Most Dreaded Word in Real Estate Investing
Updated: Mar 23, 2022
Want to know how I spent my week? Well, still at the beach for a few more weeks. But I got to do something new this week! Manage a kitchen reno from abroad!
Now, this isn't actually my first renovation from abroad. I also got to oversee a full apartment renovation...while on my Honeymoon! (Hubby just loved that! 🤦🏼♀)
Part of me, a very small part, wanted to hop on a plane and fly home to deal with this. Our tenant broke his lease and moved out so I need to get this thing flipped ASAP. My Type A Personality said I need to be there to control (ahem, micromanage) all that was going on.
But that sounded MISERABLE to me!
I want better systems to manage my time, not to find more things to waste on it! And I'd say this if I was in another country or if I was across the street! Maybe living abroad is not your goal. Maybe you are just looking for a little more time to spend with your family...or completely alone. That's okay too! Putting systems in place can only help you. The great thing about Real Estate Investing is that there is room for absolutely everybody and we can all benefit from implementing best practices.
But can anyone wrangle in Contractors?
YES!!! And if your strategy includes Buy and Holds or Flips, you are going to need to learn how to do this. Team Building and Relationships are essential to this business. You need to learn to work with other experts in their fields to accomplish your goals but we all know contractors are notoriously difficult.
It is only as difficult as you make it though!
Here are just a few tips of what I have done to successfully manage contractors from ANYWHERE:
1. Get Your Contractor on Speed Dial
And a handyman. Yup, that's right. You want to think about what projects in terms of what you are willing and able to do compared to what you want to outsource. Once you have that answer, think of projects in two smaller buckets. 1. What can my handyman do versus 2. What do I need a contractor for. For example, my handyman is my first call to have things fixed and for small projects that doesn't require licensing. My contractor is for bigger projects.
Now, how do I find them you ask? Referrals! There's no using the Yellow Pages here. Whether you are local or not, find workers that other people have used and can vouch for. Ask other local investors for recommendations by posting in Lady Landlords and joining our Monthly Virtual Networking Call. Also, join local community groups online to ask who people in that area are using. And then check and double check those references! I also tell them from the start that I am looking for my go to person and, as an investor, am looking to find someone that I can work with the long-term.
2. Document EVERYTHING!
Even the best of intentions can go downhill sometimes. One of the best ways to avoid that is to document your agreement and all the steps along the way. Make sure to have a full scope of the work laid out, timelines and how purchasing and transporting materials will occur. (Pro Tip: Negotiate what the cleanup after the work will look like too! 😉) One thing that makes my life much easier is having a Home Depot Pro Account. We have a credit card on file that our contractor can use when picking up supplies. Yesterday, I had a Pina Colada in one hand and, with the other, I approved my worker's purchases through a text message from Home Depot. No muss, no fuss! 🧉
3. Facetime is for Real!
I've actually rarely found a use for this app. I never use Facetime...except when I need to verify materials and check in on work progress. Facetime is only on iPhones, but Facebook and tons of other platforms allow for video calling. I sent my contractor pictures of all the materials I wanted used for the kitchen reno and he quickly Facetimed me to make sure I was happy with all the selections! We even had our contractor facetime us when we were on the other side of the world in the Maldives once so he could show us the day's progress! (Apparently, he was really proud of the new toilet he had installed that day! 🤦🏼♀️)
These little advancements in technology, Facebook groups for referrals, electronic payment approvals and video chat, can make any relationship with a contractor go smoother!