Rehab Estimate Tools

7 Replies

Hey @Jesse Klein ! The best way to gauge rehab costs in your area is to talk to local RE professionals or Tradespeople who have experience with the materials/labor you're looking at. In general it should be good enough to get some insight from a GC but if it's something more specific/specialized you may need to get input from someone with experience in that area.

Start connecting with GCs and other Tradespeople in your area through REI groups or on here. They will be your best source of costs because they provide local, contextual insight.

Hope that's helpful!

Jesse it really depends on the rehab. 

And nothing against the folks at BP but the rehab calculator on BP is sub-par. There is a lot more that goes into a job and I think that tool breezes over most of it. 

I am a full time developer and builder.  I use a program called Pre-Built MLX. PreBuilt costs about 60/month and is well worth it. I also have the folks at my materials supplier do an independent takeoff. 

I think a question that you're asking but not really asking is this - How do I know all of the different stuff that is going to go into my project? How do I figure out what that's going to cost? and how do I figure out how long that is going to take. 

The short answer is experience. But you can definitely accelerate your learning curve with technology and hard work. Here is a process that worked for me. I hope it works for you. And remember, this is my full time job and I grew up in the business and it still takes me FOREVER to build out estimates. So don't get frustrated with yourself if you get a little burned out early in the process. This is hard work and it's not sexy but it will help you get to real and pretty accurate numbers. And it will help you communicate with contractors along the way. Good luck. 

Step 1: Get plans and make sure they are in your market in your kind of product (high end, low end, mid market) I use an app called MagicPlan. After you figure out how to use it, It will allow you to generate the floor plan of a typical two story house  in about 15 minutes. After that you can load the PDF into a program called PreBuilt MLX. They will help you set up your template file and you will refine it as you go. When you first start in PreBuilt and if you don't have an architecture or construction background it is going to be very hard and very frustrating. Things are going to seem extra backward. BUT. Prebuilt is designed to follow a typical GC's work flow, and there is a TON of value in really really understanding that workflow. I also recommend purchasing a book called Carpentry and Building Construction from McGraw Hill. It's the reference book most most state licensing exams use and is just a great resource. 

For early estimates start in chapter 1 and go chapter by chapter using the book and prebuilt until you have "built the house" virtually. Then take your materials list and price it using home depot or lowes or whatever is near you. That is going to give you the materials costs. 

Step 2. Go to building and get their book on labor rates and labor productivity factors. Go back to your PreBuilt list and do the same thing but this time for labor. 

Step 3. Rinse and repeat a gagillion times. 

Step 4. Get a project, run it, and compare estimated to cost. 

Step 5. Refine refine refine 

As an FYI, it is going to take about 15 - 20 hours to do your first estimates this way. But on the upside it will transform how you see this business. And if you really get into it, it will transform how the trades see you. 

Imagine, you're meeting with a sheetrock contractor on site and he says it's gonna cost x for the job, and you whistle and exhale and sigh and then say...well that seems like you'll be charging me y per installed board and I know the /board installation rate is closer to z and I have estimated abc number of boards... well it adds a level of professionalism and confidence that can sometimes make the difference between success and failure. 

@Omer Bar great question and yes. I have since dropped Prebuilt in favor of BlueBeam Revu. It's a one time fee instead of a monthly subscription. 

I also recommend reading David Gerstel's book "Nail Your Numbers- A path to skilled construction estimating and bidding" 

I've also updated my excel model/process. 

I know go >> 

Plans > BlueBeam (I do my materials takeoff in BlueBeam) > Export BB numbers to Excel and add labor costs. I've started using the NAHB cost codes as it really helps ensure nothing gets missed. 

A super useful tool I recommend to all my investor clients: MagicPlan and Laser Measure. Pay for the MagicPlan app and buy a compatible laser measure. Learn how to use it and you can generate a floor plan in about 20 minutes. A floor plan and some pictures from your walk through and you're good to go to implement the other items. 

Happy to talk through in more detail just shoot me a DM.