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The 6 Fundamental Stages of Any Major Rehab Project

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Properties that require Major rehabilitation You can make some real money. Over the years, I’ve learned that the worse a property is, the better it can usually be in transactions and profits. The reason these properties are so good is that there is so much work to do. They are a major business.

What does major mean? Usually these are properties that have experienced significant events that have caused widespread damage, such as fires and floods. Or they could be properties that have been vacant, destroyed, and unmaintained for years. In these projects, it’s not just about painting walls and changing carpets. Large-scale rehab can easily reach 6 digits and is often very complex and complex. They are not scheduled to end in a few weeks. Rather, there are several steps that need to be resolved.

In this post, I would like to go through these steps and outline what you, as an investor, need to do to see the project to completion. Even if you have a general contractor, it’s great if you can stay involved in the project, make decisions, and keep things going.

6 basic stages of major rehabilitation projects


The first task is to create a list of things you need to do.You can and should use Estimate from inspection checklist What we discussed before.. Do I need to upgrade / replace / install any of the major systems? Do you need to replace the windows? How about drywall and trim work? Do kitchens and baths need major upgrades? What about the floor — what do you cover it with? Would you like to add features to the outdoors such as decks, fences, driveways, etc.?

One thing to understand is that not all repairs and refurbishments can be done at once, and in fact they need to be done before anything else. First you need to deploy the main system. In many cases, it is wise to complete the electricity before plumbing, machinery, and HVAC. Before adding finishes such as drywall, woodwork, flooring, etc., all major systems need to be “roughened” or almost installed.

Ask your contractor how long it will take to complete these various tasks. Also ask them if they need something else from any of the other transactions to complete their work. For example, an HVAC installer may need a plumber to operate a natural gas line or a condensation line. You need to make sure that all of this is organized in a time schedule and have a timeline to complete it.

Related: A simple step-by-step guide to rehabilitating your first rental


Now is the time to update and improve your property to make it more attractive and up to date. This is when you need to think about open floor plans, larger baths, and larger and more convenient laundry areas. Now is the time to lay out a great kitchen or back deck. Increasing the lighting and space of all modern electronics is also very attractive. Don’t be afraid to move or remove one or two walls to open something or make the room more spacious and functional. You can also create additionals. This second step is often performed in combination with step 1. This is because you may need to relocate or upgrade your plumbing or electrical system.

System installation

Once you have organized your rehab project and laid out the basic design, you are ready to deploy the system. This means passing wires, pipes and ducts through the property. This is the most annoying step in the rehab process, where contractors can break things apart, puncture everything, or basically get in the way of each other. Introducing some of these systems can be very difficult, especially in older homes.

Make yourself available so that things don’t get in the way or get out of place. Many contractors don’t know what others are doing, even if you make them aware. For example, we asked the HVAC crew to install ducts and vents directly in front of the toilets where they sit and stand. They simply didn’t work, and they did it that way because it was the easiest way for them to install a vent. If I hadn’t been there to tell them to crawl underneath and move it, it would have been a problem later. This happens more often than you think.

Frame up

Once you have the system in place, you can assemble everything and put everything in order. Again, this is often not an easy task. Skills and art are required to finish drywall smoothly. A good drywall crew and a skilled carpenter are a must here. Be careful with trimming, as it can be difficult to assemble if you turn a corner, join another room, or cross a staircase or other woodwork. If it looks funky, peel it off and try again.

Add finish

This is probably the most important step in your project. It’s what people actually see and touch when renting or buying a property. Sure, you might have spent thousands of dollars on a new and improved electrical and plumbing system, but people generally don’t care about it. They care that the paint matches the countertop. This is where your sense and design skills come into play. The secret here is to harmonize all the finishes, colors and designs. And believe me, it’s not an easy task. There are literally hundreds of questions to answer.

Questions like:

  • What color should I paint?
  • How about the trim? Do all rooms need to be the same color?
  • What kind of bathroom, washbasin and mirror do I need to use?
  • How about sanitary equipment? Should they be polished chrome, brushed nickel or something else?
  • How about the lamp?
  • How about cupboards and counters?
  • Do the tiles and floor stains match?

As you can see, there are a lot of things to adjust together. This is generally not something that can be done or learned overnight.

To learn and get ideas, I like to check out various magazines such as Architectural Digest and Better Homes and Gardens to see the latest trends. You can also browse the large local supermarkets and ask for the most popular products. Use as many samples as possible. Hear from friends and contractors and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. After all, the paint can be repainted.


Put everything together

Ultimately, you need to complete everything together. This can be the most difficult step to actually do. Many people can start a project, but few can actually finish it. Now you really need to figure out things. Make sure everyone has the necessary parts and equipment, that the details aren’t overlooked, that the light actually has a light bulb, that the toilet is flushed, and that the doorbell is working. is needed.

Related: 4 Rehab materials that are always worth spending a little more
A major rehab project is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes it’s like a cat keeper. Before entering, understand that even the best plans will be curvilinear, and that some things must be learned through trial and error. Even the best contractors can make mistakes and get in the way of each other, and things can go wrong. General contractors can certainly help, but you need to make decisions, smooth the problem, and keep things in the right direction.

Keep in mind that all properties are unique and have unique issues. But when everything is in the end, it’s very rewarding to sit down and see the gems deformed from the rough.

Rehab: Are there any items to add to this list?

Let us know in the comments!

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