Big 3 Rehab Items for Investors in Houston

Real Estate’s Big 3 REHAB items in 2020

The Big 3 are the largest parts of a home that need to be considered—the foundation, the roof, and the HVAC system.

Knowing the state the big 3 are in is critical, since that tends to be what costs the most when you do your rehab.

When it comes to rehab, none of the big 3 make a difference as far as, “should you buy the property or not.” They just help you plan how much time and money you will put in the house. Determining that and you can determine the price  you should offer for the house.

1. Foundation

Real Estate Foundation

Photo courtesy of Generocity Foundation.

Foundations are either “slab foundations” or “pier and beam foundation.” There aren’t really any other kinds. Both are repairable. Slab foundations are fixed by what are called piers.

Piers are made up of 1’ cement cylinders that are put under the foundation and then they are pushed down by the house. Then more of the cylinders are added on top of it. Numerous cylinders are stacked on each other until the house can no longer push them down into the soil but instead the cylinders now push the house up. Most foundation companies charge based on the amount of piers needed.

Piers can go down 15-30’ but the price doesn’t usually change since the price is based on how many piers total.

2. The Roof

Most roofs in the greater Houston area are sloped roofs which have composite shingles on top of it. Roof shingles are made to last 30 years. The square footage of the roof, including the slope, is not the same square footage as the house. So if the square footage of the house is 2000 square feet the roof will actually be bigger than that due to the slope.

A roofer will have to measure it in order to determine what the square footage of the roof is.

Prices for roofs can vary which is usually based on how many of the large boards that are under the shingles need to be replaced as well as how good the shingles will be. Most roofs come with a warranty that’s transferable.

If the roof does not need to be replaced then it should be serviced by professional roofers. Professional roofers will make sure that all shingles are attached and not lifted plus they will also make sure that everything that needs sealant such as the chimney or vent pipes or anything else that pokes out through the roof is properly sealed in order to not allow any water penetration.

Of course if there are bigger problems, when the roofer comes out they can let you know what needs to be done.

Trees should also be moved away from the roof so that tree branches don’t scrape the roof in any way. A tree can grow quickly so if the day you buy the house you cut the branches do your rehab for 2 months and then it sits on the market for at least two months, that is a four-month window and branches could have grown to start scraping the shingles. My recommendation is to cut the branches back far enough so that in four to six months they are still not anywhere near scraping the roof of the house.

3. HVAC Systems

HVAC System RehabThe HVAC system controls the heating and the cooling of the temperature in the house. The system is made up of a condenser (the big fan outside the house), the blower (blows air through the ducts), the coils (what does the heating and cooling), and the ducts (which allow air to to the rooms).

Many times when people have their AC go out they think that the entire system is broken when in reality it might just be one of the pieces that is not working correctly. Sometimes they will decide to get a window unit and not use their system at all.

I recommend you have someone check out the system and then determine if it needs to be replaced or if just part of it needs to be replaced. For a one-story house I would imagine that replacing the entire HVAC system, every single part, would be about five to six thousand dollars.


So these are the big three. Foundation, roof, and the HVAC system. Many times you can use the condition of these to find a good deal. All can be very expensive to fix and most people don’t want to fix them. Nobody invites you over to look at their new foundation but if it were a new bathroom that’s another story.

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