12 Steps To Rehabbing a House
The Herculean Project of Rehabbing a House
Rehabbing a house can be daunting to someone doing it for the first time. To eliminate the feeling of intimidation, let’s tear down this massive piece of work into several smaller and manageable tasks.
Steps in Rehabbing a House
1. Assess the project and establish the specific jobs that needs to be done with your contractor. Ask your contractor for his ideas, then from there, set your final action plan on how to undertake the renovation project, particularly how to go about specific repairs. It is also in this stage when you decide whether or not to modify the basic layout of the house. To simplify things, have your contractor gather his own rehab team and discuss with them what has been agreed upon. It would be great to work with a reliable and experienced contractor who can give suggestions on how to finish the project faster or how to cut on costs without compromising quality.
2. Set a timetable with your contractor based on what you have discussed, and determine and buy the materials needed for the repairs. This will not just serve as guide on the sequence of tasks to do to finish the project, but is also done as compliance with one of the requirements of your lender.
3. Demolish and dispose everything that you will not be needing to make the property clear of debris and ready for rehab. You can arrange with a garbage collector to haul rubbish. Consider knocking down baths, kitchen, flooring, drop ceilings, paneling and others that could just impede the rehab project.
4. Fix the exterior. For security reasons, rehabbing a house must begin with fixing the exterior. Make the repair of the roof a priority to make sure that the interior of the house does not get wet with rain and other external elements. Also fix windows to protect the property and the materials and equipment it contains from vandalism, burglary and theft. Secure locks of doors leading outside, and consider replacing these locks. While you are at it, you can also have the cladding fixed. A presentable exterior allows you to start marketing the house even if its interior has not been done yet. Neighbors and other passers by will notice the newly-renovated exterior.
5. Fix plumbing, sewer, ventilation and electrical systems. Handling the plumbing job should come before hanging the sheet rock and the painting job to make sure to address leaky pipes that can just ruin the walls. If the HVAC system of the home needs to replaced, have an HVAC crew install a new system including a new central air conditioning system and gas furnace, while a plumber takes care of the pipes. Concurrently, you can also have the electrical system checked and upgraded, if it is the first time for the home to have the central air conditioning. Otherwise, there is not much you need to do with the electrical system.
6. Tackle framing and subfloor problems. Replace rotten wood and walls. Take note, however, that you should already have done tearing down and replacing a certain problematic wall which has plumbing or electric systems prior to addressing these systems in the previous step. This is also a good time to rehab the basement as a finished basement can sell a home.
7. Handle sheet rock or drywall. With all the principal systems done, you can now start with hanging and finishing sheet rock. This can take some time, but it can surely give your old home look like new.
8. Paint the walls. With the drywall completed, painting can be started by applying a coat of primer or a light initial coat of paint on the walls. Before applying two more coats of paint, have a sheet rock crew mend any imperfections first.
9. Install new kitchen and baths. Kitchen designers start this step by installing vinyl floors in the kitchen and baths. Then install the new vanity, toliet, cabinets, cupboards, and others. To make things easier for you and your contractor, you can ask Home Depot or Lowe’s to design the kitchen (depending on your target market). Just provide them with the necessary dimensions.
10. Wind the project up. In contractor’s jargon, this is the “punch out” stage, during which minute details like light fixtures, switch plates and outlets are taken care of. Since this is your first time to work with the contractor and your first rehab project, inspect the almost done job and make a punch list with your contractor. Make sure that you do not miss out any minute but important details.
11. Install the carpet. Carpet installation comes last so that the working crew will not damage the carpet.
12. Clean up the property from rehab debris and landscape the exterior. Cleaning the property is important to make the property more saleable. While others are cleaning up, a landscaping team must also be starting their job, that is, if you decide to include this.
With your first rehab project done, you are now ready to market the property. You can actually have done so even if it has not been completed yet, especially if it is in a hot neighborhood. If not, getting the project done first may be better. Just remember that even after you have a buyer ink the contract already, you may still be required to do some final repairs if these are decided on after inspection and appraisal.
To a newbie rehabber, rehabbing a house is a Herculean task. Hence, splitting up the entire project into several smaller tasks helps you to be systematic and to make the endeavor less-intimidating.
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