This App Will Save You Money on Your Next Rehab

Posted on July 3, 2012 by

“We should not only use the brains we have, but all that we can borrow.”
Thomas Woodrow Wilson

Don DeRosaOne of the scariest things for new – and even experienced – investors is estimating the cost of repairs on a prospective investment property. If you’re off by even a little, it can cost you thousands in profits. If you’re off by a LOT, well, instead of walking away from the closing with a check for thousands, you might be bringing money to the table.

Finding a reliable contractor is a good first step. (Hint: go to your REIA meetings and network. Ask for recommendations. Interview several.) But the best way to know that you’ve got a good estimate is to become familiar with determining what repairs are needed and how much they cost.

Home Builder Pro Calcs AppSo where do you start? One of the best apps I’ve seen to guide you through this process is the Home Builder Pro Calcs app. (At press time, this app costs $4.99 on the App Store and can be used on the iPhone and iPad.)

This app does two important things for you. First it gives you an objective basis for your repair estimate as you walk through a seller’s house. Since people believe what they see in writing, you can easily explain to a seller the costs you’ll incur to get the house ready to sell. It adds to your credibility when you make an offer because the seller sees that you use objective tools to evaluate and analyze your deals.

Second, it helps you evaluate whether your contractor is making a fair profit or taking you for a ride. Now understand this: I am all for paying a good contractor a fair price for getting the job done right. If he’s good, I want my contractor to make a good living – I want him around to help me make a good living! But I don’t like it when I get an estimate for a roof that I know includes extra material that will be used in another job. This app helps me know when that’s happening.

I’ve been a full time investor since 2002, and have done literally hundreds of deals. So I’ve become really good at ‘ballpark’ estimating repairs. I’ve developed some tools and worksheets of my own that I use on my iPad to pull together my estimates of needed repairs. I get apples-to-apples quotes from my contractors because I specify in detail what I want.

This app enhances everything I’ve already got. It tells me exactly how much it will cost to get the job done. And whether you’re a new or a seasoned investor, this app really breaks it down and walks you through the detailed calculation. It’s not rocket science, but I guarantee it’s detailed enough to remind you of costs you haven’t considered.

For example, let’s say you’ve got a wall that needs to be replaced because you’ve had water damage and you need to take it down to the studs. You can easily calculate how much drywall you’ll need. But what about the ready mix, tape, joint compound, nails and screws? I, for one, have no idea how much I’d need. This app does! What if there are windows and doors. Shouldn’t you take that into account? This app does.

Or how about painting a 10′ by 12′ room that has two doors and four windows, with 9 ft. ceilings? This app quickly tells you how much paint you need for your walls, ceilings and trim. So you don’t overspend buying too much paint! (The savings from buying a pint, instead of a gallon of trim paint pays for this app several times over!)

There are so many other areas this app walks you through: calculating how much siding you need for an exterior wall; figuring the cost of concrete to re-do a section of driveway; how big a whole-house fan you need to effectively pull air through the house; or how much grass seed you need to grow an area of grass to make your exterior attractive. This app does it for you!

If you’re an investor, Home Builder Pro is a must-have app. At $4.99, it’s a bargain that will save you at least that much the very first time you use it.

Don DeRosaDon DeRosa is recognized as one of the nation’s top 21 real estate investors in the New York Times bestseller “The Millionaire Real Estate Investor”. Don, who is a full-time investor, trainer, and mentor, is the first to offer his complete investing system on a mobile platform. Don teaches investors how to Make More and Work Less by being more efficient, productive and competitive, leveraging mobile technology and apps on the iPad, iPhone, Android and other mobile devices.

Contact Don DeRosa

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