Stephanie Kane's Blog
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Flipping a house successfully means keeping your ducks in a row during the rehab process--and that typically means communicating with several vendors to coordinate work, making sure everyone is on the same page, and dealing with delays when they (inevitably) occur. It's worth your while to build a project management strategy and skill set into your workflow, particularly if you aren't accustomed to managing multiple teams on a project.
1. Always Know What's Happening
When you get started on a project, you'll need a list of vendors (electricians, plumbers, landscapers, etc.) and a scope of work for each of them. In some cases, a general contractor will manage all of these for you; in others, you'll end up coordinating the different facets of the job yourself. Regardless of who's doing what, you need to know what your people are working on. Don't micromanage the people you've hired, do check in with your contractor often.
The best suggestion is requiring a report of who's on the job (general contractor, subs, other vendors) and what's getting accomplished each week. This keeps your contractor more accountable and keeps you informed of issues as they pop up.
2. Use a Project Management System
House flippers use a huge variety of different online tools and apps to keep them on track, and the one that works best for you will be the one you find easiest to use. Many have had great success with Podio, Basecamp, and Asana as well. Learning one of these systems (or establishing your own) and using it to keep you and your team on track will make a huge difference in keeping your project running smoothly.
3. Set Expectations Before You Begin
It sounds simple, but this is a big one. Before your contractors get started, talk them through your goals--in terms of timelines, budgets, and unforeseen issues that arise during the flipping process. Here are a few issues to address with your contractor before work even begins:
- What grade of materials and finishes do you expect to be used?
- What happens when it becomes clear something is going to cost more than expected?
- What subcontractors will your general contractor be hiring out? For what projects?
- Do you expect a weekly report of what's going to be accomplished that week? Will you be on-site each day for a walk-through? How will you stay on top of the project and answer any questions that come up?
Many excellent books have been written on managing a house flip, so don't take this to be an exhaustive list by any means. But it's a solid skeleton of a jumping-off point as you plan out the most efficient ways to manage your projects.
For first-time homebuyers, going from property buyer to property owner may seem virtually impossible. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of buying a home.
Now, let's take a look at three questions that every first-time homebuyer needs to consider:
1. What is my "dream" residence?
One first-time homebuyer's definition of a "dream" residence may differ from another's. As such, you should consider what you'd like to find in a dream house before you begin your real estate search.
Creating a checklist of "must-haves" and "wants" in your house often serves as a great starting point for first-time homebuyers. This checklist will enable homebuyers to consider what they'd like to find in a dream home and plan accordingly.
Also, it is important to establish realistic expectations before you kick off a home search.
Many terrific houses are available in cities and towns nationwide, but no home is likely to have every feature that you desire in a dream residence.
Therefore, if you establish realistic expectations for your home search, you can avoid potential let-downs as you explore a broad array of high-quality houses.
2. How will I pay for a home?
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is vital for a first-time homebuyer, and for good reason. With pre-approval for a mortgage, you'll know what you can afford to spend on a home before you enter the real estate market.
Many banks and credit unions are happy to meet with you to discuss your mortgage options. These lenders can outline the differences between adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages, help you assess your credit score and ensure you can make an informed mortgage decision.
Furthermore, lenders can answer any mortgage questions that you may have. They can help you evaluate your current financial situation and enable you to obtain a mortgage that won't force you to revamp your day-to-day budget.
3. How do I begin searching for a house?
Beginning a home search is easy, particularly for first-time homebuyers who work with expert real estate agents.
An expert real estate agent understands what it takes to find a wonderful house at a budget-friendly price. In fact, he or she will do everything possible to help you navigate the housing market quickly and effortlessly.
Typically, an expert real estate agent will keep you up to date about new homes as they become available, set up home showings and submit home offers on your behalf. This housing market professional also will offer honest, unbiased recommendations throughout the homebuying journey to help you select a house that matches or exceeds your expectations.
When it comes to exploring the housing market, there is no need to work alone. Fortunately, you can hire an expert real estate agent who can help you get the best results possible during the homebuying journey.
Want to acquire your first home? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can move one step closer to owning a top-notch house.
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While home ownership can be a very satisfying and rewarding experience, it does bring with it a new set of responsibilities and demands. Whether you're buying a brand new home or a fixer-upper, several things will have a major impact on your lifestyle.
One of them is the need is to personally handle or manage your own repairs, decorating, and home improvements. In many cases, you can (and should) hire a professional to do the actual work, but there are a lot of projects you can do more cost-effectively on your own.
The first one that comes to mind is interior painting. If you want to keep your home looking fresh, well maintained, and visually appealing, repainting your walls and ceilings every few years is a necessity. How often you need to break out the paint brushes, rollers, and drop cloths depends on several factors. For example, some rooms are subjected to more wear and tear than others. Bedroom walls, hallways, and bathrooms often seem to need the most attention, but kitchens, family rooms, and other areas of the home are usually not far behind.
If you've been noticing that one or more of your rooms are starting to look scuffed, faded, or dull, then it may be time to roll up your sleeves and give those walls a fresh coat of paint! It always makes a dramatic difference in the look and feel of that room, and it typically can be completed in less than a day -- especially if you team up with an energetic spouse, friend, or family member. If you're focused and organized, a room-painting project can often be completed by lunchtime. (Depending on who's providing the help, however, you might be expected to provide lunch!)
When procrastination is a problem, taking small steps will often help you gather momentum and keep moving forward on your painting project. An easy, but necessary first step is to pick out and bring home an assortment of color samples from your local hardware or paint store. Holding them up to your walls and seeing whether they complement existing furniture, flooring, and decorating schemes will help you choose a color you'll be satisfied with.
If you're not ready to tackle the project right away, you can still purchase the paint, rollers, and other supplies. Assuming you're not going to postpone the project indefinitely, you'll be a lot more likely to get started in the near future if the supplies are already in the house. You'll be streamlining the process and nudging yourself to get the job done soon by purchasing the painting supplies and having them close at hand.
While motivating yourself to do projects around the house may sometimes seem to be the biggest hurdle to clear, starting small and gaining momentum as you go is often an effective way to keep your home looking its best at all times!