If you’ve been keeping up with my “I Bought a House!” series of posts (read Part 1 and Part 2), you’ll recall that in the last post I got estimates for repairs and then actually took the leap and bought the house. So far I’ve spent $43,693. Now it’s time to start getting some work done.
Windows and Gutters For The House
The first contractor I called was Jeff. His job was to replace the old inefficient windows and trim, fix the gutters and place gutter guards on the house. He had to order the windows custom made so they took a week or so to be delivered.
Once they came in, he had the windows installed and the gutter work done within just a couple of days. He and his crew did an awesome job and didn’t go over budget. Estimate: $2,680. Total actual cost: $2,680. So far things are on track.
“The Demolition Man”
During that time I also called Billy, the demolition contractor, to demolish and haul away the outbuilding that was crumbling behind the house. Out of three demo contractors I called, he was the only one that bothered to call me back. He assured me he was licensed and insured and said he’d provide me with proof of that.
His estimate was $2,000 for the total job, and from the research I had done I knew that was a good deal. Billy seemed to be a little rough around the edges and I was a little wary. But I had Googled his business and found nothing bad about him, so I told him he had the job. He told me he’d get started as soon as we signed the paperwork.
Demolition Was Quicker Than Expected
His wife faxed over a simple contract stating what he would do, how much he would do it for, and that he would hold me harmless from any injury that he might incur. He said his wife forgot to fax me his proof of license and insurance and that she would get it to me soon. I signed the papers and faxed them back as we were both anxious for him to get started ASAP.
The next day came and went, and the promised fax didn’t come. I planned on calling him the next day, but late that afternoon he called me from the backyard of the house. “Hey man, I got that building down for ya and hauled it away. I still gotta break up the concrete slab and get it out and then I’ll be done.”
Whoa, that was quicker than expected, and I still didn’t know for sure if he was licensed and insured.
Extra Demolition Expenses
I asked him about it again and he said he’d get it to me when he finished up the next day when we settled up. I still hadn’t given him any money at that point so he wasn’t getting anything until I was satisfied.
The next day Billy calls me around noon and tells me that the concrete slab that we thought was 2-3 inches thick and would be easy to remove was actually 10 inches thick. He’s going to have to rent a concrete saw and use a bulldozer, and (here it comes…) it’ll cost me an extra $500. I told him if that’s the case then that’s fair. He still hasn't been paid at this point, so I knew I had some power to negotiate if I found out he was not being honest.
The Demo Worked out Well
I still believed that I was getting a good deal on the price, even after the increase. Two days later he calls, “Hey man, I got that slab up and out of there. Come check it out and we’ll get this deal wrapped up. I wanna get paid today cuz I’m headed to Gatlinburg for the weekend”.
So later that day I met him at the house. The site looked good. Nothing was torn up, and he did what he said he would do. He did it even quicker than I thought he would. Overall I was satisfied.
I wrote him a check for $2,500 and he was on his way to Gatlinburg. I was so happy to have it finished that I forgot to get the copy of his insurance and contractor’s license that he promised. Oh well, no harm no foul.
The Funniest Thing I've Ever Seen
I said goodbye to Billy feeling like I had dodged a bullet. There was just something about that guy that I wasn’t sure about, but he did everything he said he was going to do (except for the insurance and license) and he did it well and he did it quickly.
As I drove away from the house, I got about half a mile down the road and I saw one of the funniest things I think I’ve ever seen.
On the side of the road there was my slab, in pieces, on top of a trailer with two broken axles and four flat tires! As it turned out, the slab actually was at least 10 inches thick.
I let out a huge laugh and a sigh of relief, realizing that that thing could have been sitting on my property instead. That trailer stayed in that spot for almost a month before it was finally moved. So I dodged a bullet with the demolition man.
I ended up paying more than the original estimate but I did get my money’s worth.
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Rehab Costs So Far
Estimate: $2,000 Total Cost: $2,500. Now I’m $500 over my estimated budget. Will I use Billy again? I’m not so sure. But I will think twice about it next time (if there is one).
So far I’ve spent a total of $48,873 on this, my first investment in real estate.
Next time I’ll tell you about my experience with my painting and decking contractors, and you’ll find out if my investment house project is staying on budget or spiraling out of control.
Read the next installment about this house, where I get started on painting the interior and rehabbing a weird looking deck.