Don’t Set Unrealistic Expectations – Planning the Timeframe of House Renovations
Author Luke Oleenik serves as the Managing Director of XL Building, a trusted building company specializing in second story additions and custom home construction across Melbourne.
About the author: Luke Oleenik serves as the Managing Director of XL Building, a trusted building company specializing in second story additions and custom home construction across Melbourne.
If you are doing your first significant home renovation, you may be busy working out a budget, gathering inspiration, refining your scope, searching for teams who can make your vision come true, and assessing final cost breakdowns. All of this planning may require renovation-specific software or spreadsheets in order to keep the details organized.
However, one area many new real estate investors may not give enough attention is planning the renovation timeline. Often, estimates are complete and it may feel like everything is in order until the project starts, and you realize that the projections were off. Just like in any other construction project, a lot of things can go wrong. This can unfortunately result in being done with one phase of the job only to realize that you need to start on another phase that you didn’t account for.
At this point, you must be thinking that you will be fine since you have a great contractor on your side. However, some contractors who are not specialized in the type of project you’re working on or are less experienced in general may not paint the real picture of how long renovations take and may give you a shorter time frame than the reality. Learn how to find and vet a reliable contractor team that is right for your project in our guide to working with contractors.
Factors that impact renovation timeline
If you have adequate resources and a proper plan, it is possible to stick to your original renovation timeline. Budget for between two and six months for significant house flipping renovations such as upgrading the electric and plumbing systems. Other factors that determine how long a renovation will take include:
- Space. How large is the area that is being renovated? You may be renovating only a kitchen and bathrooms, but their size significantly affects the timeframe it will take you. A larger space requires more materials, more time to install them and more people to get the job done.
- Disruption. Some people renovate while they are living in the home, which slows down the progress since consideration is made for the people living there. If you have somewhere else to live during the flip, it will take much less time. If you are planning to live in the house during renovation, make sure that is permitted by your lender if you have one. For example, LendingHome does not allow you to live in the property being flipped, before, during or after renovation.
- Planning. When you are thinking of how long it takes to remodel a bathroom, it is best to do it in stages. This slow and steady method allows for small errors to be caught along the way, preventing them from compounding, and becoming large errors in the end. Once you are done with one step, you can move on confidently to the next. Plan out the different stages by considering the materials and tools you need. Assess how long it will take to prepare, install, clean-up and check each renovation project. If you are unsure of how to estimate different aspects during the planning phase, research similar renovation projects to your own and build from there. How well you have planned these stages will affect how long it takes to complete the job.
- DIY vs. Contractor. There is a lot of joy in doing your own renovations, in addition to potential cost savings if done right. However, it will likely not only take you a lot longer than if you hired an experienced team of contractors but could also result in mistakes,which will slow down progress and eat into your ROI.
- Availability of materials. Are the materials that you need for the job readily available? If not, do you have a plan on getting them on time for each phase of the project? Do your research by looking for good deals online as well as going into local hardware or renovation stores. Some materials are harder to find than others so make sure you plan ahead
- Cost. Renovations cost quite a lot. It is easy for a simple task like renovating a kitchen to cost you thousands of dollars, so ensure that you have your finances right before starting. Not having enough money may stall your progress and decrease your potential ROI which is why you should consider getting a hard money loan.
Taking the above factors into consideration, here are some estimates of how different long projects should take.
Kitchen and Bathroom
Depending on the size of the room and the type of upgrades (i.e. wood vs. stone counters, easy-to-find drawer handles vs. antique handles), expect renovations to take between four and ten weeks.
Basement and Attic
It takes about 3-10 weeks to finish a basement, but that estimate depends on whether it is a conversion or a whole remodeling. It may also take longer if major electrical upgrades are needed. Attics can take a lot longer, due to their inaccessibility; there are often problems of getting water and power up to the attic if it was not initially installed when the house was built.
Roofing and Siding
Roofing renovations due to leaks or upgraded aesthetics are fairly simple and take about one to two weeks. If your roof needs major work and has rot, it may require more time. The same timeline goes for siding. If there is a lot of damage and the entirety needs to be redone, then the timeline may be extended.
What helps reduce the renovation timeline?
- Researching: Once you have decided to flip a house, you should get as much information as possible about what you want to renovate. Estimate your approximate budget and establish a rough time frame of when you need to complete the project. The following resources may be beneficial during the research stage:
- Planning: Once you have a clear idea of what is involved from your research, draft the actual plan. You may need the help of a home renovation planner or general contractor to come up with a great program. For each area of the home, keep a detailed spreadsheet or document listing each step, which serves as our own DIY handbook.
- Preconstruction: Before you even get your team ready, obtain all relevant permits by checking the city and state renovation codes and acquire all the required construction materials. Not having a permit can significantly delay your project.
- Construction: Mostly affects how long it takes to renovate a house to completion. Ensure that you follow your plans but be flexible enough to make some allowances if needed.
Establishing a home remodel timeline is an essential part of your house flipping project. Do your research so that you are adequately prepared for the task ahead. Remember that finances are a necessary part of the process so consider getting a bridge loan, where you can get up to 100% rehab financing for your project.