How Long Does it Take to Renovate a House?


How Long Does it Take to Renovate a House

You are ready to start flipping houses to make extra cash. You have financing lined up and you are looking for a home to buy. The contractor is lined up to help when you find a house. The question many people ask when flipping homes is how long does it take to renovate a house? The amount of time it takes depends on the amount of renovation and the size of the house.  You can average 2 to 3 months for cosmetic repairs where a full renovation can take 3 to 12 months.

We need to discuss the time it takes in more detail so we will review the different timelines and why some rehabs take longer than others.

Here is what we will discuss. The 3 types of renovations:

  • Cosmetic renovations
  • Medium renovation is more than cosmetic but less than full rehab
  • Full renovation

When you buy a home and have to get started on doing the rehab work. The work should fall into one of these three types of renovations.

Cosmetic renovations

You first start out in this business if you can find homes that just need cosmetic rehabbing than that is the way to go. These are the easiest for you to get your feet wet when starting in this business. What is involved in a cosmetic flip?

  • Less rehab work
  • You will do basics like painting, carpeting, drywall repairs
  • The structure and wall set up is good nothing to demo
  • The kitchen should be good maybe new countertops but you should not be replacing the whole kitchen for cosmetic
  • No basement issues
  • The roof should be good
  • Plumbing is good
  • Electrical is good

One of the items I say should be good if they are not in good shape and needs replaced it still may be cosmetic. The key is how many things need to be fixed to get the house back on the market. You need the house to look incredible and pass all inspections.

You can have many different combinations of issues that still make the work cosmetic. If you can have the contractor finish the work in a month or two then that should be a really simple cosmetic flip.

Gutting a kitchen, the bathroom, putting in new carpet, painting, replacing the furnace and adding a new roof is not really going to fall under cosmetic that is a lot of work and cost. Yet if I just paint, add a new roof and add new carpet, do landscaping this would be a cosmetic job. It all depends on the amount of work needed to determine how long the rehab will take.

Medium renovation

This is not cosmetic and no full rehab this will be in between both. You will have to do more repairs which will take longer and cost more. This is why you need to buy at the right price and make sure you have all rehab costs calculated before buying a distressed property.

What is involved in a medium renovation flip?

  • More rehab work than cosmetic
  • You will do like painting inside and out, carpeting, drywall repairs
  • The structure is good but you will have to move a few walls to open up space
  • The kitchen would need gutted and fully replaced or close to it
  • You may have a few basement issues or major issues like needing I-Beams
  • The roof may need to be replaced
  • Plumbing work like probably renovating bathrooms
  • Electrical may be good or panel may need to be updated
  • Landscaping will need to be done
  • Furnace replaced
  • The air conditioner may be replaced
  • The hot water tank may need to be replaced
  • If it has a pool you need to take it out or fix
  • New wood flooring kitchen
  • New flooring as apart of bathroom renovations
  • Gutters may need to be replaced
  • Windows may need to be replaced
  • A fireplace may need a makeover
  • Deck back of the house may need to be repaired
  • A driveway may need to be repaired or replaced
  • Subfloor replacement if issues
  • Rotted wood replaced

When doing a flip with medium renovations you will do some of these renovations above but not all. This is just a general list of some of the repairs that could come up.

There are other things that can come up during a renovation but these are the main ones.

You will have to do a bunch of different repairs for this type of rehab. This will not be a full rehab where you need to basically rehab the whole home but there is some major work that needs to be done.

This will take longer than cosmetic maybe 3 to 6 months to get all this work done. Then you have to stage and list the home for sale.

Major renovations

This is the big one where everything may need to be replaced or fixed. You better know what you are doing if you are going to do this type of renovation.

You should be a seasoned flipper to take on this project. If you are new I would stick with doing the cosmetic or a medium type of renovation.

If you do find a good deal on a house that needs major renovation maybe you can partner with a seasoned flipper. You can also lock it up and then wholesale it to a seasoned flipper

  • This will be major rehab
  • You will do like painting inside and outside, carpeting, drywall repairs
  • You will have to move a few walls to open up space and demo a lot of the house
  • The kitchen would need gutted and fully replaced or close to it
  • You may have a few basement issues or major issues like needing I-Beams
  • The roof will need to be replaced
  • Plumbing work will be needed like renovating bathrooms and kitchen
  • Electrical panel needs to be updated
  • Landscaping will need to be done
  • Furnace replaced
  • The air conditioner may be replaced
  • The hot water tank may need to be replaced
  • If it has a pool you need to take it out or fix
  • New wood flooring kitchen
  • New flooring as apart of bathroom renovations
  • Gutters need to be replaced
  • Most if not all windows need to be replaced
  • The fireplace may need a makeover
  • Deck back of the house may need to be repaired
  • A driveway may need to be repaired or replaced
  • Subfloor replacement if issues
  • Rotted wood replaced

When doing a flip with major renovations you will do almost all of these renovations above. This is just a general list of some of the repairs that could come up.

There are other things that can come up during a renovation but these are the main ones. This is a full rehab where you need to basically rehab the whole home.

Like we said earlier you better know what you are doing when buying a major rehab home.

There are other things that will affect how long a rehab job will take. Let’s go over some of the reasons.

  • Your contractors have other work so they are not able to commit workers full time
  • Coordination of the different contractor teams is difficult and may delay work
  • Unforeseen issues that were not planned in the original rehab budget. Termite damage or basement water issues that need to address this can all come up
  • Financials such as lender or investor is slow to release rehab money
  • Permits from the city are taking a long time or city does not sign off on work

These are just a few things that can come up so you need to be prepared for such things. The more contingency money you have the better.

You can also mitigate risk by buying homes as cheaply as possible. Check out the article we wrote What is the 70 Rule in Hose Flipping? This article reviews the price you should be buying homes when buying to flip.

Not flipping just renovating your own home

If you are just renovating your own home you will have the same issues as home flippers above. Everything starts with hiring the right contractor. Let’s look at a homeowner doing their own home renovations.

  • Get references for the contractor
  • Get an agreement in place on exactly the work needed and the cost
  • The contractor cannot change work unless change order is signed by the homeowner
  • Agreed upon price does not change unless change order is implemented
  • Have a penalty if project not completed on time
  • Plan for disruption in the home till work is done

This is some basic information on home renovations when the house is occupied. No matter if it is a flip or owner based renovations they can take time and cost a fortune. Make sure it is done right so you do not have to redo it or lose money.

This should help you understand how long a renovation project can take no matter if you are flipping homes or renovating your kitchen. The key is hiring the right contractors and making sure you have a good plan to get the job done quickly.

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