Money Pit Or Dream Home?

It’s a situation that’s incredibly common: you’re thinking about buying a property that needs work, but before putting in a bid, you’d like a reliable estimate on the renovations. But how to get such a bid, when the project is purely theoretical? (After all, you don’t even own the home yet!)

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Here’s our method for getting a contractor to invest in giving you a bid that’s far more accurate than a finger in the air.

Typically, when a contractor agrees to bid on a project for a property that has yet to be purchased, he’ll want to know: 1) how likely the client is to choose him if the project goes ahead, and 2) is the project likely to go ahead. These factors will help him figure out how much effort he can invest in providing an accurate bid.

Agree to restrict the bidding to only two contractors, and let both of them know it.

How can you put his mind at ease? Be transparent. Agree to restrict the bidding to only two contractors, and let both of them know it. This way, each one has a 50:50 chance of winning the project if it does indeed go ahead.

With regards to the second factor, let each of the two contractors know that your only major obstacle in purchasing the property is obtaining a clear and reliable estimate of renovation costs.

Be clear about both of these facts, and you’ll dramatically increase the chances that both contractors will provide realistic bids.

Contractors realize that even if you don’t wind up purchasing this particular property, you will buy another.

Keep in mind that many contractors realize that even if you don’t wind up purchasing this particular property, you will buy another.

Emphasizing the fact that you are in the market to buy now, and even more specifically that you’re in the market for a fixer-upper, will help get a contractor on your side as part of your property-buying team.