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Eventually, every real estate investor will come across a property that requires work. Learning how to find contractors for home renovations will lead to some highly profitable property investment deals.
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How Do I Find Qualified Contractors For Home Renovations
Joe: Hey, it’s Joe. Next question is, “Joe, how do I find qualified contractors for home renovations?” So, if you’re buying a property, let’s say, take the type of property that we would get. We’d get a property that we get it on a land contract and maybe we’ll get it for $30,000. And it needs $20,000 worth of work. And once we have that $20,000 worth of work in it, it’ll be worth $80,000. So, we end up having $50,000 into the property, we have $30,000 of equity and we have a property that’s really in pristine condition after it’s done because we’re going to go through and redo all of the carpet and roof and, you know, air conditioning and heating and just clean up the entire property and turn it into a really pristine nice place to live that we can find good tenants for.
Joe: So, let’s take a situation like that, or, if you’re not going to put a tenant in it, or keep it for your portfolio, but you just want to flip it and make $25,000 on a deal like that, which is not difficult to do over the three to six month period it’ll probably take you to get all that work done, and then get it on the market and get it sold, depending on how quick your market it is and how long it’s taking to get properties closed. But that’s kind of typical for us. I’ve been keeping most of the properties that I buy these days, but sometimes we do sell them in a way that’s not on terms, you know, that’s not on lease option. We’ll sell for cash, we’ll go through the MLS to sell those properties.
Joe: But we have to get that work done. And I don’t swing a hammer. I stopped doing that many years ago. I don’t enjoy that process and I don’t think it’s very profitable. You can be really good at it, and I know a lot of guys that get into rehabs because they’re really good at fixing properties up and they see that, hey, if I was doing this drywall for my own properties I’d make a lot more money. And that’s true, you would make a lot more money.
Joe: But, if you just have somebody else do the drywall for you for a property that you bought, you’d make even more money than that. Because you’d be able to focus on the thing that actually makes you money as a real estate investor which is finding properties, finding more deals and going through that process. It’s the deals, the buying of the deals that make you the most money. If you buy deals that make sense, you’re going to be able to sell them and you’re going to make a profit ever time.
Joe: So, the challenge is, though, finding a good contractor. And what we typically do is, I’ll work with somebody that I trust. And most of the people that I’ve worked with – all the people that I’m working with, actually – have been through my mentor program so I know them. I’ve seen what they’ve done, I’ve seen what they’ve been successful with. I’ve been able to get to know them. They’ve become my friends.
Joe: And then they come across a deal that they like and they say, hey, Joe, we’ve got this deal. Would you be interested in investing in it? Because the reason they come to me is because they find a deal that could use some money, like a rehab like this. Because I’m teaching them how to do zero down deals, they don’t need my help for that, they don’t need my input for that, they don’t need my partnering for any of that stuff. And I would encourage them to do those things on their own. But if they get to a point where they need some money, and they’re people that understand what I’m doing then, and they understand how to put together a deal and they bring it to me and they say, hey, do you want to work on this one with me?
Joe: I’ll look at the numbers, and the numbers make sense to me, and they already know what numbers I want, I mean, they went through my training program so they have a pretty good idea of what makes sense and what doesn’t make sense. And I’m willing to do what makes sense. So, they bring me a deal like that and I’ll say, okay, let’s do it. Now, you’re going to have to manage the rehab.
Joe: Now, they’re not going to do the rehab. They’re just going to manage the rehab. And that’s going to be part of what they’re bringing to the table. They’re going to find the deal, they’re going to manage the rehab, they’re going to get a tenant in there. They’re going to make it’s managed properly. They may not do all that work themselves, but they’re going to make sure that it gets done. And I’m going to have to trust them to make sure that it gets done.
Joe: And we go through a series of things to make sure, so I can make sure that that work is getting done, by sending me pictures and sending me invoices and all those things.
Joe: So, the question then becomes how do they find a good contractor and I’ve used contractors for a long time and we had a situation once where a contractor came on the job. He had a whole bunch of things that he was going to do. It was a $30,000 rehab on a house that we’d bought for $2,500. It was a really cheap property here in Indianapolis which we later sold for $75,000. But he came in, and he did the work, and he did about half of the work and then the contractor just disappeared. This wasn’t my partner, this was the contractor. And my partner is trying to, you know, what’s going on here? Where are you? What’s going on? Didn’t hear back from him.
Joe: So, we hired somebody else. Somebody else came in finished the work, we got it done, you know, at the same cost that we thought we would have previously. But, we had a contract with the original contractor. And that contract, he filed a mechanic’s lien. And so we had to deal with that mechanic’s lien. Now, he lost. He didn’t do the work. We won that case and we got it removed from the property. But, it taught me that you need a good contract with your contractor. So, write up a contract that allows you to put line items, and if you’re in my mentor program you’ll have these contracts already, the ones that we created, but it has line items in that contract that says furnace, X amount of dollars. Painting, X amount of dollars. Carpet, X amount of dollars.
Joe: So, it line items everything. And we pay them for those line items as that work is done. And if the work isn’t done then we don’t pay them for it. And it also has a clause in the document that says if you abandon the work and you’re not on it within, you know, over a three-day period, then we can cancel this contract, pay for the work that’s been done and no other money will be due.
Joe: We’ll always pay for the work that’s done. We won’t just kick them out and not pay them. But we’ll only have to pay the line items that are taken care of or portions of it, and then we’ll hire somebody else to finish the other line items and get that stuff taken care of and not have to worry about a mechanic’s lien on those deals. It also makes those guys a little bit more responsible about staying on the job, getting back with us and doing the work.
Joe: But, you’re still going to have problems with contractors. And we are regularly finding new contractors. We regularly have to, or a contractor, something happens in their life, or something goes on and they have to go away for a while. And then they may come back later, but we may have somebody else by then as well. So, don’t count on contractors being around for years. Count on them going away for a while and having to find somebody else.
Joe: There’s some different types of contractors to look for. There’s people that, the guy that’s, you know, he just got out of jail that week and he’s looking for work. And sometimes those guys are great and they do great work and we love them. They’re not terribly expensive, but they’re not very reliable for the long term. If you’re expecting to have them do the next deal and the next deal and the next deal they may not be around for that.
Joe: And then there’s the guys that are, they just plug along and they’re always there and they do the best, and sometimes you find somebody you can work with for several years, or multiple properties on, and we absolutely love it when we find that. And we’re willing to pay a little bit more to do that.
Joe: Now, some people, and especially new investors, they’ll go and they’ll look at, you know, Emily’s List or they’ll go look at all these different review sites to find the contractor for a specific job that’s best at that particular job. And it’s very likely that the job that they come in and they do will be a good job. They’ll do great at it. But it could cost you almost twice as much to go in that direction than it would be to find somebody who can do multiple things and maybe not do quite as good a job but still do a good job, do a competent job, and it costs substantially less money. So, you have to decide which makes the most sense for you.
Joe: And one of the things I’ve seen, especially, again, with new investors when they first do this, their costs for their rehab is substantially higher than they thought it was going to be because they go with people who have much higher ratings on the internet. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to do a better job for you. So, anyway, that’s how you find a contractor and how you work with a contractor. And try to save some money doing it. You’ve got to walk a fine line and you always have to pay attention.
Joe: For me it’s about having a partner who pays attention. For you, if you’re doing the work, you have to pay attention to your contractor and they can still do the work for you. I would not recommend swinging the hammer yourself. You’re going to make, you know, $15 an hour swinging a hammer. But, you can make thousands of dollars an hour if you’re putting deals together. So, focus on putting the deals together rather than doing the work yourself.
Joe: All right. Subscribe to the page. Go to my blog, JoeCrumpBlog.com. Sign up for my free newsletter. Go to PushButtonAutomarketer.com for the automation that shows you how to automate this whole process. And of course ZeroDownInvesting.com is my mentor program where you work with me personally for six months.
Joe: All right – Good Luck to you.