How to Realistically Estimate How Long Your Remodel Will Take

Smiling carpenter checking result of his work

Home remodels can be wildly unpredictable. Sometimes, problems that you don’t predict can appear as soon as you start ripping away flooring or tearing down walls. Everyone in a fix and flip situation wants to get the remodels done as quickly as possible. Here’s how to realistically estimate how long your remodel will take.

Of course, a large part of the time frame depends on the size of the space and level of updates the home needs. And if the plumbing or wiring has to be upgraded, replaced, or relocated, that significantly adds to the time.

Finding a contractor and getting them scheduled takes time, so we recommend working with a contractor you trust that you already have a relationship with if you’re not doing the work yourself. (Here’s how to “Find the Right Contractor for Your Fix and Flip Property”) You may also have to wait for your contractor to finish one job before they start another, so it might be a good idea to have two, or even three, contractors on your speed dial who you trust and know your situation, depending on how many flips you have in the process at one time.

If you’re doing the labor yourself, chances are the project will take longer than you expect. This is just due to personal obligations that come up, or the weather being uncooperative, or you needing to take a sick day. Depending on your capital situation, you may plan to start looking for your next project during this process as well, so consider how many hours a day (or week) you want to devote to finding the next fix and flip opportunity, as that will cut into your time actually doing the labor at your current project.

First, assess what needs to be done. Is the work strictly cosmetic? If you’re just replacing doors, painting, replacing light fixtures, and replacing carpets, a cosmetic rehab could take you three to four weeks.

If you have to get permits to renovate, and you’re tearing down walls to the studs and replacing everything with code work, it could take you 12 weeks. Weather plays a factor in your timing and the availability of materials as well.

Create your timeline by making a detailed list of what needs to be done.

Here’s an example:

  • Determine the scope of work and get rough estimates from sub-contractors
  • Apply for any needed permits and inspections
  • Demolish whatever is being replaced and remove it – hire removal or pay for dumpsters
  • Get schematics of your rooms that are having wiring work done.
  • Tape off areas you know you will be painting.
  • Install cabinets and fixtures.
  • Install doors before any carpet is going in.
  • Do finish work.

Your timeline may look like this:

  • Demolition: 1 week
  • Electrical and Plumbing: 1 week
  • Framing and Drywall: 1 1/2 weeks
  • Paint: 5 days
  • Doors and Windows: 3 days
  • Flooring: 1 week
  • Trim and finish work: 1 week

This is a best-case scenario timeline. Depending on contractor availability, some of this work may need to be done out of order or may be delayed. We always recommend painting before putting in flooring however.

Each time you embark on or complete a remodel, take notes and keep a detailed timeline. You’ll get better at estimating. And since so much depends on your situation and the size of the home, you’ll be able to go into each project with a clear picture of what it will entail and how long.

Keep reading Gorilla Capital’s Fix & Flip Blog for other tips on how to maximize your time and energy as a fix and flip operator. We have resources, including a loan program, to help you. Get in touch with us to find out more!