As you begin your own analysis for your next project, you of course first consider the cost, right? Even the most inexperienced real estate investor will tell you that. Then you determine how much you could sell the property for once the repairsbuying well constructed homes have been completed or how much rent you might be able to receive over time. And of course the cost of repairs is next on your agenda. But during your inspection, think of the Three Little Pigs.

Seriously. We all know the story by heart, right? I mean we can still imagine the cartoon where the big, bad wolf huffs and puffs and blows the houses down. But only two were obliterated by the hound’s ferocious air assault: the ones made from straw and wood. The brick one? Well, the wolf kinda quit on that one with his standard modus operandi and he eventually runs away. So how does the fable apply to rehabs? Buy the home built with solid materials and quality craftsmanship, forego the cheaply built homes.

Real estate agents call such properties having “good bones” which means they were constructed with longevity in mind. When looking at homes that are more than five years old, even homes right next door to one another can dramatic differences in construction quality.

And your inspection starts in the basement. If there is any sign of mold or a damp odor, that’s a sign there is seepage through the walls or up through the slab. Check the beams, are they in good shape or you can see a sag?

Take a look at the windows. Are they double or triple paned? Upon close inspection, if there is evidence of condensation or discoloration then there are leaks between the panes. Have your inspector take a look at the roof. If there are composition shingles, did the owners lay new shingles over old? If so, then the life of the “new” roof might have its effective age reduced by as much as half.

In the kitchen, pull out a drawer. Is the drawer made of pressed board or solid wood? Look at the studs in the house, how far apart are they? Well-built homes have studs closer together than poorly constructed homes. Take a gander at the sheetrock used, is it ½ or 5/8 inch? The thicker the better. And what about the doors, are they solid wood or formed?

When buying an investment property, the higher the quality of construction, the longer it will last and reducing your costs of maintenance. Remember, you want the brick house.