New real estate investors need to learn the lesson of boundaries. It can be hard to walk the line of being invested in your work, but removed. Healthy boundaries are important to doing well in real estate.

Once you’ve found a property you like, don’t jump. Learn how to properly inspect and improve! Find a quality professional inspector and get a written report. You are looking for properties that can be “lipsticked,” not rebuilt. I’ve made a ton of mistakes in real estate. But this list is what I follow and I think it will help you get focused on a property. Think about the house in these terms and you will set up the right boundaries.

  1. What to inspect: A property’s interior
    • Water damage. Check the roof and the plumbing to make sure nothing is damaged!
    • Lead-based paint. This will require treatment and a repaint, so be aware.
    • Windows. I once looked at a place with terrible windows. They wouldn’t open! Make sure to check if they are operational.
    • Appliances. Check for age and functionality.
    • Cabinets/Counters. Check for serious aesthetic injuries and calculate that into your cost.
    • Plumbing. Make sure to scope this out well. Check for leaks and flush toilets.
    • Electrical. Do all the plugs work? How is electrical paneling interior?
    • Heating/Cooling. Make sure this is working! This can be a pain to find out later.
  2. What to improve: A property’s interior
    • Remove all debris. This is the easy step!
    • Clean everything. Hire a thorough service, or if youŕe just beginning, get your friends involved!
    • Paint!!! This can be the best and quickest refresher. Stay neutral generally. Make sure to use a color palette, color board, and get a couple opinions on your choice. Take a look in your area and see what colors model homes are using!
    • New floors. Again, an amazing refresher. Find carpet and tile that fits your color board.
    • New bath and kitchen faucets. Often overlooked, but necessary. I saw a place that had poor bathroom faucets, and it caused all kinds of stains from leaking around the sink.
    • Refurbish or replace kitchen and bath cabinets. Cabinets show wear heavily. Make sure these are fresh, and the whole place will feel new!
  3. What to inspect: A property’s exterior
    • Roof. Is there life left? Look for sagging, discoloration, etc.
    • Chimney. I once looked at a property with 17 small chimneys that all needed replacement. Check them out!
    • Siding. What kind? Does it need covered or replaced?
    • Services. What is the setup here? Check sewer, water meter, electric panel and gas. Is it functional?
    • Foundation. Look for cracked slab that needs leveled and bad beams.
    • Termites. Such a pain. Look out.
    • Septic tanks. Make sure everything is working here.
  4. What to improve: A property’s exterior
    • Landscaping. Again if youŕe new, you can get your family to help here. Treat overgrown bushes, plant new flowers and lay fresh mulch.
    • Shutters. An easy rejuvenating touch for the outside appeal. Find a safe, but attractive color, and go with it.
    • Paint. Along with the shutters, treat trim, front door, garage door… If it can be livened up easily, liven it up.
    • New front door. Make sure no drafts are getting in.
    • New exterior trim lights. This will help the place sell again and again. Keep it bright.

Get critical when you look at properties! Don’t let yourself be suckered in by agents or your own heart. Look critically and be wise with your investments.

What is a big stop sign for you when it comes to looking at a property ? Scroll down and leave me a comment with your reply!

Come back next week for more blogs on Investing!