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Old 08-31-2013, 01:08 PM  
planner101
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Default Little venting about a contractor's attitude

Hi guys,

Just wanted to do a little ranting and venting. Feel free to tell me in a NICE way that I'm being a lunatic,lol


Anyways, just got a home inspection done today.. there are some problems that should be fixed even for a REO, however, the bank knows we are financing and some of the things need to be fixed in order to close (due to being uninsurable).

That's not my gripe.

Well, the inspection showed us the guest bath has a window in the shower, and showed us that there is water damage(the wall was soft and moved when "pushed").

Also he said that the house has aluminum wiring. He said a few years back it was acceptable but now insurance companies won't insure the house unless the outlets and switches have been crimped(i think that's the term he used, I could be wrong).
I am leaning towards believing him because he didn't advertise or push any electrician down our throats. I even asked him, how do I find an electrician that does that type of job(apparently not all electricians are licensed to do so).. he said you just have to call around and see if they do it, and if they don't even know what you're talking about then move on to the next one.

Ok cool. Not annoyed yet... my dad knows a contractor that actually fixes REO homes for a living. So my dad decided to call his friend to get a bid for how much it would be to fix the wood damage and replace the tile in the shower stall.

All I can say is I can't believe my dad actually socializes with this trash bot.

He made all my questions and suggestions seem silly and frankly, I think it was too much.
The guest bath has original tile in it.. I already know just by the color I could never find again.. the shower has the tile and it goes half way up the wall in the rest of the bathroom.
I actually really like it, and asked if there was any possible way to salvage the shower tile. I would do the painstakingly tile salvaging myself. He literally laughed in my face and said no, there's no way. I even told him, you don't have to do it, I'll do it. Just tell me how. He said there was no way, and that if I wanted that tile he would charge me "A LOT" more.
OK, how is there "no way" for ME to salvage the tile but he could salvage it "for 'ALOT' more"?
Strike one for him.
He then kept saying why do you want to keep the tile "it's dated just replace it."
I said because I like it and I already have a design in my head that would work with the color. He just gave me one of those disgusted looks.. like a grimace.
Strike two.
There is also wall paper in the bathroom.. just half way up the walls.. not that much either. I DO know taking down wallpaper is a B***, and I could do it myself.. but I asked him how much does HE charge to take it down. Just for my own file in my head because I really don't know. He laughed again and said.. Oh I charge a lot. I charge "astronomical" just to take it down. This kinda sparked my curiosity even more.. so I was like well, how much is that.. I just want to know what that stuff usually cost. He said $400-$500. Yeah, that's insane.. I can totally do it myself.. I was just truly curious as to the price.
Strike 2.5,lol
Since, I had him there already I wanted to see about taking down a wall, what all that would entail. Now mind you, this guy I'm assuming is licensed since the banks use him. Well, he told me it would cost a lot(no DUH) because this and that.. again another NO DUH(been doing my research).
He said without permits it would be cheaper... if you want permits, it would be a lot more. I was shocked in my head. Why would I want to do something structural without a permit?
That's one thing I definitely won't do without a permit, is taking down a wall.
I only asked him because I wanted to see if I should even involve a contractor. My thoughts were to get a structural engineer and DIY with his plans.
He STILL wouldn't give me a price even after looking at the attic.
By this point my tolerance level with the trash bot was through the roof. I just blurted well then just tell me your most expensive project you've done(regarding taking a load bearing wall out).. he said 12... I was thinking in my head yeah, $1,200 that seems about right I would say... he then said I'm not talking about hundred either.
$12,000 to take out a load bearing way??!!! Wow... did it just run the whole length of the house and have like 5 stories?!
He said it was so expensive because he took out permits and those were expensive.

Maybe Im crazy and living in la-la land.. but I really thought permits for this type of work cost around $100-200? I know they range for the type of work you did... but I don't think it would cost more than that...idk. We live in Florida and the area we live in doesn't have many houses that have more than 2 stories. idk... I was annoyed by his attitude towards me and my questions.

BTW, he said quote my dad $750 to fix 2-3 studs of water damage, put concrete board up, do the shower fixtures, and re-tile just the shower stall. We buy the tile and fixture. That seems steep especially when my father in law and father knows how to do it. My dad just wanted to see how much because sometimes it's worth paying a couple hundred to save yourself time and stuff. Plus he's older and I've noticed the older people get the less patience they have for DIY things. lol


But that's it.. just annoyed and needed a little vent break.



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Old 08-31-2013, 01:34 PM  
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At least you got a good "pre-purchase" type inspection to point out the potential problems after you own it. Then it up to you to select what you want to do when you want. It is a general inspection to address future problems and fit it into your schedule. If you wanted a code inspection, it would have been more brutal and not allowed prioratizing costs and methods.

Many smart sellers find the toughest home inspectors around (most expensive also) to point out what and potential inspectors may find, but avoid any code inspections - with a home inspection, they pay for it and own the confidential report to use as they wish for preparation to sell.



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Old 08-31-2013, 02:59 PM  
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He is right about the tile, there will be very little to salvage, and if you could what happens when you loose two or three.
He is also right about a barring wall running up into the thousands when it requires new footing under the basement floor and the cost of the beam.
He is wrong when he says it is cheaper without permits, it's not the price of the permits that make a difference, it's the undersized beam, no load calculation and the possibllity of future repairs that you would be chancing.
It is really hard the estimate the repairs to the bathroom. It could very easily be more than it looks right now. You will likely find mold and dryrot that could include the floor and the exterior sheeting of the house. There are two contractors that would give you a fixed price on that repair. 1. the guy that will not go deep enough to make the house safe and sound. 2 The guy that will fix everything but intends to show you how bad it is after he opens it up so he can change the price.
You should do your own demo and get advice here on how bad it is and what needs to be fixed.
The wall paper in the bathroom, remove it yourself, if it's to much work remove the drywall and start over.
Aluminium wire can be fine, the probelm is that over time people have changed switches and outlets and added wire that are not rated for aluminium and all should be checked anyway.

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Old 08-31-2013, 03:05 PM  
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Planner, if you don't feel comfortable with what the guy told you, call somone else. If you don't have a good feeling before a project starts, it usually doesn't get any better. I've walked away from more than one job just because I thought the homeowner had expectations that no one could satisfy.

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Old 09-01-2013, 09:23 AM  
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nealtw gives good advice. Do you own demo and get it all ready for the contractor you get. And yes, they would charge you the going hourly rate for tile and wall paper removal - these are labor-intensive jobs whether you do them or the contractor does them, so you do them and save a lot of money. Then get a different contractor - the "no permits" suggestion is reason enough.

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Old 09-01-2013, 11:27 AM  
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If the house is old, the original tile might be set in a mud base up to 1" thick. You will destroy the old tile trying to get it out. It is not worth the contractor's time to do this --- and you would pay a fortune for him trying.

Wallpaper in a bathroom? As they say in NY: "Forget abour it!" In my mind (and I have done this), I would gut the bathroom entirely and start over with updated wiring, wallboard, Hardie backer in the shower with waterproof membrane, update the angle stops (water shut offs) and faucets.

The bearing wall? Get multiple opinions. Get plans and a permit. Why? If you make a serious, unpermitted structural change and something goes wrong your hone insurance might be invalid. Talk about a nightmare!

Sometimes, it is better to hire a pro ... Do what you can but leave the tough stuff to somebody who does this for a living.

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Old 09-02-2013, 02:53 AM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nealtw View Post
He is right about the tile, there will be very little to salvage, and if you could what happens when you loose two or three.
He is also right about a barring wall running up into the thousands when it requires new footing under the basement floor and the cost of the beam.
He is wrong when he says it is cheaper without permits, it's not the price of the permits that make a difference, it's the undersized beam, no load calculation and the possibllity of future repairs that you would be chancing.
It is really hard the estimate the repairs to the bathroom. It could very easily be more than it looks right now. You will likely find mold and dryrot that could include the floor and the exterior sheeting of the house. There are two contractors that would give you a fixed price on that repair. 1. the guy that will not go deep enough to make the house safe and sound. 2 The guy that will fix everything but intends to show you how bad it is after he opens it up so he can change the price.
You should do your own demo and get advice here on how bad it is and what needs to be fixed.
The wall paper in the bathroom, remove it yourself, if it's to much work remove the drywall and start over.
Aluminium wire can be fine, the probelm is that over time people have changed switches and outlets and added wire that are not rated for aluminium and all should be checked anyway.

I get what YOUR saying, but HE is just a turd. It's just annoying because he someone my dad knows on a personal basis. Not business level. And his attitude was just sucky.
He wasn't trying to say that the tile wouldn't buy salvagable... he was more so saying to get rid of it all(not just the tile restricted to the shower) because "it was dated." Its an avocado color.. but I like it. When I asked him about putting in a vanity that is a foot shorter than the one already there, he made a legitimate point about the tile on the wall and it would be akward. I said, Oh yeah, you're right.. but I would put in a tall cabinet that could hold towels. He gave me a look like I was stupid and said but the woods wouldn't match. I said, it could be painted to all match. He then said "Oh you're one of those" then I shot him a look and asked what that meant.. he said that I was one of those people that like to paint wood.
Who cares if I like to paint things to freshen up the look of things? I personally don't like oak.. but I don't go knocking people that like oak. I like darker woods or very light colored pine.
It was mostly his attitude and his reluctance to give prices when he was standing right there in the house, ya know? Needless to say, I will never call him again or even interact with him. He made some more snotty statements towards me.. to me, etc. Which I don't understand because Im always open to learning.

On a side note: He took a look at the attic and saw the trusses... and was talking about needing to cut them and alter them in order to put a beam in to take the wall out(in the kitchen).
I remembered you telling me "dont cut engineered trusses" and told him that I thought you weren't suppose to cut engineered trusses... again, he gave me a you-dont-know-anything speech about all roofs are engineered and the only way to put a beam in is to alter the trusses. At that point I just shook my head to get him to shut up and get out so we could leave.

***
Thanks for the suggestion of just removing the drywall just it probably wouldn't cost that much, and would probably be less aggravating then stripping wallpaper.

About the aluminum wiring, the inspector was just mostly concerned about home owners not wanting to insure the house because of it because he knows of some cases where they wouldn't insure the house. He said it was fine, just take proper care of it and do any additional wiring properly.
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Old 09-02-2013, 02:58 AM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldognewtrick View Post
Planner, if you don't feel comfortable with what the guy told you, call somone else. If you don't have a good feeling before a project starts, it usually doesn't get any better. I've walked away from more than one job just because I thought the homeowner had expectations that no one could satisfy.
Good advice.. that usually translates well into everything in life.

I think I have grounded expectations... just don't talk to me like I'm an idiot. Especially when he was talking about taking out a load bearing wall without permits which I NEVER said. I told him. NO, I WANT permits.
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Old 09-02-2013, 11:18 PM  
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I wasn't trying to get you to like the guy. The only reason you would need a beem under trusses is if the tusses actually drop some weight on the wall and if they are you still would not cut a truss you would put the beam below the trusses and it would show in the room below. A tri barring truss or a girder landing on that wall would indicate a lot of weight and the beam would have to be sized right and the new loads would have to be calculated for the footing under the basement floor.
Take some photos of the trusses above this wall and post them here.
Check the basement, most times the barring wall is built on a curb of concrete either level with the floor or just above level, I said most of the time it is still not a garrentee if no curb is visable.

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Old 09-03-2013, 10:48 AM  
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I've met this guy before...meaning that I have seen this tactic by many other contractors. This practice is done by plumbers, electricians and all other trades as a means to either kill the job or get the maximum dollar if you accept his proposal.
Sometimes they recommend unnecessary work, citing structure and code because they can hit you hard on cost for an easy fix, but will ignore the actual structural issues because they are harder to sell and actually require skilled work to avoid future liability.
It's a delicately balanced game, but usually turns out to be a win for the contractor and a loss for the customer.
It's already been established that a permit is a must. Most guys who recommend doing work without a permit are trying to cut corners and hide important details that could produce problems later. You can also judge the type of work by how he keeps his work vehicle.
Look at the dashboard and interior of the truck/van. If there are papers and envelopes and cigarette packs, etc. strewn about and it's a mess...well, that's how he works in your home. This may also be the same guy who says he will work every day on your house until the job is done and it will only be a one week job.
Next thing you know, 2 months have passed and you still have a mess in your house and he won't return your phone calls. This is the guy who always has an emergency that held up the job and you are sympathetic to the recent death of his 14th mother-in law.
This guy also needs a large down payment. In most cases, down payments are needed to cover initial expenses and it's perfectly acceptable to require them. It shows mutual trust and obligates him to do the work. Just watch out for the " I need another check earlier than expected, something came up and blah, blah, blah my finances are all screwed up because of this job and my truck and blah, blah."
This shows that the contractor is disorganized and financially irresponsible. Things do come up that cannot be predicted and may cost more money, but get something in writing that draws a line at a limit, holds the contractor responsible and guarantees completion. This will show the contractors experience and confidence in assessing the job properly.
A general contractor who "does it all" should also be looked at with a skeptical eye. If a GC explains higher costs because he calls in licensed trades for electrical, plumbing or HVAC, then he may be on the up-and-up. Ask for the trade company's names and find out if they are truly licensed. Expect handy-man work if he says he does it all himself. Safety and health can't be compromised for money.
Getting a timeline in writing is also important. Dates, daily start and finish times, etc. Get it all in writing. A good contractor shouldn't fear this as long as it is reasonable. Remember, in most states, a written contract supersedes any verbal agreements. Contractors have sudden cases of amnesia when things are not written down and signed/initialed.

Well, that's my



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