How many are DIYers? Please answer either way, yes or no

28 Replies

Mostly because I’m nosey, please reply yes if you’re a DIYer, no if you sub out all work, or some other hands off investor method. Along with details if you wish.

Fyi, I’m definitely hands on, even built from ground up before, complete with non traditional building methods, (icfs, steel frame, spray foam insulation).

I want to see everything my subs are doing, plus i feel if they know i know what I’m doing, they are less likely to try some funny business.

FYI, my W2 has been engineering mostly since 1983.

I sub out almost everything. However, I'm also fully employed and making really good money with property management and real estate sales, so I can afford to pay others to protect my time for more important things.

I've met a lot of DIY Landlords and they're rarely as good as they think they are. They do everything themselves to save money but they're not as good as the professionals and it shows. Then they usually suck at managing their rental, so they lose money with bad renters and poor management practices.

Most of the properties I manage were originally managed by the Landlord. The vast majority of them make more money after hiring me than they made while doing it on their own.

But there are always exceptions and real estate is a forgiving investment.

I basically function as my own GC and gradually collect local reliable affordable subs for the various trades I sub out.  I currently do my own drywall, painting, carpentry and general handyman stuff. I sub out cleaning, demo, heavy electric or plumbing, windows/siding, roofs, concrete, garage doors, etc..  I keep my rehab costs as lean as possible to retain cash for expansion, but some stuff I just don't want to do. 

Originally posted by @Steven Westlake :

Mostly because I’m nosey, please reply yes if you’re a DIYer, no if you sub out all work, or some other hands off investor method. Along with details if you wish.

Fyi, I’m definitely hands on, even built from ground up before, complete with non traditional building methods, (icfs, steel frame, spray foam insulation).

I want to see everything my subs are doing, plus i feel if they know i know what I’m doing, they are less likely to try some funny business.

FYI, my W2 has been engineering mostly since 1983.

DIY definitely.  Used to be DEY (everything) but more focused on higher dollar items now.

My new community came with a PM I kept.  I was excited the pumphouse and mailboxes needed work and some exterior electrical needed installed so I'd have something to do. For some of us it's a sickness I guess. 

 

@Steven Westlake

As an orthopedic surgeon, I do as little as possible myself. My hands are crucial to my livelihood and my time is more valuable spent elsewhere. That being said, I am very involved in any project from beginning to end and keep a close eye on my projects

Yes, I love DIY. I do it partly to save money, mainly because I really just enjoy it. 

I'll sub out roofs, major plumbing/electrical, major tree work/landscaping, concrete, and ceiling drywall. Everything else I do myself...floors, doors, tiling, paint, windows, fixtures, trim, countertops, etc. 

Both! Depends on how busy I am at work at the moment. I try to do as much as possible myself, but often things just are not worth my time. At that point, I'll act as my own GC and sub out what needs to be done

Originally posted by @Douglas Holden :

@Steven Westlake

As an orthopedic surgeon, I do as little as possible myself. My hands are crucial to my livelihood and my time is more valuable spent elsewhere. That being said, I am very involved in any project from beginning to end and keep a close eye on my projects

Good call, I've given myself "trigger finger" which is an annoying but painless condition where the tendon for your fingers swells semi-permanently (in my case, I think from squeezing tools too hard while working) and can no longer easily pass through the structures in your hand.. so when I go to stretch or recoil my fingers they temporarily stop and then "snap" the rest of the way.... .Hard to explain but annoying as heck, but would probably be extremely serious for a surgeon to have.  Thankfully its cured by a surgical process :) 

 

My name is Joe and like I am a recovering DIY addict. I try to hire everything done, but occasionally I relapse and fix something myself. Just yesterday I replaced the heating coil in my personal dryer. It cost me $25 in parts and an hour to do a repair that would have cost $200+. 

It really comes down to value of your time, skillset and how you want to spend your time. I don't mind doing the occasional project and I like the challenge of something new. I have done projects in the past simply because "I have never done it". 

There are two advantages of DIY:

1. Having the experience of doing it, you understand the time and effort involved in doing a task. Understanding the complexity of tasks helps when you hire tasks. You can't BS someone who has actually done the job.

2. Starting out, there is nothing as powerful as sweat equity. If you don't have much money and have free time, doing tasks yourself is a great way to move ahead faster.

@Steve Vaughan you have a PM now? You must really be committed to increasing your nap time.

@Steven Westlake

Used to DIY it when cash was really tight, age was lower, and free time higher.

Now I sub out most repairs. I work a full time job.

But I have summers off and after as GC for bigger rehabs. I’ll still do some carpentry: framing, cabinets and tile. But I sub out the other trades.

For those rehabs I will do my own designs. And I do my own management.

I’m just not as good or fast as the tradesmen, but I do like the work.

@Steven Westlake

I only DIY if:

- I feel like it (want something to do)

- if I have the time and it will get the job done faster

I prefer to have professional do the work who can get it done much faster than I can. But it also depends on the time frame I’m working with

We are just finishing our 3rd rehab and do a lot of DIY!  We sub out our own specialty stuff (electrical, plumbing, etc) but I like being the GC - a little bit of a control freak, I guess.  Although I'm beginning to think it may be time to sub out more and spend my time on more income producing activities.  It's a tough call....I think after this one is done I will step back and re-evaluate before our next deal.  

We still DIY a fair amount. My husband is a skilled carpenter. For our renovations, I select and collect all the supplies we'll need for a given job and  I usually do our back splash tile and construction clean. We employ a part-time painter and a handyman that does minor plumbing, electrical, drywall, and vinyl or laminate flooring installs. Additionally, I rent to a plumber that does move involved plumbing on renovations jobs and I rent to the daughter of an amazing drywall finisher that does side jobs for me. I also have side work framers and roofers that we call occasionally and we have a go-to local plumbing company and HVAC guy for emergency maintenance calls.

We are still in the build up phase of our company but we have finally gotten far enough along to pause buying and focus on completing our renovations. Currently we have eight units under renovation.

Yes. Between my wife and I we do everything ourselves for our buy/hold rentals. Everything. The only thing we've ever paid a contractor to do is some HVAC work.

I was a DIY for clean outs, demo, paint, sistering boards, minor framing, putting in flooring and trim, very basic things.  Did it with my two teens.  It actually was pretty much needed to buy as many trashed houses plus the 4 unit apartment building with the $ we used when we started.  We hired out roofs, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, raising the house types of jobs.  Eventually hooked up with good trades folks.

But, well, life goes on and things change.  So now I adopted a relative's baby and have a 5 month old son.  I can not do much of anything with him wanting to be held and cared for.  So now we pretty much hire out things.  

With 4 houses, a small storage place, and a 4 unit apartment all fully rehabbed in the past 2 years, I think that we worked enough hands on, except for my daughter who loves to do this type of work.  Give her a miter saw and she is happy!  (Just don't ask her to scrub the tub!)  My son, on the other hand, likes being a cook at McDonalds! 

So we have 2 houses left to do.  One will be fully contracted out.  It has all the stuff we hate doing, and I wish I did not buy that one now!  

The other is a Victorian, about 3000 square feet, and in need of new trim and flooring that we will likely do (and lots of other things I will hire out).  I'll likely let my daughter do the trim and some of the flooring.  We did train 2 people to do the floors too.  And then we have a garage to apartment conversion for the apartment house, giving it the fifth apartment.  That will be contracted out to the same folks that already converted the other piece of the garage into a laundry room.

So I guess I am now a retired DIYer...at least until the baby gets bigger....maybe I'll like retirement though.  The rented houses/apartments/storage units do bring in enough to pay for everything else to be done by contractors though!  And I did book 2 cruises...

My take on this is pretty simple, and I've said it before.

If a man in a suit with lots of goop in his hair were to walk into your office and try to sell you on the idea of making a fortune in port-a-potties, and promised you that, with The Right Systems in place, you could start from the very beginning and throughout the process of building your fortune you would never, ever, ever have to smell poop, would you believe him?

This is more or less the same situation we find ourselves in with the gurus and their hands-off seminars on how to make millions flipping houses and never getting your hands dirty. Is it possible? Sure. Is it likely? No.

And please God, don't spout ignorant claptrap about how Andrew Carnegie made a fortune in steel and never knew how to make it. I own property within walking distance from the site of the Homestead Massacre. Anybody who makes that argument is equally ignorant about the history of the American steel industry.

@Steven Westlake

I'm mostly a DIYer. I like the work but get frustrated sometimes when part of a project is harder than I expect. And I get discouraged when flips take longer than I expect. I have a full time W2 as a PM for a GC in addition to home inspecting and flipping. I'm saving money and hoping to transition into RE full time.

Part of the reason I want to transition out of my PM job is that I dont enjoy wrangling subs. I've hired a few subs on my personal flips but try to avoid it because getting quality work completed on time is often more frustrating than doing the job myself.

As an example, I hired a taper to finish my shop and he got halfway finished and quit coming back. I waited 2 weeks, finished it myself and then paid him about 2/3s of his original quote (just to be safe).

The podcasts all preach that a RE investor should hire everything out so they can scale and focus on building their business. I guess it isn't exciting enough to interview someone who does two flips a year and makes enough to live on. And no one wants to work two jobs abd rehab a house at the same time. Thankfully real estate is somewhat forgiving so it is possible to do almost everything "wrong" and still make some money investing in fixers.

Thanks folks, for this fantastic amount of input and insight to your processes.
Good to know I’m not some Kind of lone wolf weirdo. 

Grew up with my dad spec building new homes for extra money, and 2 uncles in the building supply business for a few years.

I'm a DIY'er!  Like many posts have mentioned it's not glamorous and won't get us a show on HGTV but there is nothing more satisfying than planning the work/working the plan and seeing the results of your hard work.  I call my rental houses "bullet proof cream puffs" which they are when I'm done with them.  I mostly do the all turn work (except for major plumbing/electrical, roofing, HVAC) and also have a W2 handling the accounting for a property management company.  When I have a vacancy, my wife will let me work one night a week and all weekend until it's done which usually takes a month or so.  Funny thing, when I'm working on a house my mind is clear and time stands still - I think they call that "nirvana".   

Yes, we DIY. Less now than we used to, though. We could hire it all out, but where's the fun in that? One of the reasons we are in this business is that we enjoy it. So if we know (or can learn) how to do something and we want to do it, we do.

Practically, that means HVAC, roofing, siding, windows, concrete, and most of the demo are hired out. We do most of the electrical and plumbing, all lighting, tile, cabinet & counter install, and about half of the painting & flooring.