Great advice for many common circumstances:
- Home buyers need to look at the practical first: condition of the property, location, commute time to work, schools, parking, lifestyle vs. floor plan, crime stats & sex offenders database, etc. You can always update your home as budgets allow. You can't change the neighborhood or the view so focus on what is out of your control first, because that is what you'll be living with permanently. The “pretty” (paint & flooring, etc.) is easily changed, crime, freeway noise or the neighboring condo directly opposite your living room window are permanent.
Fix-n-Flippers need to work on the red flag items from a certified inspector before they start installing the lipstick & makeup that dazzles buyers like granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and gardens. Yes, you are in business to make a profit, but not by selling unsafe homes (or homes where major issues are hidden under “band-aids”. That buyer is going to have an inspection that will reveal what you hide and stall or kill the deal-that costs you time & money that could be saved upfront by doing it right. Don't buy a rehab project that exceeds your budget. Which means you must have a plan and a budget before you buy your project house for “fix-n-flip” or “buy-n-hold” purposes.
- Homeowners need to “think from the outside in” when it comes to home maintenance, renovations and upgrade-priority lists. I see so many people do the “fun/pretty” projects, while neglecting the practical. Why renovate your kitchen when the skylight above it is about to leak or the roof is ready to cave in? How is your roof and drainage? Structure? Insulation? Windows & doors? How are your major systems like: plumbing, HVAC, electrical, etc.
- DIY-Measure twice, cut once: be practical about your DIY (do it yourself) projects means knowing what you can and can't do without professional help. I often work alongside my contractor, basically serving as his grunt, “go-fer” and apprentice, when I have a project beyond my skill, available time or craftsman level. Some projects, like electrical and plumbing, I don't even mess with...I hire a licensed professional. By they way: take the time to pull permits where required, it insures the project is done right the first time by the right professionals and you won’t have future concerns from your buyers/tenants when you resell or rent.
As a Realtor I see so many bad DIY projects. Expensive tiles with bad grout-lines or not level, granite with bad cuts, cabinets not level or with doors that can't open all the way, crown molding installed poorly; in general, new materials with poor installation, damage or worse...unsafe!
It's a money & time saver every time you do it right the first time! HGTV and other DIY & Real Estate channels are great sources of info and entertainment. But one 30-minute show and a couple articles on the internet do not qualify most for construction or real estate investing. Nor do they show you the real time and work that goes into running comps & CAP's (CAP rates) when buying a home, flipping a home, renting a home, etc.
Build a relationship with professionals and as my hero, Mike “Holmes on Homes” says; make it right the first time!