One of the most crucial team members to help you with successfully flip your properties is your contractor. He won’t be there for the sale, but he will be your main cost. Often the houses that you consider flipping need renovations far beyond what you thought initially. And believe me, it’s not easy to find a good contractor.
Professional Attitude & Other Non-Verbal Cues
This is a big one that is often forgotten. Though credentials are important, it’s not all you should be looking at when choosing a contractor. Non-verbal cues that show professionalism are equally important, and you should not miss those cues. You’re going to spend a lot of time with your contractor. So, think whether you’re comfortable with his methods, his communication skills and his attitude. Some key things to look at:
- Punctuality: To begin with, after the first meeting or the phone call, when you ask the contractor to send you a proposal or a bidding, look out how active he is in sending you those details. Is he punctual in sending you the document within, say, two days, or is he waiting for your second and third reminder call? Prompt communication is key when problems arise, and trust me, they always do.
- The ability to listen: This is one of the most underrated qualities required in a contractor. Not every client is clear about what they want, so a contractor is expected to listen patiently to them and articulate those requirements for an efficient work flow. Make sure that communication is clear between you and your contractor and that he’s willing to spend time understanding your requirements. If a contractor rushes through and presents you a proposal that lacks some important details, you have to think twice before hiring him. Also, make sure to have every little detail on paper. If you don’t, you might get into a “he said, she said” war later on with your contractor.
- Flexibility: Ensure your contractor incorporates some flexibility in case of unexpected contingencies. Even if there’s a timeline agreed to in the contract, you don’t want him to paint your gate when it’s raining outside. Look out for contractors who take flexibility into account when they’re talking to you and extend it into their written contract. If you can find someone who doesn’t nickel and dime you for every little overage that occurs, I think you might be on to a winner.
- Project management skills: A contractor is often required to do a number of jobs at the same time, from tile setting to painting to plumbing. He’ll have a team of workers who do the work according to his instructions. Make sure that he’s good at handling several tasks at one go. The best way to find out is by asking him a lot of questions about his previous projects, what hiccups he faced, his most challenging project and so on. Contractors in general like to talk a lot, and once they get started, understand what type of work they do, what type of clients they handle and how much time they require to flip a house similar to yours. While showing him the property to be repaired, get an estimate from him about the budget and the time requirements. You can compare these with the other prospective contractors.
If he’s unable to tell you about multiple experiences he had, it simply means he hasn’t handled many projects. That’s a red flag right there. Also, if possible, request your contractor to take you to one of his ongoing projects. This will give you a good idea of the quality of his work.
Flipping properties often requires a lot of repair work before you can sell for a profit. Quality and speed are the two most important considerations when flipping. Get a contractor who understands the value of these two and has a professional attitude. Do this, and you’ll have fewer surprises and higher profits.