Monday, March 29, 2010

Front Porch Bids

Not my porch...not even close. Photo: Martha

(N.B. I'm having lots of formatting issues with Blogger today. I'm getting no new paragraphs so I'm tweaking in HTML.)

Two weeks ago, The Architects sent the plans for my porch addition/partial exterior renovation off to three contractors to get bids. Each of the contractors came by to see the project and two of the three bids have come in.

The first is about $21,000 higher than the budget I had set. Disappointing but not horrible. I had totally forgotten about painting the house so that extra cost is about half of the overage.

The second bid is $37,000 higher my budget. That's a big difference and that's a big problem.

The third has been promising since last Thursday that it's coming "tonight."

I got a little smug and told The Architects I was going to call a few companies and get a few of my own bids. That was four days ago and none of the contractors have returned my calls.

This is a big dose of reality.

So now I have to decide if the project gets put off or if I reduce the scope of the project.

Note to anyone thinking of buying an old house and renovating it: If at all possible, hire a contractor to look at the house and give you an idea what things might cost.


  1. Oh, the fun of renovations! First, I can say from being a Realtor for 10 years, I NEVER quote anything like that to a client - I always recommend a buyer get estimates from a contractor. I know house prices, not what the costs can add up to with renovations. And, I can't believe that all the contractors, especially with the economy, wouldn't love to have your business. Keep trying - get as many bids as possible but the lowest is not always the best. And...CHECK REFERENCES!!! :)
    I'm sure with warm weather on the way, you are anxious to get the porch done - coffee in the morning, a little wine in the evening and some fun chats with the neighborhood corner sales guy!
    No, I didn't get a new camera - had to hunt around for an old one.

  2. Yes Steve good advice. But I bought my old house out of pure love and nothing would have talked me out of it!


  3. Hope you find someone that can give you the right price and a great job! Amen on the issues with Blogger too! I've had problems for days. Oh well. Good luck, I love reading your blog!

  4. What to say, what to say...Mike and I have learned the hard way that things are way more expensive than you'd think. We learned this in motion while contractors were doing work on our house. But I think you're in a great position right now as work for contractors is sparse. Apparently, (according to NPR), bids are at an all time low! We missed the boat on that one! So I would most definitely seek other bids, absolutely. And this is off point but you know what I loved most about our contractor (who was wonderful), he was from Boston! Hearing his Boston accent made me feel as if we were working with an old friend. Trina

  5. I bought a 24 foot square, 2 story brick box, gutted it eliminated 2 of the 3 bedrooms and when finished it ended up on the front page of the Washington Post Sunday Real Estate Section.

    Tried 6 architects, gave them all up, hired a well referred contractor who quit 3/4 of the way through.

    I use the house as a rental, it is just way to beautiful to live in. I paid $400,000, upon completition the appraiser set the worth at $1,050,000. Total square footage 1450, one bedroom. Screw the expense - have fun. Ann