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117 Siding and New Plumber

I started getting the siding on this week and have been interviewing new subcontractors for the 3 trades that will be next in line to rough-out the house. I love the historic style #117 wood siding, it gives my projects a real edge over the competition as most guys run HardiPlank on their additions. It cost a little more at about 45 cents a foot but well worth the price for my projects. Its always my goal also to find the best prices for any work that I have to hire out because it increases my net profit. A dollar saved is a dollar earned, right?  My DIY method of doing these rehabs does not involve hiring a general contractor who would tack at least 50%  profit right onto your cost but instead managing the subs personally and working right alongside them doing most of the work myself. This gives me the freedom to pick my own sub contractors and negotiate with them directly and pocket the savings.  As with many of the subs in the past, I started to experience “price creep” with my plumber on every house we did with him. With construction as slow as it is I cant justify paying a higher price for the same job so we give new hungry guys a shot.

Out of the 3 trades I always do the plumbing first, its hard pipe and cant move whereas the electrical and mechanical can work around anything. I accepted a bid from a plumber yesterday that I’m really excited about. He’s been is business over 25 years, does alot of new construction homes, comes highly recommended and has beat our last guys price substantially. We are getting a complete new plumbing system with “15 fixtures” including new pex supply lines all the way from the water meter,  new pvc drains all the way to the sewer and complete new black pipe hard gas lines from the gas meter throughout the house to 4 locations in order to qualify us for the “Smart Energy” title. Our local energy company CPS right now is really pushing awareness of using a combo of gas and electric to builders but we’ve of course always done this anyway. They designate your project a Smart Energy House, this combined with all the Energy Star appliances has been a real plus for our customers. His bid also includes supplying the hall bath tub and 50 gallon hot water heater. I am getting a 1 year warranty as well and he wont even let me touch the fixture installation to save money as he’s that concerned about his liability. The price is $5900 for the job where previously we were paying over $7000 and having to furnish the tub, heater and do the trim out myself so effectively I think I’ve shaved about $2000 of this one trade alone. I hope he works out, he is suppose to be all roughed in and topped out this week for an inspection.

The Neighbor’s House is under contract again as of last weekend. We are passed the home inspection and are expected to close at the end of the month. Additionally there is a back up offer in the lurch. I still will share all the juicy details from all the previous offers we received and deals that fell through but not until the sale closes. This house is incredible and someones going to be very happy to own it. What a great project and fun story!

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  1. 8 Comment(s)

  2. By Craig Fuhr on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    That’s a great price for re-plumbing an entire house. What part of the world are you in? Can’t wait until all that “energy regulation” stuff comes to my town. Can you feel my sarcasm?

  3. By Tom on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    haha. I am in Mexico, thats why the labor prices are so cheap. oops, I meant to say San Antonio.

  4. By Luis on Apr 18, 2010 | Reply

    Tom, you bring up a good point regarding hiring a GC. I have debated this a lot. I know that using a GC will obviously raise your rehab costs, but as the business owner you are, what is the opportunity cost that is lost by having you spend your time in the house overseeing sub contractors instead of out on the street finding the next deal?

    Just wondering what is your opinion on this…

  5. By Tom on Apr 18, 2010 | Reply


    This is the million dollar question!!! There are different methods of rehabbing and everyone chooses what works best for them, having a construction background pretty much determined my method. I’m not just managing subs, that would be easy to do and have several projects going simultaneosly. I am actually remodeling the whole house myself minus the licensed subs, its paying me real well to do them myself. The houses we are doing are also quite unique in nature, unlike other guys running around buying abundant HUD foreclosures or REO’s and doing cosmetic jobs. I choose the houses very carefully so there’s just not that many out there that meet our criterea and fit our business model. The more projects you are doing, the more risk you assume and for us it would require high hard money fees as well. In my opinion it ends up being a big wash to pay all those fees, take huge risk & watch your GC’s get rich just to make a little more. With my method I can just plug along with no more than 2 houses at a time, low stress and maximize my profits while having fun and listening to classic rock all day. I love what I do and actually enjoy remodeling so I guess for now at least I’m happy with my method. Now if I had a multi-million dollar credit line I might personally stop doing the tile and painting: ). Great question Luis!

  6. By Mark on Feb 21, 2011 | Reply

    could you tell me where you got the #117 siding, I need about one sq.


  7. By Tom on Feb 22, 2011 | Reply

    Mark- In San Antonio I use MG Building Materials as they have it in stock for .50 s.f. Other specialty lumber yards also have it in stock in Texas. Haven’t seen it at Home Depot or Lowes although if you go to the Pro Desk there they can order it in for you I’m told. Good luck!

  8. By George Moeller on Aug 13, 2012 | Reply

    I have had some trouble locating this siding. I live in NE Florida and have this siding on my old house. Are you aware of any lumber yards in the NE Florida/SE Georgia that carry this product?

  9. By Tom on Aug 14, 2012 | Reply

    I would go to your local lumber yard and special order it. Even Home Depot can special order it.

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