I want to learn how to rehab

16 Replies

I have been reading and learning a lot about BRRRR's and I think they are a fantastic way to start off in Real Estate as I'm just a newbie.
The problem is that I have absolutely no idea how to do any manual labor. 

So I wanted to know your recommendations on sources (books, videos, free courses) from where I can learn valuable lessons and reach my goal of rehabing a house!

Thank you all,


@Marc-Antoine Tessier I think your energy would be better spent on learning how to find a good enough deal that supports hiring all the manual labor out. Or find a team who's experience, expertise, and network you can leverage to implement the BRRRR strategy or fix and flip strategy. I don't know how to do most manual labor things either but have been able to do some j/v's on some flips without ever even seeing the houses.

If you are set on learning how to sheetrock a house or do plumbing or whatever my first inclination would be to fire up the google and youtube the heck out of everything. 

I love J Scott's book on rehabbing and estimating repair costs. 

Check it out, it's on Amazon.

The internet has diy vidoes on every possible aspect of renovating you can imagine. Type a topic into google and take your pick.

Howdy @Marc-Antoine Tessier

I would start with J Scott's "The Book on Estimating Rehab Costs". It breaks it down step by step. It is available right here on BP. There are spreadsheets you can down loan here that is based on J Scotts checklist and Home Depot SKU's. Once you familiarize yourself with the process you can try to JV on a deal to learn hands on. Or at least know what you are talking about with contractors.

While the video advice is good, I'd recommend buying something livable that could use TLC, not a wreck where you're camping till the work is done. This is a long, long road to real skills if you haven't ever used tools. I've been a professional craftsman for 35 years, property owner for 20, and I still learn all the time and cringe seeing work I did 18 years ago.

I've always been pretty handy doing things myself. My dad was a roofer and carpenter and taught me a few things when I was young. With you having no skills, I would recommend that you try to tackle small jobs yourself. Things like painting and installing ceiling fans. Try to learn things every time you hire a pro. When I have to call a pro, I stand there and watch what they're doing very closely. I did my first tile job years ago and used a small cheap tile saw I bought at Home Depot. I read all I could about it and than just jumped in. It was just a small bathroom floor and I figured if I messed it up, I could tear it out and try again. It wouldn't cost that much to redo. I took my time and it came out just fine. I let the grout dry to long before I wiped off the excess and kind of panicked when I couldn't get excess grout off. Lots of elbow grease later, I learned a valuable lesson. Grout a small area, wait 5-10 minutes, gently sponge off excess grout, rinse sponge, and repeat rinsing until all excess is gone. You could even ask a friend or relative that has skills to help you with a project. I've been doing this stuff for years and I learn new things all the time. I now do most of my own plumbing work. I got tired of paying $100+ an hour for a plumber to come out and do stuff that I could easily do. I bought a few tools and now only call in my plumber when there is a major problem. PM me if you ever have a question.

Home Depot also has demo classes where they show you how to do things like drywall patches and tile work among other things. It usually takes me twice as long to do something when I try to tackle it vs calling in someone experienced. That means I save myself at least $50 an hour and the next time I have to do the same task I can do it faster and have the tools to do it.

As the first poster said, your energy could be spent better else where. I have 20 years invested in the knowledge i contain and every job i do i learn something new. With construction there are right ways to do things and wrong ways to do them. A contractor can look at a wall and know what to expect before he opens the wall. It takes years of experience and 1,000's of jobs to build skills in construction, and 1,000's of dollars to invest in tools and time to master those tools.......

If you are dead set on learning find a contractor or handyman who is willing to let you watch or maybe even help out doing small stuff first then graduate to the harder stuff in a few years. Also youtube- just make sure youre watching actual professional contractors, not shade tree hackers, if youre going to learn to do something make sure your'e learning the right way!!!!! Home Depot has a book section and usually has how to classes on saturday mornings- lots of How to books- written by contractors and the like.... Another thing to keep in mind is the terminology, a whole other beast to tame when dealing with contractors and construction.

If you do it all yourself, you'll be able to figure it out by asking questions at the hardware store and watching youtube. Just expect the following:

1. People will be able to tell it was a DIY project 

2. It will take about six times more hours than you expect. Not exaggerating.

You just have to roll up your sleeves and get dirty. There’s No substitute for real world experience. Buy your self a set of tool bags and strap them on. your basic tools should include Tape measure, hammer, square, chisel, knife and cats paw. You’ll need a skill saw, sawzall and battery drill. Those are basic tools to get ya going. As you move through differs phases of the project you’ll need some specialty tools for each step. It takes slot of ambition to learn a trade but you can do it. Getting some work on a construction project will speed up your learning curve drastically. Oh and get a huge crow bar for the first phase, which will be demolition. You’ll be learning and saving money right off the get go!

Oh And remember to always ask for a hand full of pencils when checking out at the lumber yard

Originally posted by @James Marshall :

If you do it all yourself, you'll be able to figure it out by asking questions at the hardware store and watching youtube. Just expect the following:

1. People will be able to tell it was a DIY project 

2. It will take about six times more hours than you expect. Not exaggerating.

 Disagree with 1, but gotta agree with 2. At least with any new skill, and sometimes even after. Call me jaded, but I've seen plenty of crappy professional work, far worse than a careful DIY. I restored the fancy casings in one of my buildings myself because I know couldn't even pay a carpenter to do it. This window casing and stool is 24 separate pieces of wood, it's like building furniture on the wall. The contractor's guys couldn't even miter a baseboard in a bay window properly.

I would first go to HD watching demo or field see how they build homes. It is not meant for the couch potatos or book worms. Very hard work.

Personally, I couldn't agree more with the hard work.  Just commit and find a way to get it done.  And watching a DIY video to rehab your downstairs half bath is a great way to learn some carpentry skills.  However, when it comes to flipping a property time is money.   You will have carrying cost; taxes, insurance, loan payment if you borrow the money to name a few.  It isn't  a situation where you want to learn as you go.  

Knowing the ins and outs of real estate is ideal but I would recommend leveraging other people's specialities, ESPECIALLY when you are just starting.  And be sure to get a quote from multiple contractors.   Be weary of the super low bid, if it is too good to be true it usually is.

Flip your future by Ryan Pineda is great for flipping! 

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