House 3: Rehab Estimate Received - And It's A Shocker!

Last night, I got a fax from the handyman with the quote for all the work I wanted done on the property. I was in for a shock - the quote was for $23,700! I was thinking more along the lines of $15,000. True, this quote includes everything (dumpster rental for the trash, all materials, etc.), but still, it seems a bit high. Other items on the quote included the condition that the cost be paid one-third at the start, another third at 2/3 completion (to be determined by the handyman), and the final third at completion. I'm ok with that. But it also states "Any and all change orders are due at the completion of each change order." That made me take a closer look at what he included on the quote compared with what I asked him to do. I did find some discrepancies:

- I asked that the car and shed in the back yard be removed. This may be included in his general "remove trash" item, but since they are large items, I want to be explicit that they are included.

- He did not list the removal of the door frame and folding door at the archway.

- He listed "replace 3 windows." I specified two plus making sure all windows in the converted carport room are the same. My pictures don't show the entire room, and I know there is at least one that needs to be replaced, maybe more. Just wanted that clarified.

- In the room that leads to the laundry room, there are cabinets I want taken down and, if the drywall underneath is good, wood paneling taken down.

- The fireplace needs to be refaced.

- A new toilet needs to be installed in the bathroom.

I think he just forgot to list these on his quote. There is an awful lot of stuff to be done and I did give him a print out of these items. However, I want to make sure this stuff is in writing to avoid any problems later on.

Because the estimate was much higher than I expected, I also pulled out the "Is this the best you can do?" line to see if he can lower his price a bit.

And finally, because I want to make sure this project proceeds quickly, I asked him to modify his estimate to include the following stipulations: "Specify a start date. The job will be completed 30 days from the start date. If the job is finished before that start date, I will pay him an additional $100 per day for each day prior to the completion date that the job is finished. For each day after 6 weeks from the start date that the job is not finished, the price will decrease by $100 per day." That gives him two weeks leeway to accommodate unexpected things that might crop up before he starts getting hit with a penalty. The 30 day length was what he told me he thought it would take.

I faxed this info to him last night, so we'll see what kind of response I get. He originally said he could start the middle of this week and I am hoping that is still the case.

FYI, this guy is a licensed contractor (my previous handyman was not) and he is licensed for both commercial and residential work. There are no complaints on record about him.

Just in case he doesn't want to do this, I am going to start looking for another person who can handle this rehab.

Also, once all this work is done, the only things left to do will be to replace the stove (about $200) and install new carpet (about $750 - $1,000). Luckily, I bought this property cheap enough that, even if I go with this guy and he doesn't lower his quote, I should still be able to make money.


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