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The best way to estimate your repair costs.

January 16, 2011

After looking at my first few properties, I was always asking myself, “I wonder what it costs to get that fixed?”.   This is an easy thing to solve.  Get the lock box code to some banged up bank property (that won’t be hard).  Then call a few people to come out and quote you on what it costs to fix the various issues.  This will be quite an education and should not cost you a dime.  Ask lots of questions.  Notice the wide range in repair estimates.  Listen to them attentively – some will take the time to educate you.

You should also notice the repair quotes might get cheaper as you appear more aware of what it takes to get the problem fixed.  You will be smarter and contractors will not be able to take advantage of you as easy.  Do this over and over again. It’s time consuming, but it is a great way to improve your knowledge around what repairs will cost. 

This will also help you in negotiating prices.  There is a careful art to negotiating with contractors.  You want the cheapest price, but you don’t want to downplay the work involved or the quality that you expect.  If you beat them up too bad, they will not respond to your calls in the future.  Some are just too proud of their work.  They are just not hungry enough or already have enough work and just don’t want your job.  You want a contractor that understands rental property repairs.   

With experience, you will be able to walk into a property and estimate your total repair cost fairly accurately.  Getting bids on a property you don’t even own will help you gain this experience.  It should also help you fill your rolodex with help when you need it.

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