently had a demo for an average sized home, but with lots of concrete. Not runway thickness, or first grader thickness, like your patio, but it covered the front half of the large lot. My GC was getting demo bids and they were all coming back over $20k. The contractors were saying transport and disposal of the concrete was the issue. 

I knew that concrete is usually recycled and crushed to make road base, so disposal probably isn't super expensive.  My GC did some research and told me we could do the job for $12k if we bought a dump trailer and transported ourselves. 

I have a friend in DFW with a dump trailer and he told me he gets pulled over by the police a lot because dump trailers are notoriously over weight.  My GC said, we wouldn't go over weight, we'd just make more trips. So I bought a dump trailer. $7k. 

They got it done with many trips to the rock yard, but it was only 10 minutes away.  Now we're more equipped to do our own demos. 

How much did demo cost you, Todd?

Original REQUEST FOR A SHAMELESS PLUG posted by @J Scott:

Todd - Can you also tell us how many tens of thousands of dollars you've paid for high-priced coaching and who your favorite guru is???  :-)

In the interest of FULL DISCLOSURE... The following is a paid CELEBRITY endorsement for the @J Scott Center for Kids Who Can't Real Estate Good and Who Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too and will be compensated by the alcoholic beverage of my choice.

It was a dark time in my life...  and I needed help.  I needed to make some cash and FAST!  

Call it luck. 

Call it Destiny. 

Call it what you want.

But while dumpster diving behind a local Chinese restaurant, I stumbled upon J's first Audio Cassette. "Flip a House, Not The Bird" It was this tape that started my journey into Real Estate MOGUL-DUM. I was in AWE of how J laid out step by step how to channel my anger away from Semi-Truck Drivers and Global Warming Activists into more constructive things like changing FHA Guidelines and Quantitative Easing.

I couldn't get enough. I went to the local library and did a !YAHOO search for this new beacon of hope I only knew as "J"  I didn't quite understand why it kept showing pictures of a bunch of guys in sunglasses playing cards, but there on page 7 of the search results was a link to 123Flip.com

I knew this "FREE" website was too good to be true, so I sent J a letter and a check for $50,000 and asked him to be my Guru.  I never heard back from that letter, but I saw an ad for J's GUARANTEED TRILLIONS WHILE YOU SLEEP REAL ESTATE event and knew I that if I could plead my case in person, he would have no choice but to take me under his wing.

It was a capacity crowd of 100,000 people.  I stood in line for close to a week to make sure I was FIRST. And my sacrifice paid off...

From that moment my life was NEVER the same.  It was like some of the magic Real Estate dust that was all over the top of J's black shirt got sprinkled on me. I COULDN'T LOSE!

I asked someone for Money... THEY GAVE IT TO ME!

I put an offer in on a house.... IT WAS ACCEPTED!

I told a contractor to fix the house....  SHE DID IT!

I put a 4-Sale sign in the yard....   IT SOLD!

So anyone looking for to replicate my UNBELIEVABLE results, I highly recommended enrolling in the J Scott Center for Kids Who Can't Real Estate Good and Who Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too

Awesome!  I see guru-dom in your future too, Todd.  

Let The Framing Begin! 

Landscape demo and grading complete! 

Lumber Drop first thing AM! 

Up Up and AWAY!! 

Originally posted by @Jon Klaus :

Awesome!  I see guru-dom in your future too, Todd.  

 Thanks! But I still have about 150k more to save before I can invest in @J Scott s Bronze level Guru-Dom Mastery Series CDs. If your interested, I hear he is offering a 2 for 1 special this month with FREE access to his INNER CIRCLE ARCHIVES! 

Originally posted by @Karen Margrave :

@Todd Whiddon WOW! You guys are really turning out some houses! How many jobs do you have going right now? How many people do you guys have in your company, and what does the team consist of? GC, Project Managers, etc. I'm sure people would like to know this kind of stuff too. Maybe a brief overview of your business structure. 

 Karen-

Thanks for asking this question! Between just having a new baby...

And trying to juggle Family / Business / Bigger Pockets Posts, It's been a few months since I have taken a moment for some "Business Metrics Analysis"!

So as of today we have roughly $4,750,000 worth of development under construction spread across 8 different projects.

2 Pop Top Rehabs and 6 New Construction Projects.

This is VASTLY different than even last year where it was primarily In & Out Flips and ONE new construction project.

We pretty much GC all of our own stuff now, I have my GC license and our lead project manager does too. We ALWAYS pull our own permits now so even if we get a "contractor" involved on a project, we are in the "drivers seat".

I have my RE license and do my best to acquire new projects here and there, but most of our current projects have come from our "network" of other Agents and other "folks" we know.

As far as people go, we try to stay LEAN AND MEAN, and subcontract / outsource anything we can.  I own a cabinet company as well and "Pre-Crash" we had 60+ people working for us, after the crash we had about 10, we're back up to about 30+ now but "lessons learned" we try to keep "W2s" to a minimum in all our businesses...

Jason, our Project Manager pretty much handles all the day to day "construction stuff", scheduling subs, materials, approving POs, Inspections, ect.

We have a freelance Purchasing Manager that does all our estimating and "vendor relations"

We have a Quickbooks Ninja that handles all the bills, keeping up with Workers Comp, ect.

I have a few different partners on various projects in varying capacities so there is some overlap of personnel in some ways, but for the most part our small team is able rock it out at the moment.

I've been thinking about hiring some "interns" or people interested in learning the business and getting some REAL WORLD experience, but up until NOW it's been just a thought...

Originally posted by @Jon Klaus :

I recently had a demo for an average sized home, but with lots of concrete. Not runway thickness, or first grader thickness, like your patio, but it covered the front half of the large lot. My GC was getting demo bids and they were all coming back over $20k. The contractors were saying transport and disposal of the concrete was the issue. 

I knew that concrete is usually recycled and crushed to make road base, so disposal probably isn't super expensive.  My GC did some research and told me we could do the job for $12k if we bought a dump trailer and transported ourselves. 

I have a friend in DFW with a dump trailer and he told me he gets pulled over by the police a lot because dump trailers are notoriously over weight.  My GC said, we wouldn't go over weight, we'd just make more trips. So I bought a dump trailer. $7k. 

They got it done with many trips to the rock yard, but it was only 10 minutes away.  Now we're more equipped to do our own demos. 

How much did demo cost you, Todd?

 Jon-

We've been considering buying a Dump trailer AND buying/renting an excavator to do our own Demos as well as other investors demos, but haven't made the time to design the business plan for that.  Are you planning to use it for only your stuff or start a side business as well?

As far as DEMO goes, I probably could have knocked the house down and started from scratch cheaper than SURGICAL DEMO, but the amount of time we saved in permitting, foundation, and first floor framing and flooring will HOPEFULLY make up for it.

Demo labor was right at 4,500, I haven't got the bill from our machine guys but I expect it to be about 1k, and still haven't reconciled the amount of dumpsters we've used far but let's say 5-6 at 375 a pop 2,250k, that puts us at roughly 8k with the rest of the driveway to go at the end of the project we'll probably end up just north of 10k for all things DEMO related. 

@Todd Whiddon  I can see why the adorable little girl would hold your attention, Congratulations, she's precious. 

As for all the info, I know it will prove very helpful for others. Also, I'm sure you'll have no problem finding interns, I've had people from BP contact me and were willing to relocate to learn the business, but we're not set up for that right now. 

Thanks again for the details. 

I have 3 demos to do in the next few months.  Probably more will come up as we are actively buying lots. While it would be tempting to demo for others, we really need to stay focused on the goal, and not get distracted by other "good" opportunities.  

Your demo cost is pretty reasonable,even cheap.  

My GC has been tempted to start a cabinet building shop. I have had to talk him down from that ledge a few times. He makes great cabinets, but when he does, we slow down and the distraction is costly. 

2nd "Floor"

Our Framers are FLYING!  

Supposedly they are going to work ALL weekend and hope to have the roof on by Monday. We'll see, but at the rate they are going I wouldn't be surprised!  

We spent the morning taking inventory of all the material on the jobsite and called in a "Fill-In" order to make sure they had everything they needed for the weekend.  We needed to replace some of the Subfloor material and 2x10s we robbed from the upstairs material to fix the rotted bathroom floor, "Pretty much a guarantee if you rehab an OLD bathroom, you will HAVE to replace the subfloor!" Crazy as my kids are in the bath I'm sure my house will be no different!

Monday will be a BUSY day on the management side, we will measure and order the cabinets, schedule our mechanical trades "plumbing, HVAC, Electric", and probably go ahead and list the house on MLS for sale!

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