Planning. Ah, one of my favorite activities.
We have a phrase in the Space Family: You need a plan to deviate from.
We are planning on an addition. We’ve talked about it since we moved in in 2003. We love the house, but it is dated and it is on a heavily wooded lot with a north facing. The South is wooded. We’ve added a solar tub to our North living room to get more sunshine and natural light in. I am considering another for our office/music room/guest room.
But back to the addition. We’ve worked with a friend who is an architect and we came up with some great plans for the house. We actually had hoped to do both projects together, but I am not comfortable with the cost of both projects together. We can afford it, but it would force us to tighten our budget and I am the type of person who doesn’t want to dip into the rainy day fund or run in the red unless there is a damn good reason. Building onto our house is NOT a good reason.
We are down to 3 builders. #1 I’ll call Frank. Frank seems really on top of things. He had looked at the plans and called the town before he gave a bid. He called Pella and asked for a quote based on the exact dimensions of the windows wanted. He wanted to do one more go around with the architects to add ventilation to two places and to fix the drainage. He is $10K higher than anyone else
#2 I’ll call Ted. Ted is coming Monday to give us a total break down of the job. He is $10K lower than Frank. He seems good, but I don’t want to go with my gut until I meet him. I will ask about adding the vents that Frank wants. I need to know about timing and costs.
#3 is Bill. Bill, well, he hasn’t inspired confidence in me. He came in with a very low bid at first for the entire job. For the addition only, he is $20K lower than Frank, but when we questioned the estimate for the windows (a good $5K less) it was clear he didn’t look at the size nor amount of windows we had in the plan. While he is cheaper, I question if the bill will be much higher and I do worry about the quality.
I am running the references now. I really like Frank, but if Ted inspires confidence, we may go with him. I don’t know. I kind of feel that we are stringing Bill along, but at the same point, I am not sure if I trust him. We’re talking alot of money here, so I don’t want to blow this.
Any ideas? Suggestions? How did you pick a contractor for a job?
ETA: We just got a quote for a modular for the addition. $30K less. Sigh.. Now to make these decisions… sigh