Real Estate Investing > Rehabbing, Fix and Flip, Rental Properties

Rehab of apartment building - estimating costs

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Hey guys...

I was a licensed remodeling contractor in MD for many years.

The $500 for the living room...  think a minute...that cost is to bring in a licensed and insured professional painting contractor in to paint a single room in your house.

There's probably a half a day to sand & prep - $125
full day - 1 coat prime and 2 coats finish - $250
materials - 3 gal paint & prmr & misc Mats - $90
O/H & P - ??

But you can easily see how the cost to you can quickly mount up to $500.  In fact in some areas that would be a bargin.  

The specs (and therefore the cost) for painting your living room will be much higher than for repainting the same sized room in a rental.  The books are geared to homeowners getting work done on their own homes.

Also, if you are going to use a gypsy contractor using undocumented laborers, then your costs will be much lower than the book.

Typically, if you give yourself a good guess for how much you think something is going to cost - then double it and add a little more and you'll probably be ok.   I'm serious.




If you're rehabbing a low income building or student housing, then you should expect that  the tenants will be VERY hard on the place.  THINK USED AND DISCOUNT!  I have several buildings like that and I try to minimize rehab costs to the max extent possible.  I buy used appliances from individuals and from used appliance shops.  The walls will suffer frequent holes from these tenants.  When they start to look bad, we texture (popcorn) them to hide the patches.   There are places that sell used and "scratch and dent" type windows and doors.  I also buy doors from other investors who take them out of their units.  As an example, a wood six panel door at Lowes is over $100.  I recently bought several wood doors in excellent condition from a court employee (approached me at the courthouse after an eviction) for $100 total.   Buy the cheapest carpet that you can find.  Lowes has some nice berber for about 45 cents a square foot.  Whatever you buy, the tenants will destroy it in no time.  

If you can't find used windows, Factory Direct in Columbus will build and install new double pane, tilt-in windows (including the capping for under $250 per window, if you do an entire building.  I think their number is 44-DIRECT, but I could be wrong.  Talk to Michael (the owner) and tell him you are an investor  -  (NO THAT IS NOT ME).  

Good Luck,


As you can see Paddington, it comes down to pricing out each and every material all the way down to nails and screws. If your putting up drywall (I'd probably just put the drywall over the plaster in your example), you need to know the cost of drywall per 4 X 8 sheet in varying thicknesses, how many tubes of construction adhesive you'll need per sq ft/yd, how many nails or screws you'll need per sq ft/yd, how many rolls of tape you'll need, how many buckets of mud you'll need per sq ft/yd, how many buckets of primer and paint you'll need per sq ft/yd. When you call in subcontractors to give you quotes, this is what the smart ones do. Typically it is then doubled to account for labor. Anymore and the price may be unreasonable. Even if you plan to do the some of the work yourself, I'd still recommend estimating your projects with outside labor included. For all you know you'll get in a car accident tomorrow and both of your arms and legs will be amputated and you'll be stuck with a building with a renovation budget 100% too low.

By all means, get the material for as cheap as you can in a low income building as Mike suggested. I keep storage units all over my state to stockpile on cheap materials when I can find them, but when doing a rough estimate, I still always use the "Agent Orange" (great name) and Lowe's material prices for a worse case scenario.

Sorry to bump the thread, but just wanted to say thanks for the assistance --

Some research revealed that this property itself might have some sticky legal problems with the city, and I think the project may be beyond my capabilities at the moment since I'm still new to  to this world.

Too many red flags, baby steps first, eh :)

Still looking though, just for something smaller to start out with.



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