I fix and flip a lot of houses (over 130 to this point), and I have bought 19 rentals. One of the most often-asked questions I hear is how long does it take to remodel a house. This is a hard question to answer because every house and situation is different. A small remodel job could take a couple of weeks, while a big job could take 6 months or more. The contractor you use can also affect the timeline. If you decide to do the work yourself (like I have), that also can change the timeline a lot. There are no set guidelines on how long it takes to remodel a house, but hopefully I can give you an idea of what to expect.
The person or company completing the remodel has a huge affect on how long it takes
I remodeled a house myself about ten years ago. I replaced the windows, doors, kitchens, baths, flooring, fixtures, and even took out a wall. I thought doing all the work myself would be a great way to save money. In the end, I lost money because it took me so much longer than it would have taken a contractor. It took me three times as long to do the work, and I did not do the best work because I was learning on the job. In fact, it took me over 6 months, and I was working on it nonstop. I had my worst year ever as an agent and investor because I decided to do that work myself.
Count on it taking at least three times as long as you think it will. I hire contractors and subcontractors for every project now. It can still take time to repair a house, but it is much better than doing the work myself. On a typical job, it takes my contractors from 1 to 3 months to complete a remodel. That time varies based on the number of people on a crew, the work needed, and how many subcontractors I use. Some contractors are also much faster than others, and using a general contractor can slow down or speed up the process depending on many factors.
The video below shows me walking through two of my current flips and giving timelines for what it takes to repair them.
How can using a general contractor speed up or slow down a remodel job?
A general contractor (GC) manages remodel jobs by hiring subcontractors or using his own crew. A GC will schedule, figure out, and budget for all the work to be done. There are pros and cons to using a general contractor.
- They can save time if the homeowner does not want to manage the project.
- They have contacts for subcontractors to help with various parts of the project.
- They have experience budgeting and estimating the time it will take to do a job.
- They have experience handling any problems that come up on a job site.
- It costs more money to hire a GC because they charge for their oversight.
- It can take longer to use a GC if they want to use their own crew for all of the work.
- The more experienced a GC is, the more they can charge.
- Some people can claim to be a GC when they have no actual experience remodeling houses.
In my experience, using a general contractor can be a good idea for people who have never dealt with repairing houses. A GC can handle the entire process, but they will charge for it. I do not use general contractors because I can manage the project myself, and I have my own sub contractors I can use on the job. I also can get my remodeling jobs done more quickly by managing them myself. One of the biggest problems I have run into with general contractors is that they want their crew to do all the work because they make more money that way. If one crew is doing all the work, it can take longer than if you have subcontractors or specialists who work on:
While I have contractors working on installing kitchens, baths, doors, etc. I can have my sub contractors working on other items, which speeds up the process.
How long does it take me to remodel my flips or rentals?
The time it takes me to remodel my houses depends on the house and the crew working on them. I have some contracting crews with four guys on them, and other crews that just have one guy. I will contract out work, and I also have my own employees who do work for me. The time it takes to complete the jobs depends on many factors, but here are some examples of how long it has taken:
- On a recent flip, I replaced the kitchen, one bath, flooring, paint, backyard, fixtures, tore down a shed, replaced some trim, patched some holes, and made some other minor repairs. The crew had three guys on it, and it took them about 2 months. I would have hoped the work could be done in one month, but there were delays getting flooring in and a kitchen cabinet.
- I was able to complete another flip in 2 weeks, but it only needed paint, some flooring, a couple of windows replaced, kitchen counters, appliances, and a new furnace.
- On a bigger job, it can easily take 3 months or longer because problems always seem to pop up. I fixed up a manufactured house in the country recently that took 3 months to complete when we re-sided it, put on a new roof, replaced the HVAC, put in new doors, a new kitchen, new baths, new flooring, textured walls, worked on the garage, regraded a road, and did a lot of minor work too.
- I have also had jobs take 6 months or longer because the contractor quit on me or messed something up. A complete gut-job remodel took almost a year because my bookkeeper accidentally paid the contractor before he was done; it took three months to get him to finish the job because he had already been paid.
The number of people on the contracting crew, how well you can manage the subcontractors, and the project size all affect how long it takes to complete a remodel job.
How can you save time remodeling a house?
I have 21 flips going at the moment, and I also have a couple of rental properties we are working on. It takes a lot of time and management to get all of these properties repaired in a timely manner. I have a full-time project manager who helps me with everything. But if you are only doing one or two projects at a time, there are many things you can do to speed up the repair process:
- Never pay a subcontractor or contractor the full amount until all the work is done.
- Stop by the project frequently (once or twice per week) to make sure work is being done and being done right.
- Line up contractors and sub contractors well before the work needs to be done. Many people are very busy and cannot start work for weeks.
- Try not to take on a huge project when first starting out.
- Take your time hiring the right contractors.
- The more subcontractors you can use, the more money and time you will save.
Problems will always pop up. I always expect things to take longer than I think they will. If I think a job should take one month, I will count on six weeks. New issues pop up, contractors don’t work as fast as you think they will, or you may even have to fire a contractor.
Figuring out how long it takes to remodel a house can be tough. It is even tough for general contractors to estimate how long it will take, and that is their job. It all depends on the quality of the workers, the project, who is managing the project, and what problems pop up. If you are flipping houses, remodeling it is only part of the process.
If you are interested in learning more about flipping houses, I wrote a book that goes over everything I have learned over the last 15 plus years. It is available as a paperback, eBook, or audio book: Fix and Flip Your Way to Financial Freedom Finding, Financing, Repairing and Selling Investment Properties.