Learn How To Start Investing In Real Estate
Learn How To Start Investing In Real Estate

Why You Need A Step-By-Step House Rehab Checklist

Written by Paul Esajian

Key Takeaways

  • Sticking to a house rehab checklist will see to it that your next flip goes according to plan.
  • A property rehab checklist is capable of saving you both time and money, so make sure your next project uses one.
  • Before you even acquire your next deal, you should already have an idea as to what projects you want to complete on a subject property.

A carefully drafted house rehab checklist will see to it that your next deal goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible. If for nothing else, knowing exactly what your project entails will increase the chances of realizing success at a high level. However, a good house rehab checklist isn’t going to create itself. No, you need to mind due diligence and put the rubber to the road. If you want to maximize your results, I urge you to consider creating a rehab checklist of your own. That way, you are sure to get everything done on time

Property Rehab Checklist: The Basics

Completing a successful rehab is a wonderful thing, and nothing makes it easier than a house rehab checklist. Knowing that you can put a great finished product out there makes you want to do it again. Successful rehabs start with running the right numbers and doing the right work. It is easy to let the numbers get away from you if you are not careful. The best investors know what they need to do in the first five minutes of walking into a new property. Getting to this point takes time and experience. Whatever stage of the business you are in, you should develop a checklist for every new property.

Following this house rehab checklist will give you a good idea of how much you need to budget for. If you know where your money is going, you can make better offers.

The first two places that most people look when they walk into a house are the walls and the floors.

There are other important items with a rehab, but this should be your starting point. A fresh coat of paint on the walls, trim and ceilings can completely change the feel of a room. Instead of trying to make a statement through the colors, go with something neutral. The louder the colors are, the fewer people that will like them. You can add your personal touches to other areas. If the carpet is old, you need to have it cleaned or replaced. Having hardwood floors can be nice, but not if they are beat up. Consider getting them rebuffed or re-stained. Floors and walls are a large part of your budget, but they are important with buyers or renters.

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Rehab Checklist: The Kitchen

Kitchen Remodel Tips

The room that appeals to the largest amount of people is the kitchen. A large finished basement or toy room may be a cool feature, but it will not sell your house. The kitchen is the meeting point of the house and the room that can swing buyers in your favor. Stainless steel appliances and granite countertops are a nice touch, but not for every house. Keep your kitchen in line with the property and the neighborhood. The higher the price point of the house, the nicer the kitchen should be. You can still do great work, but extra touches will not give you the desired return in every market. New appliances, countertops, updated flooring, sinks and plumbing will be a large chunk of your kitchen budget. With the right work and touches, the kitchen can be the room that helps close the deal.

For more kitchen remodel tips, here are a few more ideas you should consider:

  • Today’s most prolific investors know it, and it’s about time you did, too: kitchens sell rehabs. That said, it’s in your best interest to use a large portion of your rehab budget on the kitchen – relatively, of course.
  • Open concepts are more popular than ever. If you are considering remodeling your own kitchen, see if there are any walls you can knock down (that aren’t load bearing) to connect the kitchen to the dining room. Doing so will create a more visually appealing and functional living space.
  • Try replacing outdated florescent lighting with brighter, less obtrusive options. Recessed lightng, for example, has a way of opening things up and looking more natural.
  • Depending on the price range of your home, it may be worth it to consider updating the countertops. Higher end homes should certainly receive the granite treatment, whereas lower priced homes may be able to get away with a cheaper alternative.

Real Estate Investor Repair Checklist: The Interior

With a proper home rehab checklist, you can see to it that your remodel not only meets, but also exceeds expectations. To properly rehab a home, however, you not only need to make good improvements, you need to make the right ones. Here’s a list of the most important interior projects you need to evaluate for yourself:

  • Paint: Check the painting and account for any damaged walls.
  • Hardwood: How does the floor look? Will you replace it or refinish it?
  • Kitchen: Includes cabinets, countertops, backsplash, plumbing, electrical, sink, garbage disposal, faucet and additional amenities.
  • Appliances: Includes refrigerator, range, range hood, dishwasher and microwave.
  • Bathroom: Include vanity, countertop, mirror, sink, faucet, tub, surround, shower, faucet kit, towel bar, fan, lighting, basic plumbing and electrical.
  • Framing: Includes new construction framing, framing changes, opening load barring walls and subfloor plywood.
  • Insulation: Wall, floor and attic insulation are all included.
  • Walls: Drywall, patchwork, tape, drywall mud and remove popcorn ceilings.
  • Doors And Trim: New interior doors with molding, trim and hardware.
  • Basement: Don’t forget about the basement.
  • Foundation: Make sure the foundation is solid and void of any issues.

Real Estate Investor Repair Checklist: The Exterior

No property rehab checklist is complete without addressing the exterior of a property. That said, here is a list of the most important items to look at when you attempt to rehab your own home:

  • Roof: Will you need to replace or repair the roof?
  • Gutters: Will you need to install new gutters or simply clean them out.
  • Siding: Are you going to repair the siding or change it altogether.
  • Masonry: Be sure to check the mason work around the chimney or any other brick and mortar work.
  • Painting: I recommend painting the home no matter what; it has a way of freshening any home up.
  • Windows: Replace windows if need be; they will make a huge difference int he final product.
  • Garage: Don’t forget to account for finishing the garage and the garage door.
  • Landscaping: A freshly landscaped yard can work wonders for curb appeal.
  • Concrete And Asphalt: Makes sure cracks in the foundation aren’t serious, and proceed to fix them.
  • Wooden Amenities: Don’t forget to check fences, pergolas and decks for any work they may need.
  • Septic: Not all homes have septic systems, but make sure you account for yours if you have one.
  • Pool: Pools can be tricky. If you are going to keep it, make sure it is a selling point and not an eyesore. If you aren’t going to keep it, you need to account for filling it in.

Curb Appeal Tips

Curb appeal tips can range from the utterly useless to the invaluable. However, here are three house rehab checklist tips nobody should ignore:

  • First Impressions Matter: Curb appeal represents your chance to make a good first impression. Don’t let it pass you by. Make sure your home puts its best foot forward by making it aesthetically appealing to the masses. That means addressing all of the exterior projects mentioned above in a way that makes your home a joy to look at.
  • Clean It Up: Spend time cleaning and maintaining your home’s front yard. Do your best to keep it free of clutter and debris.
  • Photos Are Just As Important: Nowadays, curb appeal isn’t only in person, but also online. Make sure your home makes a good first impression in online photos, as most buyers start their searches online.

The Ultimate House Flipping Repair Checklist

Most investors go into a rehab with a plan, but even more of them find that those plans change all the time. Instead of getting in and out in sixty days, the market may not be what they had hoped for. If this is the case, the rental market is always an option. The work you do for a rental may not be the same if you were looking for a buyer, but it should be in the ballpark. This means looking at the big picture and doing everything that needs to be done while you are working on the property. Little things like windows and roofs go a long way. These are big ticket items that don’t have the same sizzle as new countertops, but add much more value. They will put a dent in your budget, but you will get a return on your investment.

Rehabbing a property means looking at the entire picture. It is easy to overlook the exterior and think that you have done enough work inside. In reality, if the exterior is unappealing you will lose many would-be buyers. Buyers or renters make snap judgements when they pull up to the house. If the gutters are falling off or front door is old, they will immediately lose appeal. You will need to spend money on the exterior to give it that curb appeal that you need. New plants and mulch make the house look fresh and new. If there is chipped paint or rotting wood, it needs to be replaced and not just covered up. You cannot ignore the exterior of your rehabs.

The worst thing you can do with any rehab is do it half way. If you are under budget or run out of money, it will cause you to cut corners somewhere. This leads to a house that has a nice kitchen but the roof needs replacing. Before you make an offer, you need to know you have funds in place to do everything you want. In following a checklist, you focus on the work that is needed. Once you have real estimates for the work, you can begin to play around with your budget. Every property is different and has its own unique strengths. You never want to be caught off guard with an expense you should have known about before you started. There are ways to cut corners, but never at the expense of quality. With a property promoted as redone, buyers want to know it as soon as they walk in. If the work is poor or there are rooms that aren’t finished, they will move on to the next property.

If you overlook items with a rehab, it will come back to haunt you. Regardless of what level of experience you are, you need to have a system in place. Before you look at a property, have your checklist ready.

Do you have your own house rehab checklist? Perhaps you know of some equally important items that need to be addressed. Please feel free to let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments below.