Maximizing Your Time

Rehabbing and House Flipping 19 Replies

Thought I’d get the consensus from the rehabbers here who are doing at least a few flips per year.

How are you maximizing your time when it comes to finding rehab deals? It’s been incredibly time intensive for me to find deals, view the property, write up the contract and chase the listing agent and for flip properties the results haven’t been too good considering the time invested.

Some investors have recommended hiring a drive by person, others recommend simply staying on course, and some have found the idea of visiting every property comical and often make their offers sight unseen.

Before I bother looking at any property I pull it up on MLS, use google earth and street view and any other resources I can find. While this helps whittle down the list of potential purchases it really doesn't save tons of time.

How do you handle this?

You probably waste alot of time sleeping, do your rehabs in the day and find the properties at night! For a day off, take Sunday afternoon to find houses and go through open houses to see what's going on, that's a good day off! You can bang away Mon-Sat. Good time management is keeping busy all the time! :)

Medium logoscopiccroppedblue2Bill Gulley, General Real Estate Academy | https://generalrealestateacademy.com

@ Bill - completely agree with the general premise of what you're saying and I already follow what you're saying by working on this stuff nights and weekends. I own a few other businesses so time is a bit more limited than I'd like which is why I'm soliciting the experts for tips on how they most efficiently use their time to fill their deal pipeline.

The answer may be as you say, sleep less and work more.

Nobody else willing to share some tips on how you most effectively use your time for deal hunting / analysis?

The foundation of a time management program is daily planning. But every now and then veer from daily planning. It adds spice. :)

Having a full time job and managing rehabs can be very difficult, but it is achievable if you find out what works for you and develop systems and routines. Some things that have helped me include:

- writing things down in a planner: I have tried electronic calendars and everything else but for me, nothing beats making to do lists in my planner

- routines: try to set aside a time every day to focus your efforts. It is like teaching a kid to do their homework as soon as they come home, it will help you not get distracted

- split the workload: I am lucky enough to have a business partner who is also very dedicated to growing our business and two people looking for deals is better than one.

- automate: we have developed and estimating system that helps us quickly estimate rehab costs quickly and accurately. Everyone is different but find a method that works for you.

As far as actually seeing the properties, try to waste as little time on properties that will not be good deals. I have seen people walking through properties before they have even really comped the property out...they would not have wasted their time if they would have comped it and realized it is not a deal at all.

In the end though, finding great rehab deals is not easy, and there is only so much you can do to speed up the process without making mistakes.

I have had to juggle several business ventures at the same time as well, seems that you put out the biggest fire first but then other aspects will slide. To stay away from this I allocated time for each at the first of my day, addressing issues or whatever was needed for the time allocated, then off to the next. When all the various matters were completed I'd return to the most pressing or most profitable and complete that.

I only took phone calls from those who had my cell phone number, I didn't really take calls until 10:30 or 11:00 am, my wife took calls, I had an answering service and later had staff. Otherwise I'd be on the phone and not getting much done.

I also planned my day as James has pointed out as a routine, you get use to it and jump in without thinking about what you need to line up. Others also get use to what your routine is as well, they don't call you before 11:00 for example as they know you're out of pocket.

I would also plan my time backwards, knowing I had an appointment at 2:00 I estimated the travel time there, when I hade to leave, how much time for the office tasks, what my allocated time needed to start and when I need to be at the office,.....as an example, I think most of us do this, but it may mean having to get up at 5:00.

Sleeep is very important to me, I need at least 6 hours and that may mean not watching the late show. Here you need a routine and stick to it.

As for organization, I had an air traffic control background in the Army and ATC uses flight strips stacked on a rack that slides down representing the next plane to bring in. Each flight strip has boxes with information or meaning when checked. If a box was checked it meant that the weather had been given for example.

I adapted the flight strip system to my RE, on a white board with deals as they came in at the top and a horizontal series of boxes and comments. As a process was completed I checked it off. I could sit at my desk and at a glace tell the current status of any deal.

I imagine that now, with computers you could punch a key and get a matrix of your status, I only used them for word processing, not a techie as everyone here knows. But, if the phone rang and someone asked what was going on, looking up at my board I could immediately begin telling them what had been done and I know that immediate response will have them thinking that I was really on top of it, as if I were working on it at that moment! I could give an answer quicker than turning on my computer or changing a page. It worked for me. :)

Medium logoscopiccroppedblue2Bill Gulley, General Real Estate Academy | https://generalrealestateacademy.com

One of the major flaws in you system seem to be all the time you spend chasing these deals. You need to partner with a good broker to do most of the legwork for you.

I am a broker and I do quite a bit of business with investors/flippers, because it allows them more time. I am always on the lookout because I actively invest/flip myself, and devote a couple hours a day to scouring the market for potential deals because I know I can sell it to someone if the numbers work.

Rehabbers are some of my favorite clients because I usually get the listing when the project is complete. My investor clients have me on call 24/7 and I am happy to answer my phone anytime for these guys.

I will admit it is hard to find a broker that truly understands investment real estate and rehabs, but once you find one your workload will decrease.

Originally posted by Grant P.:
One of the major flaws in you system seem to be all the time you spend chasing these deals. You need to partner with a good broker to do most of the legwork for you.

I am a broker and I do quite a bit of business with investors/flippers, because it allows them more time. I am always on the lookout because I actively invest/flip myself, and devote a couple hours a day to scouring the market for potential deals because I know I can sell it to someone if the numbers work.

Rehabbers are some of my favorite clients because I usually get the listing when the project is complete. My investor clients have me on call 24/7 and I am happy to answer my phone anytime for these guys.

I will admit it is hard to find a broker that truly understands investment real estate and rehabs, but once you find one your workload will decrease.

Grant,

How do you reconcile being a flipper and helping flippers? When you cant take on any more deals, you give them to your clients? I've always shied away from helping investors as an agent, since I take down everything I see myself for either wholesale or flipping. I guess for me, I make more money wholesaling or flipping than just being a buyers agent for someone else.

Seems to work great for normal agents, but agents who flip don't usually work with flippers since they can just take down the property themselves.

OF course this is normal MLS or wholesaler stuff that you would find. If they bring you an off market deal that they want to buy or something and were procuring cause, thats one thing and understandable.

Just trying to get an opinion from 'the other side'.

Medium anson property group copyAnson Young, Anson Property Group | 303‑475‑9999 | CO Agent # 14161n | Podcast Guest on Show #235

I agree with @Grant P. this is what I do. I have a full time job as well and I can't go look at properties all day, in fact we just run numbers based on comps and estimated rehab. Then make offers once we get them under contract that's when we go look. But, our market is very competitive and the majority we don't get under contract because we are coming in too low.

I look at it as a waste of time to go look at it until you have it under contract. Otherwise I could spend endless time looking at properties that have no potential unless we get them for much much less than asking price. I probably look at between 10-30 properties a day, the majority I don't spend more than 5 minutes on in front of my computer.

Originally posted by Grant P.:

I am a broker and I do quite a bit of business with investors/flippers, because it allows them more time. I am always on the lookout because I actively invest/flip myself, and devote a couple hours a day to scouring the market for potential deals because I know I can sell it to someone if the numbers work.

Two issues issues I would have working with you:

1. As Anson points out, if you're a rehabber yourself, it only seems to make sense that you're going to keep the best deals for yourself. I'm licensed and sometimes help other investors with rehab and selling, but I don't find deals for other investors because it's a conflict of interest -- other investors can be sure the best deals I find I'm buying myself.

2. If you're working with more than one investor, that means you're not necessarily helping your investors, you're just breeding competition among them. Personally, I'd consider working with a broker in this type of relationship, but if he sending other investors the same deals he's sending me, he's not adding much value, as I already have plenty of competition...I don't need my broker providing more.

Medium lishproplogoJ Scott, Lish Properties, LLC | [email protected] | http://www.123flip.com | Podcast Guest on Show #10

I have only had 1 rehab going at a time, I do it on the side and struggle to as my primary occupation consumes almost all of my time.

I send out periodic emails to all of my investor clients. I don't currently work with any large scale investors, just a solid group of investors from my previous career of being a financial adviser. Not necessarily seasoned RE investors, but usually wanting to make a change due to poor returns in the financial markets.

My strategy may not work for everyone, and at times I may create competition between clients, but I don't think I have yet.

1) Getting Things Done is a great book by David Allen. It is a lot of material to absorb so I listen to the audio version on my iPod while walking. It has helped me be more clear about my priorities.

2) Develop good habits. Often successful people don't look like they are working any harder than anyone else. This is because they are in the habit of doing the most important tasks. the highest payoff stuff is automatic to them.

3) Have an accountability partner. Having someone or a small group to hold you accountable to what you say you are going to do can provide the motivation to get it done.

4) Delegate - find people to inspect houses for you. As others have said get agents or brokers to do more in the way of deal finding. Work with wholesalers. Not the wana-be, with the bogus deal, but get reputation as a deal closer with the real players. Use a virtual assistant. I know there are things in your business that you assume you should do yourself. Challenge that notion and put some thought to what you can pass off to others.

Good luck - Ned

Medium crab1 copyNed Carey, Crab Properties LLC | http://baltimorerealestateinvestingblog.com/

When I look at flips, I have a system of how I analyze what to go look at physically. I try to weed out as many duds as possible before driving anywhere. Doing most of your "looking" on the computer can save tons of time. mck

Steve

I think your problem is focusing on MLS, yes there are deals there and everybody and their brother is checking them out, so real deals are not all that common. I am not saying don't look but screen them and go for the few that look good and make the offer contingent on an inspection, etc.

Real suggestion is to decide on a couple of other sources of leads and work those. I will leave the choice of the new sources up to you because you know your area and I don't but others will normally have a better return on time invested and better flexability if not dealing with an agent barrier in place when negotiating.

How are you maximizing your time when it comes to finding rehab deals? It's been incredibly time intensive for me to find deals, view the property, write up the contract and chase the listing agent and for flip properties the results haven't been too good considering the time invested.

I spend most of my time comping properties and locating deals. It is what I'm best at and the remainder of the work can be outsourced. I have an assistant write up the offer and project manager drive the properties. They are only driven once they are under contract though unless they are more than a cosmetic rehab. If they are a large remodel, then I will drive them myself.

Silly question possibly, but here goes- what do you actually gain by going to see those properties in person? Can't you delegate? Surely this is chomping away at a huge portion of your time? Unless you're going to be physically conducting the rehabs "hammer in hand", why aren't your contractors inspecting those properties for you, once you've established general interest and potential in the listings? What do you gain by not delegating?

Originally posted by Ziv Magen:
Silly question possibly, but here goes- what do you actually gain by going to see those properties in person? Can't you delegate?

For me, the answer is that there are intangibles that need to be considered. For example, are there barking dogs next door; is the elevation of the house such that it doesn't have curb appeal; is the floorplan weird; is the house situated in a bad part of a neighborhood; etc.

I'll trust my project manager to determine these things, but that's because he's been with me for four years and knows what types of intangibles I look for -- a typical contractor wouldn't care about these things and wouldn't know what I look for.

Medium lishproplogoJ Scott, Lish Properties, LLC | [email protected] | http://www.123flip.com | Podcast Guest on Show #10

Thanks for the comments everyone.

@Bill Gulley and @James Vermillion - Good points on automation. I've got pretty good procedures in place to handle my businesses and investments but you're right that this is just another function of automation and there is plenty of good tools for that out there. I'm an evernote junkie and would be lost without it.

@Grant P. - I've yet to run across an agent that I felt was worthwhile, but i'd be happy to work with someone if I found them.

@Justin S. - Your method makes the most sense to me. Are you using a VA to handle your contracts or is it someone in your office who handles multiple tasks? I can see how this method might mean you back out of a few contracts upon inspection but it's certainly a more effective use of time which is the commodity I have the least of right now.

My assistant is in house but she also works for other agents as well. I've only walked on one property and that was due to a communication error between me and my assistant. My remodels are typically very simple though, I'm not moving walls or anything. My business model is fast nickels and I shy away from slow dimes.