A real estate investor’s best friend: Their engineer

They say that things are never too bad if you’ve got your best friend by your side. For a real estate investor, that person is often their engineer. There are numerous challenges for the real estate investor. One of the biggest is analyzing properties and getting a good return on investment. That’s why you should make an engineer your best friend. The sooner they get involved, the better decisions you can make. This can save you time, money and headaches.

How an engineer can help real estate investors save money

A lot goes into deciding which properties are worth your investment dollars. An engineer may find those items that make an outwardly profitable property less so. Factors like how much it may take to develop the land, rehabbing an existing building and structural issues could cost major bucks that you weren’t planning to spend. Even the best looking properties can have hidden problems. Structural issues, drainage troubles and underground root growth are just a few of the issues that can eat up your investment and blow your budget. Having a qualified engineer walk through a property with you to point out potential problems can help you avoid making risky investment decisions. Finance is also a huge part of real estate investing and engineers are not afraid of math. As such, they might help you work through the numbers to manage costs, organize bids and make sure you are getting the best possible deal.

To be successful as a real estate investor, you need to build a team of qualified professionals with the right expertise to help you. The field of engineering is multifaceted and broad and there are numerous specialties you will need along the way. While you may hire a home inspector to look at potential properties before purchase, a better option could be a mechanical engineer. Home inspectors are typically more like general practitioners, looking for signs of possible troubles. These professionals usually recommend consulting an expert, like a mechanical engineer, for further review. It’s the equivalent of going to your primary physician for a check-up and then being referred to a specialist for a more complete observation and comprehensive tests.  

How an engineer can help real estate investors save money (cont)

Also of note, engineers can work on the problems they locate; many home inspectors are prevented from doing this. Engineers are able to conduct a more exhaustive, thorough evaluation of a property. You can find structural engineers to answer questions about the safety and durability of a property. For example, they can help determine if the roof can support a large HVAC unit or whether it’s possible to tear down walls. Software engineers can design programs that help you reach more customers and streamline processes. They can also be used to help you find investment opportunities. Everyone knows that smart real estate investing can be like looking for a polar bear in a snowstorm; in other words, finding those hidden gems that can bring in a big ROI. Those with a software engineering background are in the habit of using networks and creating systems to filter through lots of information and find what you need. If your investment involves disturbing the land in any way, you need a civil engineer. Some states or areas actually require a report signed and delivered by a civil engineer for even a 50 square foot disturbance. Civil engineers who specialize in land development can help with zoning ordinances, property impediments and any soil problems. They stay up to date on local, state and federal land regulations to help you avoid surprises. In addition, civil engineers have experience in construction, managing contracts and completing construction projects. This kind of familiarity with contractors, project management and building codes can be invaluable in the course of real estate investing. It can help with cost estimation, land development, overcoming obstacles and time management. Also, having this kind of knowledge at your fingertips may put you in a better position for negotiating and property analysis. Unknown issues could be lurking just below the topsoil of a property. Sometimes environmental engineers might be needed for site assessments or regulatory compliance help. Electrical engineers can be beneficial if you want to make major electrical distribution changes or for troubleshooting and repairs. Real estate investors can also benefit from the services of a project engineer. This is someone you can use to communicate with design teams, obtain permits, prepare estimates and write contracts. It’s also possible to partner with an engineer that has experience in fixing old homes or solving home improvement challenges. Who better to advise you on purchasing a home or building than someone who has actually built one? With this kind of assistance, you could gain more freedom to take on those investments others may pass up, giving you an increased range and more profitability.

How an engineer can help a real estate investor avoid headaches

Engineers often have a unique vision and way of thinking that helps them transform problems into opportunities. These mental tools and analysis skills translate well for the real estate industry. Engineering is about discovering how things work and finding solutions. Since real estate investing involves a multitude of problems, it’s helpful to have an engineer working alongside you so that when issues arise, you can rely on his keen eye for detail and problem-solving expertise. Purchasing a building or property is a painstaking and complicated process. You need someone with the patience and penchant for thoroughness that engineers have come to be known for. Engineers are also accustomed to being very project-focused and task-based. As a result, they know how to see a job through to its conclusion. The field of real estate investing can be tricky, uncertain and confusing. You need someone you can trust for sound advice to make the most of your investment dollars. Proper planning, financial management and the skills an engineer brings to the table are all vital for your success.