Rehabbing How-to’s

Posted on May 30, 2013 by

In 1988, I was living in Paris, France with my brother, Sam.  Sam was a fashion photographer.  His job was to take pictures of lots of very pretty girls – and get paid to do it!  Needless to say, I L-O-V-E-D Paris!

I got a call from my dad.  My grandmother was very sick.  He needed me to fly home immediately.  Soon after I arrived, my grandmother passed away.  Part of settling her estate was getting her house, which was built in 1930, fixed up and sold.  This was my first attempt at a major rehab.

At first, I thought: No problem.  I’m mechanical and handy with tools.  I quickly realized that I didn’t know what I was doing and was in way over my head.  Each repair that I did took much longer and cost a lot more than estimated.  My frustration level shot through the ceiling.  All the while, my dad kept calling and asking, “What’s taking you so long, boy?”  I nearly went postal!

Fast forward to today.  Last month, Kim and I bought a house on Green Acre in Cartersville, Georgia.  It was built in 1969 and needed a ton of updating – walls, wiring, plumbing, kitchen, bath, fixtures, flooring, etc.  How does this rehab compare to my grandmother’s rehab?  There’s no comparison: the Green Acre rehab is as easy as eating pie.

The BIG mistake I made with my grandmother’s house was trying to do the rehab myself.  There is no way I can compete with an experienced contractor.  A great been-there-and-done-that contractor will do the job better, faster, safer and cheaper than me!

Here’s your ah-ha moment for today: As real estate investors, our main job is to find, structure and finance win-win deals – not cut grass, paint walls, lay flooring or re-roof a house!  We need to do what we do best and let contractors do what they do best.  It’s easy to find someone to do a repair, but very difficult to find a motivated seller and structure a win-win deal. 

Knowing this, what do YOU think is the most profitable use of YOUR time: painting walls or is it getting face-to-face with sellers?

Dorsie Boddiford is a very talented real estate investor who got her start two years ago.  One of her big lessons came while rehabbing a house and doing much of the work herself.  After she completed the shave-and-haircut repairs, the house sold quickly.  Then came the problem.  Dorsie lost her momentum because she had been doing the rehab instead of meeting with sellers.  She didn’t have her next deal lined up and ready to go. 

What if Dorsie, instead of working on that property 18 hours a day, had hired all the work out and spent her valuable time looking for her next deal?  It’s likely she would have found an investment property and been able to move her contracting team from one job to the next without any down time.

These days, Kim oversees our rehabs.  She’s a lot better at it than me.  When buying a property, like Green Acre, we put our heads together, make a list of what needs doing, hire the right folks to do the job, and then get out of their way.

How do you find the best contractors?  Attend your local real estate investors meeting and ask experienced investors for recommendations.  You can find the contractors we use on our website.

Bill & Kim CookBill & Kim Cook are a husband and wife real estate investing team. They live in Adairsville, Georgia and have been investing in real estate since 1995. They specialize in buying single-family homes, mobile homes and mobile home parks. They also run North Georgia REIA and teach folks how to successfully invest in real estate.

Contact Bill & Kim Cook

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