03:14PM | 11/27/05
Member Since: 11/26/05
1 lifetime posts
I am a divorced woman who lives alone and I don't wish to be taken advantage of due to my ignorance.

I am going to be redoing the inside of my house, would like to knock down two walls, and totally remodel the existing bathroom and kitchen as well as creating a brand new laundry room out of a wasted space on my back porch.

At the same time I am replacing a 40 year old furnace and upgrading to gas.

I have taken out an equity loan to do this work and had a personal friend handling this project. Although he was not certified in HVAC he said he oculd put a new furnace in my home and water heater and remove the old one. He also started to rip out the bathroom. I found out a few weeks ago after giving him money a month before that he had not ordered any parts for the job (heat). Finally he showed up with a brochure for a much cheaper furnace then the one we had agreed upon.

Needless to say our friendship has been dissolved and I realize that he was taking advantage of my naiveity.

Do I have to pay some general contractor to make decisions and be a middle man or can I just find and screen these people on my own? How does one ensure that the price paid for a job is fair and reasonable? How does one ensure that the work done is done correctly?

I assume that it is suggested to go with permits even though they raise the taxed value of a home. This "friend" had told me that he would do all of the work without permits. I am glad that I found out that should he have done the work and a problem would not have been covered by my homeowner's, nor would they cover me if he or anyone working with him or for him had been injured working in my home.

Where should I start with this project and what is the natural progression of things? How much should I expect to pay for job completion?

I would appreciate any input.

Also how do you get people to even bid on jobs..all I am hearing is that people are too busy!!


Jenet C.


02:31PM | 02/27/07
Member Since: 02/23/07
9 lifetime posts
First off, I have learned never to pay for labor all of the labor until the job is done to your satisfaction. Materials is a good thing to volunteer to pay for up front. Preferably do the purchasing yourself.

Do some research, talk to friends for any recomendations or get some from your local hardware store, perhaps if it is simple jobs like painting, your church may have some youth that would like some summer jobs.

When interviewing prospective carpenters, plumbers or HVAC guys you should as for references or to see some of their finished products.

Ask lots of questions, an compare answers between different contractors. This should give you an idea of who knows what they're talking about and who you can trust. One make or break question would be "Do you have the tools/equipt. to do this work?"

Bids are just getting estimates from different contractors (plumber, carpenter, HVAC etc). When asking for an estimate, try to keep things standard, so you can compare apples to apples.

Hope that helps.
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