House flippers are often very busy, and saving time and money is usually important them. They should use all the tools and help available, whether this comes from other flippers, contractors, friends, or even computer software.
One way to do this is to find a good home renovation cost estimator spreadsheet program.
However, not all cost estimators are the same, and some might not be worth a house flipper’s time and expense.
Here are some important things to look for:
It Should NOT Be Free
There are many inexpensive or free software programs available to try on the internet. However, it’s worth paying a decent amount for a good home renovation cost estimator spreadsheet program if it is easy to use, includes enough detail to generate accurate cost estimates (most important), and saves time.
Any estimator program worth its salt should cover every possible part of a house renovation. It should be highly detailed with items such as the type of countertops, sinks, electrical connections, landscaping, roof, sewer connections, and more.
It Includes Space for More Items
A solid cost estimator spreadsheet should have a set of standard items that covers all the little parts of a house. But it should also give you the space to add your own items.
Looking at flipping a house with a shop in the back? What if you turn it into an office and add a second story for a guest house? Your cost estimation spreadsheet should allow room for this.
Things like quantities, units, labor/equipment, materials, demolition, concrete, masonry, roofing, doors, and many more should be included. The estimator tool should allow the user to enter these items manually by name if needed.
Just like any other good accounting software or spreadsheet program, it should be customizable based on the needs of the user.
Any software worth buying these days has video tutorials on the company’s website or embedded in the app itself.
If the software is popular, there should also be free tutorial videos available on YouTube and other video-sharing sites. Make sure the home renovation cost estimator spreadsheet has them, as tutorials make your job of learning the program that much easier.
A Pre-made Database of Renovation Cost Items
This is perhaps the most crucial part of a good renovation cost estimator spreadsheet. The point of spreadsheet tools is to save time, so if the one you’re looking at does not include a pre-made database of items, look elsewhere.
Cost Estimator Spreadsheet Reports
A well-formatted report makes it visually easy to make comparisons between sets of data and present cost projections to investors. Specific aspects of the property can be shown, which is necessary when there are many houses you’re considering to flip. Churning through raw data becomes overwhelming and convoluted to you and your investors. The house flipper should make sure the home renovation cost estimator spreadsheet they are using specifically allows for generating professional-looking reports.
Home Renovation Cost Estimates by Room
Each room in a house can have many items that need repair. Having all items on a single spreadsheet for an entire house can get very long. Also, estimating repairs for an entire home may not be necessary when only one or two rooms are driving the investment decision. Having a cost estimator tool that allows for estimating rehab costs for a single room is very helpful.
Drag and Drop Features
Modern software programs often have drag and drop features for moving items around. This can be very useful, especially when working on a tablet in the field.
Easy-to-Use Spreadsheet Interface
Nothing is worse than a home renovation cost estimator spreadsheet that is hard to navigate. Usually, this is due to a poor user interface design.
In the PC or Mac software marketplace, there are enough products to choose from that provide ease of use. Often powerful spreadsheets can be very difficult to use, making them impractical for day-to-day use. House flippers should remember they are in the business of buying and selling real estate, not learning advanced computer technology.
Other features to look for:
- Ability to add additional vendors
- Deal Analysis Tools
- Track Expenses and Profitability
What to AVOID in a House Renovation Estimator Spreadsheet
- Too expensive
- Limited items
- No graphs
- No pre-built items database
- Not user friendly
- Too many unnecessary bells and whistles
The worst case scenario for a house flipper is wasting lots of time and money making calculation errors or not considering all the items that need renovation until its too late.
A good home renovation cost estimator spreadsheet makes flipping houses faster and easier by providing a cost calculation framework and pre-configured information. This allows house flippers to be speedy AND accurate in analyzing properties and deals. The result is greater profit.
Learn about The Secret to Find Government Foreclosures to Flip for Profit here>
For more info on how to estimate costs to remodel a kitchen for a flip house, see this article from Bankrate