Estimating Rehab costs is one of the biggest challenges for new house flippers and even experienced rehabbers. You need an Estimating tool that can help you manage your estimate database and streamline the cost estimating process so you can create more accurate estimates in a fraction of the time.
In this article we will discuss the top estimating features you should look for in a Rehab Estimator tool as well as the other intangibles you should consider when choosing a house flipping software platform.
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#1 Estimator Functionality
Obviously, the most important aspect of selecting a house flipping software is the functionality and features that the software provides that can improve, organize and streamline your house flipping Obviously, the most important aspect of selecting a rehab estimator tool is the functionality and features that the estimator provides that can organize and streamline the estimating process for you and your business.
Here are the top 6 functionalities you should look for in a Rehab Estimator:
- Estimate Starter Templates & Pricing Databases
- Ability to Customize Categories, Descriptions, Pricing & Notes
- Ability to Save Templates for Future Projects
- Ability to Add Scope of Work Notes
- Ability to Create Estimate Reports & SOW Reports
- Ability to Track Your Actual Expenses Against Your Budget
Estimator Starter Templates
Estimate Starter Templates and pre-built cost databases are a must-have feature to help you quickly get started estimating costs for your rehab projects.
Building your own estimate cost databases from scratch can take days, if not weeks of research. There are hundreds of repairs and material prices you will need to research in order to create your own cost database and start estimating costs for your rehab projects.
FlipperForce comes pre-built with multiple Estimate Starter Templates that include 30+ Common Repair Categories and National Average pricing for over 500 common repairs to help you get started. FlipperForce even has pre-built Starter Templates for different types of projects including:
- Rehab Template by Category (Roofing, Siding, Windows, Drywall, Painting, etc.)
- Rehab Template by Rooms (Kitchen, Bathrooms, Bedrooms, Living, etc.)
- New Construction
- SOW Notes for creating written Scopes of Work for Contractors
Ability to Customize Categories, Descriptions, Prices & Notes
Although Starter Templates & Estimate Cost Databases can save you substantial time getting started, ultimately yo u still need the ability to customize YOUR estimate databases to fit YOUR specific rehab project needs.
Rehab costs can vary substantially from rehabber-to-rehabber, depending on the location, property size, property style, property age, grade of finishes/materials, level of craftsmanship and many other factors.
When choosing a Rehab Estimating software, it's important you have complete control over the cost databases so you can truly customize every aspect of the estimate to fit your specific rehab project needs.
Our Rehab Estimator Tool in FlipperForce allows you to easily customize your Estimate databases with:
- Easy Drag-and-Drop for moving and re-ordering Categories and Repairs
- Ability to add new Categories and Repairs
- Ability to edit repair descriptions
- Ability to edit labor and material prices to meet your local labor market & specific materials
- Ability to edit Scope of Work Notes
- Ability to upload material SKUs
Ability to Save Templates for Future Projects
Rehabbing and flipping houses is a very repetitive business. Although the Scope of Work may not be identical from house-to-house, for the most part, the repairs will be fairly similar.
Every time you start a new project you don't want to spend hours recreating new Estimates with new descriptions, quantities, prices, SOW notes & material SKU selections, when you've already created similar estimates on past projects. This is why it is so critical to be able to save your old Estimates as Templates that can be used for future projects!
FlipperForce allows you to save an unlimited amount of Estimates Templates in your account. As you start to work on different projects you could save different templates such as Cosmetic Rehab Template, Gut Rehab Template, Rental Grade Rehab Template, etc. Then whenever you work on a similar project in the future, you can simply load one of your saved Templates in a matter of minutes which will save you hours of time recreating estimates!
Ability to Add Scope of Work Notes
When you create an Estimate for your rehab projects, you are creating a detailed list of repairs and quantities that need to be completed on the project.
While you are spending all of this time creating your Estimate, you may as well use this data to help you create a detailed Scope of Work that can be given to your Contractors.
FlipperForce is unique in this regard, because we are the only software platform that allows you to create a detailed Scope of Work report directly from the Estimate data entered into the Estimator.
Our Repair Estimator Templates come pre-built with Scope of Work notes for each Repair Category which provide installation and material notes for the Contractor. These Scope of Work notes feed over to your Scope of Work report which can be shared, printed to PDF or exported to Word so you can share the document with your Contractors.
Checkout this video on our Scope of Work Notes Features 👇
Ability to Create Estimate & SOW Reports
When you get done with your Estimate you need the ability to share your Estimate or Scope of Work data with your Business Partners, Lenders & Contractors in a printer friendly report.
FlipperForce takes all of your data inputted into the Estimator and creates several professional reporting options including:
- Investment Packet
- Estimate Summary Report
- Detailed Estimate Reports
- Scope of Work Reports
Ability to Track Your Actual Expenses Against Your Budget
A solid rehab estimate is worthless if you don't effectively manage your budget and control costs.
Once you get a property under contract, it's important to track your actual repair expenses against your initial repair budget to forecast your project's profitability.
Without a project budget in-place, and a system to track your expenses you will have no idea if you are over or under budget on the project.
FlipperForce includes a budgeting and expense tracking component so you can track your actual costs against your initial budgets to forecast project profitability.
#2 Software Type
Now that you know the software features and functionality you need to manage your house flipping business, let's discuss the different options you have for implementing these systems:
Homemade Spreadsheets vs Estimating Software
There are 2 options you can use to manage your estimate database and estimate repair costs for your rehab projects:
- Estimating Software
If you are a Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets wizard and are comfortable writing formulas then building your own homemade spreadsheets may be a viable solution. Although spreadsheets require more work, they do offer additional customization capabilities that are not possible in most off the shelf estimating platforms.
Estimating Specific Softwares are specifically programmed and built for estimating Construction and Remodeling costs. Ideally, the right Estimating Software will provide all of the powerful software functionalities mentioned in the segment above that would render spreadsheets obsolete.
When I first started flipping houses I created a spreadsheet to help me estimate my rehab costs. A few thousand hours later I had developed a spreadsheet which is now called HouseFlippingSpreadsheet.com
The question you need to ask yourself is do you want to waste your time building a spreadsheet, or could your time be better served finding deals and building your house flipping business?
Generic Estimating Software vs Rehab Specific Estimating Software
If you are convinced that you should choose an Estimating Software over building your own home-made spreadsheet, the next thing your need to determine is if you should use a generic Construction or Remodel Estimating Software or use a Rehab or House Flipping Specific Estimating Software.
There are a wide range of generic Construction and Remodel Estimating Softwares available on the market. These generic Construction Estimating Softwares are specifically built for Commercial Contractors & Residential Contractors for creating estimate proposals for commercial construction projects, new home builds or residential remodels. These generic Estimating Softwares are often uber-expensive and don't have the estimating databases or functionalities that work for house flipping and rehabbing niche.
FlipperForce is tailored specifically for estimating repair costs for house flipping projects.
The software features and functionality are obviously the most important aspect of choosing a Rehab Estimating software, but there are other intangibles you need to consider such as software support, software training, the company's reputation and dedication to continuously improving their software platform.
#3 Software Support
The second most important thing to consider when choosing a estimating software is product support. Ultimately, you want to choose a software company and team that will be able to answer your questions in a timely manner.
- Do they provide multiple channels to ask questions (phone/chat/email)?
- Are they timely with their responses?
- Do they provide a knowledge base of FAQs?
- Who handles support? Do they outsource support to India or do they have in-house support?
I personally handle all support questions and am generally available between 8AM to 5PM Mon-Fri, but also respond to questions after hours and on weekends.
As the founder and creator I know everything there is to know about our software, so I can provide much more informed responses than outsourced support teams.
#4 Software Training & Tutorials
When choosing a rehab estimating software you need to have solid support, but you also need to have training and educational resources that can help you get the most out of the software.
- Does the software company provide video tutorials?
- Do they have case studies and examples of how to use the software?
At FlipperForce we are posting new Software Video Tutorials
and Case Studies every week that help you learn the powerful tools and features you can use to improve and streamline your house flipping business. In fact, all of our video tutorials are built directly into the 'User Guide' in our software so you can easily learn the software at your own pace.
#5 Educational Resources
Most of our competitors and real estate guru's charge thousands of dollars to get their 'secret systems' to learn how to flip houses.
We don't think you should have to pay to learn how to flip houses which is why we created a free, online, step-by-step curriculum on How To Flip House
s that you can use to learn how to be a better house flipper.
- Does the software company have other educational resources to help you learn how to be a better house flipper?
- Do they charge additional money for their educational resources?
#6 Continuous Improvement
When choosing a rehab estimating software you want to work with a company that is dedicated to continuously improving their software and provide transparency on the long-term vision of their software platform.
- Does the software company frequently add new features and functionality?
- Does they have a clear product road map for the future?
- What are their short-term goals for new features?
- What are their long-term vision for the development of the software?
At FlipperForce we are constantly working on building new features
and functionality to improve our software platform.
We want our development process to be as transparent as possible so we have created a Product Road Map
that displays the features we are currently developing and provides our long-term vision for our software platform.
When choosing a rehab estimating software you want your voice to be heard and be able to provide feedback and suggestions on new software features and functionality that will benefit you and your business.
- Does the software company provide an easy way to make feature suggestions & recommendations?
- Is the founder or development team easily accessible to collaborate and discuss ideas?
- Who is the decision maker that handles approving & developing features?
At FlipperForce we provide a Feature Suggestion
page that allows our users to make suggestions and up-vote suggestions that have been provided by other users.
We use our Feature Suggestion page to help us collaborate with our users on ideas for features and functionality and help plan our product road map for the future.
#8 Reviews & Reputation
The real estate industry is notorious for gurus selling get rich quick schemes and 'secret systems'. A lot of these gurus work together and cross-promote each other's products so they can take the most amount of your money as possible.
- What’s the company or founder's reputation? Do you even know who they are?
- Can you find information about the Founder on Linkedin or BiggerPockets?
- Does the founder or software company have bad reviews online (Google, Facebook, BBB, BiggerPockets, etc.)?
- Do they have authentic reviews verified by a 3rd Party?
- Are they a real estate guru selling get rich quick schemes & 'secrets'?
- Do they promote other real estate guru's get rich quick schemes & 'secrets'?
- Do they constantly bombard you with emails up-selling you on new 'investing secrets'?
- Do they have pictures on their website of people on the beach, fast cars and yachts?
The truth is flipping houses is hard and there are very real risks
that you won't succeed.
If a company tries to sell you on get rich quick strategies and lavish lifestyles and/or associate themselves with other real estate gurus, they likely don't have your best interests in mind. Ultimately, these guru's just want to take the most amount of money out of your pockets as possible for themselves and their guru buddies.
We are a fairly new software company so we don't have many reviews for FlipperForce yet...but I have been selling my House Flipping Spreadsheet
product online for 5+ years that has over 200+, 5 star reviews.
We take our reputation very seriously and stand behind the quality of our product & service. We aren't perfect, but admit our mistakes and strive to alway's do what's right!
#9 Company Values
Ultimately, you want to invest in a software platform and development team that has big dreams and visions for their platform that are committed to continuously improving their product and service.
You want a software platform that is committed to collaborating and working together with their users to build a platform that is truly built for the community, by the community.
You want a software platform that will be transparent about their development process and honest and willing to take accountability if/when they mistakes.
And above all, you just want to pick a software platform and team that you can trust and know will do what's right!
#10 Giving Back
NEXT: BENEFITS OF FLIPPING HOUSES
Although, FlipperForce is currently in Beta and pre-revenue we have already started Giving Back to our community and charities through our sister products (HouseFlippingSpreadsheet.com, RentalSheets.com, etc.).
We are excited to get FlipperForce launched so we can Give Back even more to the great charities and causes we support.Learn more about our Charitable Giving Program