Thursday, December 30, 2010

Coming to terms...

I have been trying to get our [one and only] bathroom clean for 5 days now...and everyday, for one reason or another, I never get around to it. So tonight, I told myself that I couldn't play on the internet until the girls were in bed and I got it clean. Well, it isn't clean...and here I am. (I SWEAR I'll do it right after this!)

So, if you remember from my previous post, contractor #2 promised us a ballpark bid today. I woke up with a skip in my step and a few butterflies in my stomach as I checked my email to see if it had arrived. Not yet. About 100 'email checks' later, it arrived. There it was...sitting in my inbox with the subject line "Home Bid." G to the U to the L to the P! I opened it...

SLAP IN THE FACE! Shocked, appalled, flabbergasted, almost EMBARRASSED to see how much we underestimated the costs. Now...let me back up a bit. As most of you know, Jeff and I are no strangers to home remodeling. On our last home, we completely gutted the house, added a 3 story addition and redid every single solitary surface, wall, floor, etc in the entire house. Not to mention we added 1000 square feet to the size of the house, added three bathrooms and two additional bedrooms. We general contracted that project on our own and swore after the blood, sweat and tears we put into that house, that we would never do it that way again.

That little tangent brings us to today...our first bid from a HIRED general contractor and wow is it EXPENSIVE to manage a project of this size (or at least contractor #2 sure thinks it is!) They broke the bid down into three separate bids as requested. Of course, Jeff and I had OUR own projections forecasted in our heads. At no point did we share our numbers with the contractors...wanting to hear their pitch first. Afterall, if we were high on our projections, we certainly didn't want them upcharging us to meet our numbers. Well, let me put it to you this way...the basement came in at MORE THAN DOUBLE what our projection was. The kitchen came in at EXACTLY double what we thought and the exterior came in at more than double what we thought.

Ahem, now...I'm no expert in home remodeling, but their total cost to do our kitchen, exterior and basement is MORE money than we spent completely gutting and adding a three story addition on to our last house. So exsqueeze me if I go ahead and cross contractor #2 right off my list.

I felt tired and defeated after reading through the bid. Not because I think we can't make this project happen within our budget (I KNOW we can...we've already done it once before)...however, I just wanted it to be easy this time. I wanted to have the plans drawn to perfection, have the bids come back right on target, the project to start without a hitch and be all wrapped up in a perfect little package come summer. But, what's the saying? Nothing easy is worth doing...something like that.

So after I kicked the dirt off my shoes and wiped the blood off my face (wow I'm getting dramatic here), I got back on the horn and called 'old trusty' (no, not our folding table in the dining room...but rather a contractor that we hired as a sub at our last house and who has done a lot of work in the Schaffer family). I told him the situation: we need you, we're desperate, people are trying to rob us...and wouldn't you know he responded just as I knew he would - 'I'll be right over' (not exactly, he's coming on Monday).

I could go on and on about the rest of the afternoon I spent calling more contractors to come over next week and throw us a ballpark number, calling Senor Swan to see if he could get his bid to us sooner, etc...but I won't. I'm just going to leave you with the fact that when it comes to home remodeling, you have to do your homework. In my battered brain tonight, I'm hoping the other estimates are going to come in at half the price - but in reality, I know that completing this project within our desired price range is going to mean rising to the occasion and doing what we have to do to make it work for us, which in this case, means getting out our tool belts.

This weeks' featured space will be the Master Bedroom. Will be needing your help on furniture and fabric selections.

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