Whether you’re buying a home to flip or just selling your current home, repairs will be needed to get it listing ready. The trick here lies in getting the home in the best shape possible, that is, maximizing its appearance while minimizing costs and staying within budget. And in order to do this, you will need, of course, to be able to estimate the repair costs. To help you out, here’s a brief guide on how to accurately estimate the repair costs of your house in Chicago.
Why You Need to Estimate the Repair Costs
A common mistake sellers make is inaccurately estimating the repair costs for their Chicago house. Whether sellers estimate these costs too high or too low, it’s usually (but not always) the result of ignorance and inexperience. “Either way,” the experts say, “you’re setting yourself up for . . . failure.” And here’s why . . .
“If you underestimate the costs of rehabbing a house, you’ll spend weeks rehabbing it, but you’ll find when you sell it that your profit will be far less than you expected. Conversely, if you overestimate the cost of a project, you might either make a bid that’s too low to be accepted by the seller or be beaten out of the deal by a rival investor who estimated costs correctly and was thus able to outbid you.”
Steps in Estimating Repair Costs
There are some standard steps you can take to accurately estimate the repair costs of your house in Chicago. These include assessing the following:
THE BASIC STRUCTURE
“If the building has major structural damage (i.e. dipping ceilings or obviously off-level floors), you should hire a structural engineer to examine the home and give you a conservative appraisal of how much it will cost to make it habitable. Structural engineers don’t come cheap – expect to spend $500 or more for this kind of service.” But regardless of the cost, you have to deal with first things first in order to get an accurate estimate.
The next step in estimating repair costs involves looking for common dangers. The inspection should find these, but that’s not always the case. So examine the house for these dangers:
- Lead-based paint
- Lead in the water from old plumbing
- Mold and mildew
- Hidden pests such as termites
- Hidden water damage
- Sewer or septic-system problems
TYPICAL INSPECTION POINTS
Next, be sure to carefully assess all the points a typical inspection covers. These aspects of your house must be in good shape. If not, they’ll need to be addressed and the repairs factored into your estimate.
- Exterior and interior walls
- Exterior concrete
- Electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems
- Windows and doors
- Trim and molding
- Kitchen and bathroom(s)
- Closets and other built-ins
In order the accurately estimate the repair costs, not only do you need to examine major and structural components of your Chicago house, but you’ll also need to consider the details and the things that enhance appearance. These include:
- Exterior and interior paint
- Fireplace and chimney
- Garage condition
- Appliance installation
- Deck and patio
Also, keep in mind that repair costs often go beyond the actual repairs themselves. These are things that contractors often don’t include in their bid, so be sure to consider the following for your estimate:
- Waste disposal
Expect the Unexpected
Also, be aware that if you want to accurately estimate the repair costs of your house in Chicago, you need to expect the unexpected. Costs may fluctuate, and some things may wind up costing less than you anticipated while others cost more.
Here’s a pertinent example from one home seller: “I can remember times when I thought an air conditioning unit might need replacing for $3,000–$4,000, only to happily learn that a simple $200 repair made it work like new.”
In addition, repairs can often take longer than expected (due to any number of unforeseen events such as inclement weather), and that adds to the cost of the repairs. “Since the more time you own a property before the re-sale, the higher your expenses like taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance become. The faster you get it done, the bigger your profit will be.”
Partner With Your Chicago Agent
Finally, accurately estimating repair costs is only part of the job. If you, like most of us, don’t have the skills and/or time to perform the repairs yourself, you’ll need to hire a contractor. But finding an experienced, qualified contractor is often much easier said than done.
Your Chicago agent can help here. Most agents have a broad network of other professionals they can call on, so your agent should be able to recommend a reputable contractor, one you can trust and who will do the work well. So when you estimate the repair costs of your house in Chicago and are ready to move on to making the repairs, contact us today at (630) 984-0000.