Out of state investor needs rehab estimate

Asked by Jbasecki, San Jose, CA Mon Dec 5, 2011

What is the best way to estimate a rehab long distance? Do I rely on general contractors and ask them to bid on my proposed work? Could a licensed inspector look at bidding numbers and tell me if they are reasonable? My building (4-units) is not in the best area and I would like only minimal renovations. Will it be particularly difficult to find a willing contractor for a small job? Is there a way to make my project attractive enough to spark a working relation with a contractor? What is contractor's biggest incentive?

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Accurate Ins…, Other Pro, Chicago, IL
Tue Dec 6, 2011
You've got a few issues here. All of which can either be simple or difficult depending on how you approach them. Getting multiple bids from GC's and contractors is obviously one of the easier options. You can do this now and get the ball rolling. However, that may or may not work out so well. Each GC or Sub will likely bid the job the way he thinks works out best. Often times clients end up with a whole bunch of bids that are apples to oranges.
Your two basic options to deal with this dilemma are to either put out a detailed RFP or Bid sheet or hire someone (like an experienced inspector) to decipher the various bids on an apples to apples basis. Putting out a bid sheet helps minimize differences because you are telling the contractors what you want bids on. However someone has to put that Bid sheet together for each trade. Anyway you go there are costs involved. The upfront costs are however typically far less than the potential costs during the job due to poor pre-planning.
Another issue you will face is the difference between what you think ONLY needs to be done and what may HAVE to get done in order to satisfy City Code requirements. There can be a pretty big difference. Any permit will also have to address any outstanding violations on the building. When interviewing GC's make sure their license is up to date and they don't owe any parking tickets. Both can hold up your permit.
As far as getting contractors interested, that's not a problem. Work is slow, everyone contractor out there is looking for a winter project to settle into.
If you are going to do this from out of state, I highly recommend you absolutely have an uninterested 3rd handle your affairs in regards to the project. Whether its an attorney, architect or inspector is up to you. Who is going to verify work completion and pay out approvals, who is going to verify quality and compliance, who is going to verify sign-offs with City inspectors?
I don't know what your resources or situation are. I dealt with this situation many times over the years as the clean-up guy for projects that went awry. If you have the financial resources and basic knowledge to pull this off, great go for it. However if you are inexperienced and financial resources are tight, consider putting together a plan to sell the building as-is and be done with it.
If you hire the right guys you should be Ok. If you hire the wrong guys you'll really be screwed more than you can imagine.
Basic full rehab cost $100 sq ft general estimate
Ballpark trade costs for say a new electrical service, furnace or plumbing per unit are all easily attainable. Drywall, tile, floor sanding are all fairly easy numbers. The carpentry tends to vary more extensively
Hope that helps
Web Reference:  http://www.aic-chicago.com
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Daniel Mirea, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sun Oct 6, 2013
I Have couple of contractors can help you ! They are working with some of my investors!
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Janet Lloyd, Home Buyer, Evanston, IL
Tue Aug 6, 2013
I am involved with a Nationwide group of real estate investors. If interested, email me at: lloydsconsultinggroup@gmail.com Janet Lloyd
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Brian, Both Buyer And Seller, Chicago, IL
Mon Sep 3, 2012
Its pretty hard to develop a working relationship with a contractor you just met, it takes time, being a contractor all my life its very difficult for me to understand the quality of work that you would want on a project.... and what I mean by that is that a home in "not the best area" ( as you say) generally requires a different approach, i.e. a kitchen in Lincoln park is a different caliber than a kichen in Englewood, here at urb Inc. we can handle it either way and would be more than willing to meet your expectations http://www.urbchicago.com and give you a fair shake for your needs
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Bill J Delig…, Agent, Naperville, IL
Wed Dec 7, 2011
I would suggest you get a qualified contractor who not only knows how to do the work but is familiar with the labarynth of city codes and housing regulations.

For a good, honest and knowledgable contractor I would suggest:

Nick Psyhogios
(312) 437-9399
Web Reference:  http://www.BJDHOMES.com
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Jesse McGrath, Agent, Chicago, IL
Mon Dec 5, 2011
I have many different contractors that I could refer you to if you reach out and contact me. Also, I can help you determine if you will need permits or not as I am an experienced architect in the City of Chicago as well.
Jesse Mcgrath
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Marie Souza…, Agent, Centerville, MA
Mon Dec 5, 2011
Get 3 Bids for the job & get contractor referrals from your agent.

The Marie Souza Team - Top Selling on Cape Cod
Cape Cod Real Estate Services
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Philip Sencer, Agent, Chicago, IL
Mon Dec 5, 2011
If the rehab is even basic you will need to pull permits. It's not a simple process here in Chicago. Yes, an inspector could give you an unbiased 'estimate as to how much certain things might cost, but it would just be a ball park estimate. If you get estimates from 3-5 contractors I think that would give you the same results, but with an inspector you culd continue to consult with him/her during the process if needed.
My web site has some Inspectors I use for referrals.
Your definition of a small job might be different than various contractors. Money is what usually gets peoples attention.
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