The Art of Flipping Houses – Part 8

The Art of Flipping Houses – Part 8

Demo or Recycle?

We know what demolition is, right? It is when we go into a home and beat the devil out of it so we can replace it with something new. Demolition is fun, and it sure helps you take out your frustrations. I would like, however, to say a few words about recycling.

There are organizations, such as ‘Habitat for Humanity’, that sure would appreciate your recyclables. Things like kitchen cabinets, or bathroom vanities, or anything else that is nevertheless in good working order. They accept doors, windows, paint that you may have left over, working appliances, or in any case. The proceeds from your gifts help those who would not be able to qualify for a home using traditional method. It’s an awesome thing that these people do, and deserve our help. Another great motive is that it is tax deductible, and we need all of those we can get. It is also a way to ease the burden on our landfills. Think Green is a fairly new slogan, but an old concept, that until recently has been ignored by many of us. We can help our ecosystem by recycling, and re-using many things in our flips that we would typically throw out.

Lumber is an expensive commodity, and although it is a replaceable resource, it takes years to do so, so if you can use it again, please do.

Contractor Relations

Whether you are going to be an ownercontractor or are going to hire a Contractor, this is a very important chapter. If you are the ownercontractor, you will nevertheless now and then need to sub-contract work. A subcontractor would be a tradesman, such as a plumber, or an electrician, that are licensed by the state to perform work in their given areas of skill. I have been very fortunate with most of the contractors I have dealt with. I’ve also worked with some real stinkers. These are the guys that give the industry a bad wrap. Treat your contractors like you like to be treated, with respect and dignity. You want a job done, and in most situations, your contractors will bend over backwards to see that everything is done correctly, and the job runs smoothly. You need to be up front with your contractors. Tell them what you need, and in what time frame. Tell them what you have budgeted for this particular job, but be realistic. You don’t want them to work for free, or for chump change, but you don’t want to buy his next Cadillac either. If you find a contractor that has the qualities you are looking for, keep him or her around. They can be highly useful to you.

Then there are the stinkers. These are the ones that don’t show up on time, or not at all. These are also the ones that can really blow a budget, and cause you great stress. There is a very simple solution when you find yourself working with an unprofessional contractor. Fire them. You don’t need to strip their dignity, or already get upset. Getting irate will only give you ulcers, and cause bad feelings. Do you need either?

Last year I was helping a gentleman remodel a house that he had purchased. He had grand visions, and was a lot of fun to work with. Three months before he found me, he had hired a guy, not a specialized, to help him with his renovation. He was on the road a lot, and wasn’t there most of the time to supervise the work. When things weren’t going in addition as he had expected, he found me by the agent he bought the home from, and that I had worked with before. The place was a nightmare! Jobs were started and not completed, and the jobs that were done, were done so badly that I had to tear it out and start over. This cost the poor man dearly. Most of the money, and all of the time that he had spent with this guy was gone. He had also hired a contractor to install a master bathroom for him, and to paint the exterior of the house. Bad luck again, as it seemed the contractor always had other places to be. It was amazing to me, but this went on for 2 months, until the owner had finally had enough, and fired him. The point here is, DON’T let yourself get into this situation. There are too many GOOD contractors out there. If your gut tells you that you want to give the guy a second chance, go with it, but you have to make it crystal clear that this will not be tolerated, but once again, with dignity and respect.

There are some contractors who will ask for money up front, “for materials”. WRONG!!!! How many times have you heard of people who paid up front, and never saw the contractor again? Sadly, this happens all of the time. All you do in this case is say, “I’m sorry, I don’t work like that”. There is an easy solution for this. Go to your local home improvement store. Go to the customer service counter, and tell them you’d like to open a pre-paid account. When your contractor goes to pick up materials, he just needs to tell them your name, and job number. If this “doesn’t work” for your contractor, then it is best to find one that it DOES work for. Another solution is to go yourself, and buy what your job requires. This is your ONLY sure fire protection against getting ripped off.

Contractors have protection under the law. It is called a “mechanic’s lien”. Simply put, if you do not pay your bill in the time stated, a contractor can shut the job down, which forbids access to the character. This includes YOU! Make sure that you pay your contractors exactly when you say you will.

Every state has a “Contractors Board” that is in business to protect you, the consumer. Each contractor is “supposed” to be licensed, insured, and bonded. Most are, but some aren’t. Many use old license numbers that have been revoked, which cancels their insurance, and bond. What is bad is that you can’t pick them out of a lineup. Any top notch contractor would rather cut off his right arm than to lose his license, bond, and insurance.

You can go online and check out a contractor by simply typing your state, and then “contractor’s state license board” in your browser. It will take you to your state’s board, where you can look at a contractor’s license, and to see if any complaints have been lodged. It’s there to protect consumers, in addition as the contractor’s themselves.

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