There is ENORMOUS value in making connections whenever and wherever you can. Thankfully, I've been able to meet great people in person and online by sharing my story.
A few days after closing on my property, an individual in Indianapolis offered to drive by my house, check it out, and send over photos. There was no way I could pass up on this opportunity. Thanks to Aaron in Indy, I got a detailed look at the state of my property, and see where it really stood pre-rehab:
First off, YIKES...this place looks a lot worse than I initially thought. And, broken windows to the basement?!?!? I was fuming/nervous/scared. Get MY property secure now!
Also, Google Street View is a great resource, but you're never going to see the real condition of a property. Please, please, please don't just rely on online photos. Get someone out there to send current photos. A good contractor will send photos, but if you're having trouble there, try the site: WeGoLook.com and pay someone.
Regarding renovation details, here is what I was told would be taken care of: roof repair, exterior paint, replace rear siding, new exterior doors, new gutter, soffit and fascia repair, clean and seal basement, electrical repairs and new 100 amp breaker, refinish hardwood floors, new vinyl kitchen floor, new furnace and duct work - Estimated $9,100 total.
Here are my follow up questions, that I'd recommend asking your contractor:
1. What is the expected start date and completion date of construction?
2. Can you provide both BEFORE and AFTER pictures of each item on the scope?
3. Please provide further details on each line item:
-Roof repairs: Are you patching or replacing?
-Exterior paint: does this include facia, soffit, windows, and doors? Are you sanding/priming? What color?
-Exterior doors: what quality doors are you putting in? are you changing the hardware?
-Gutters: are these galvanized?
-Vinyl floors: are you doing solid vinyl?
-Hardwood floors: are you doing a sealer coat? how many top coats?
-Furnace: what brand of furnace? is it high efficiency gas? how many BTUs?
4. What are the warranties on the work?
5. Does this contractor have insurance?
6. Do you sub out the work?
7. Are you installing new smoke alarms?
8. Does the garage need any work?
9. What appliances are in the house?
I sent them over a crap ton of questions, and probably was pretty annoying, but their response?
I hope you are enjoying the holiday season!
Your property has already begun construction and it typically takes about 6-8 weeks to completion, weather dependent of course.
I am gathering detailed answers to your questions from the crew and as soon as I have the answers I will forward to you. Thanks!
OK...I'm taken aback...they already started renovation?? Without telling me? WTF.
Very, very, very frustrating example of lack of communication. But, I guess bottom line...renovation should be complete in about 6-8 weeks, which takes us to the end of February/early March. I didn't receive answers to my specific questions, but right now, there's not much I can do. Renovation is in the hands of the contractors, but I urge you to GET A PROPERTY INSPECTION and GET THE FULL RENOVATION DETAILS!!! Don't let these two things slip.
-Network, network, network. You never know where someone might be willing to help you. I wasn't getting much response from the Turnkey Company on property photos (definitely not a good sign), which was very frustrating, but thankfully Aaron from Indianapolis was willing to drive by and provide amazing insight.
-Get confirmed timelines, push contractors on questions you have, after all, you're paying them for a service, and they need to follow through. Get a proper inspection and the full renovation details!
-What to do when there's a renovation period and you have some "down-time?" LEARN, LEARN, LEARN. Hop on blogs, listen to podcasts, meet people! I'm learning so much more AFTER I closed on my property than prior. It's crazy.