House Flipping Questions

6 Replies

I am a new real estate investor and new to bigger pockets. I am getting ready for my first flip and have a few questions for the BP community. Apologize if these have already been asked but I haven't been able to find them.

1) When interviewing possible contractors what questions should be asked? Is it possible to get an idea of their billing fees? I would like to weed out the good from the bad and have a couple teed up once I purchased.

2) Once a home is purchased and the remodel has begun how do you all know what colors to paint the walls, appliances to purchase, fixtures to purchase and general landscaping ideas. I am pretty creative but not in this way.

3) For the Bay Area residents are there any discount retailers you go to to purchase appliances/fixtures other than Home Depot? I have heard there are some retailers that sell paint, tile and other material at a discount due to excess supply?

Thanks,

Kyle. 

Hi Kyle,

1)  the first thing you want to ask prospective contractors is if they've had experience working on flips before.  Since you're new to flipping, ideally you want a contractor who is familiar with the process. 

Contractors have various methods for determining how much they will charge you.  You can ask them how they're going to bill the job but they won't be able to give you any pricing until they see the house.

2)  when I first started flipping I didn't know much about the design aspect.  I educated myself by doing a ton of research online, and also by going to see a ton of flips in my area.  Now I feel really comfortable with the design, and think it's fun.  If you don't want to go this route then hire a designer.   Here in Portland, buyers will pay a premium for good design. I'm guessing the Bay Area is similar.   Others may disagree, but I say don't skimp on design if you want maximum value.

Welcome to Bigger Pockets @Kyle Rosseau  ...

I agree with @Jessica S.  and her koala bear lol. 

1. Open the yellow pages and call contractors and see who's done flips before. I personally like a contractor that gives me a break down on pricing of everything, its extremely professional and beneficial to your marketing for investors. They have to be on time, well early is a must too. If they get there late, they don't even need to get out of their car. 

2. Google gives you some great ideas, or you can hire someone to do that for you so you can worry about other things. Interior designers love blank canvas. 

3. I'm out of NC, so sorry.

But best of luck to you on your journey. 

1) If you're running a small operation, Angie's List is worth looking into. The reviews and references are there for you to read, and contractors cannot tamper with these reviews. It's not the greatest tool if you're doing large scale projects, but for residential remodels, it's perfect. Also, for small remodels/renovations, you should act as the general contractor and sub contract the jobs yourself. If you hire the flooring guys, painters, electricians, etc. you can save yourself 10-20% in GC fees. Ask each sub-contractor to provide a line-item list of what it is that you asked them to do, along with the cost for each.

2) Pinterest is a surprisingly great site for any of these ideas. I'm creatively challenged and it has helped me greatly on my properties.

3) Very few places are going to save you enough to off-set the risk of getting poor quality materials. Unless you're doing large scale projects, I'm not of the belief that this is worth it to pursue. You'll waste a lot of time searching, and either come up empty-handed, or with old, unattractive materials, or (very rarely) you'll have a great experience, but potentially only save a few cents per square foot.

1) When interviewing possible contractors what questions should be asked? Is it possible to get an idea of their billing fees? I would like to weed out the good from the bad and have a couple teed up once I purchased.

I am a general contractor and in my experience billing is almost always one of the main questions and its in your right to ask it.  Always ask if they have done full house flips many contractors "can do it" but take a much longer time then you'd like.  Ask them what they do in house and what is subbed out.  Examples of work if possible so you can see attention to detail.

2) Once a home is purchased and the remodel has begun how do you all know what colors to paint the walls, appliances to purchase, fixtures to purchase and general landscaping ideas. I am pretty creative but not in this way.

In all honesty it is completely up to you.  Some people like to follow new construction trends.  Some people like to be a little more bold.  Best thing you can do is try to find out the trends in your market.  talk to realtors and go to NREIA meetings.  

3) For the Bay Area residents are there any discount retailers you go to to purchase appliances/fixtures other than Home Depot? I have heard there are some retailers that sell paint, tile and other material at a discount due to excess supply?

Sherwin williams almost always offers discounts through their local NREIA chapter as do many other local businesses.  

Great ideas everyone. Thanks for the responses.  Very much appreciated!  @Jessica S.  I also agree that design is important and can attract more buyers. To start out I think I will need some help. 

@Chaz Reid  good advise regarding timeliness. I would have to agree. I have also heard of people going to home depot at 6am and approaching the contractors that Arrive early. 

@Michael Roy  interesting recommendation regarding Angie's list. I would never have thought about that.  Out west we pretty much use yelp. I also never thought of pin interest. I will have to get an account. Currently I have been going around to open houses and taking pictures of colors, appliances and fixtures to have on file. 

@Greg Behan  thanks for the advise regarding contractors. Very helpful. 

Thanks for your input...great feedback. 

Kyle

@Kyle Rosseau  

Such an exciting time! I definitely recommend getting J Scott's book on flipping houses and rehab costs. Both are amazing, however the rehab cost book will help you with your bids and scope of work, because J does a great job of laying out average costs. It was a huge help for me when we were getting bids on our property. It can be found here:

http://get.biggerpockets.com/flippingbook/

As for design. As everyone has said, research. Research magazines, get on Pinterest, get on Houzz. Follow some home decorator blogs(I personally like Jones Design Company, The Inspired Room, Decor8 just to name a few) those have the most information and you are getting in touch with what the market wants.

Here is my REI board on pinterest.

https://www.pinterest.com/nikkib123/rei-rehab-idea...

Popular neutral paint colors are "Graiges" they are gray based colors. Subway tile is making a big comeback, along with white and marble. Obviously granite, stainless steel and hardwood floors will always be popular. To keep things easy, many flippers use the same paint color throughout the whole house. Bennington Gray and Stonington Gray are probably the two top colors for stagers, but there are many others that work just as well:)

Great success to you and hope to see some of your projects on BP!

Nicole

(614) 638-8635

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