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Nicolet Street pre video walkthrough

12/21/2012

Here’s a video of our latest house project. I took this video on our first day of demo at the property. Sorry it’s a bit choppy I only had my phone on me when I took it.

This is a two bedroom one bathroom house. It is pretty much a complete gut job. A lot of the demo was done before we bought the property. We took out the rest of the kitchen, bathroom and windows, removed the wall between the living room and kitchen and replaced the roof.

A lot of people ask me if I’m often surprised when I dig into a project, and find the scope of work to be more than I expected. To put this in perspective, I’ve worked in and around construction since I was about 15. I’ve also never used a home inspector to help me figure out what needs to be done on a property. In my experience, they miss things that I usually catch anyway. That being said, they can be useful if you’re negotiating a short sale. Saying I don’t get surprised isn’t to say that every now and then we aren’t forced to increase our scope of work. Of course when you walk through a house project, you come to expect a few things. For example: if there is excessive water damage evident on some exterior wood siding, while I may not always know the condition of the structure underneath, I assume we will have to do some framing work. On the last two houses, where there was a wall we wanted to take down between the living room and kitchen, I’m usually fairly sure electric, gas and sometimes plumbing lines will have to be re-routed. In addition, we have to check to see if it is a bearing wall in which case, additional framing is necessary. So, when buying a property, I factor the appropriate price and time into my original estimate. If I have to perform less work, then that’s cool and I get a larger paycheck, but I count on this “extra” work in my initial estimate.

In addition, I”m sure some of you guys watch house flipping shows on TV. I suppose a project can be that dramatic if you want it to be. But in reality, there is much less yelling and a lot fewer surprises.

Addressing the yelling and drama on TV: Most yelling or losing money on the renovation side in the real world comes from one of two things. Either material overages, or inadequate labor. (or just an ignorant moron buyer, but that’s a whole different topic.) Of course there are many other dangers and risks associated with buying and selling a house but I’ll address those later.

Materials risk: First off, if you’re relying on a contractor to supply your material you are either just getting started or you don’t know what you’re doing or you’re spending a lot more money than you have to. In short, you’re an amateur. In this business, I have always had credit and cash accounts with good suppliers where I get contractor pricing or better. You need things like this lined up in order to save money. If you buy much besides doors, lumber and cheap tile at home depot you’re wasting money. You can usually get cabinets, flooring, windows, and paint cheaper somewhere else. (And I do… usually much cheaper.)

Labor risk: You really have two options here. You can hire a contractor or you can hire employees. There are risks and benefits to both. Personally, I stay away from hiring contractors for larger projects if I can help it, but then, I know what I’m doing and I get better pricing if I pay a salary. I also know how to manage a project and make sure workers are working. If you haven’t done a project before, a good contractor can be a lifesaver and a bad one can turn your project from profitable to a nightmare.

Anyway, that’s enough for now. I’ll post a followup video in the next week or two when we have the house wrapped up. In that video, I’ll talk about the scope of work, material estimates and whatever else I feel like.

Take a look at the video and see what you think:

 

 

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One Comment
  1. melissa permalink

    Tim from Corinthian, thanks for the walk through. I am looking forward to the video updates of this project. I also appreciate the tips you shared in your write up.
    Merry Christmas!

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