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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

House #9: Flipping Houses and Dealing With Contractors

The rehab on House #9 is coming along slowly but surely. Unfortunately the emphasis on that is on S-L-O-W-L-Y. There really hasn’t been any major problems to cause a delay…no repair surprises, materials delay, bad weather, budget problems…none of that. It just turns out to be one of those contractor-just-does-not-show-up-to-work cases!

This is unfortunate and a bit embarrassing to report here because you would think that by this point I should know better. No, they haven’t been perfect in the past and I don’t expect them to be but without a doubt they have dropped the ball on this one. What’s more troubling is their continued lack of regard for our contractually agreed upon schedule.
Because of their lack of explanation I have to assume my project is not necessarily a priority. But when all is said and done this is really my fault. I hired them and I allowed them to work at this pace, in other words I did not fire them.

I have reasons (excuses, too) as to why I did this. After all, the work they have done has been done right (most of the time). I also figure that at this point it might take longer to find and hire someone new. And since I am already running out of daylight hours to deal with this rehab (I can only do this on nights and weekends) I sucked it up…

As far as the rehab itself I would say we are about 80-85% complete with the entire project. You might want to review the scope of work and budget so you can see everything that needed to be done.

Our progress so far:
  • All exterior trim and siding repairs
  • new fence
  • extensive drywall repairs
  • rough plumbing
  • paint inside and out
  • new roof
  • new HVAC
  • replaced all doors
  • replaced deck footings and supports
  • installed hardwood floors on part of main level

Do you think this meets
code? Just kidding...
There were some items that I did not hire the contractor to do, basically because I could not afford to on the budget I have for this house. Those items I hired myself and managed myself and they are now done as of this last Saturday. They are, all cabinetry, countertops, all paint, fireplace repair, some landscaping, new windows and all final electrical finishing (fixtures, switches, outlets, etc.).

The tile surround for one of the showers got done last week and I am still waiting on GC (of course) to do the other shower, installations of sinks and final plumbing installations. Once they are done and out of the way I will install the carpet and do final punch out items, final cleaning and staging.

Needless to say there are lessons learned here for you and me. I will share those in the next post. But I am curious...what would you have done in my shoes or if you have had a similar experience dealing with contractors? Feel free to leave a comment below…                   

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  1. Luis, sorry you are going through a hard time on this one. Who are you using to make sure I don't make the same mistake? thanks,

    1. Doug, although I am not happy with the way they have worked the work they have actually done has been done right and I know from previous experience they can do good work. However, this being the internet and the fact that I really don't mean to hurt their business I cannot mention them here. What I can do is recommend who to use. Send me an email and I can give you referrals.

    2. Will do, thanks.

  2. Man that sucks, I know because I have had my fair shares of contractors that don't come through. Like you I have learned my lessons and there is some stuff you can let go and other stuff you can't. Did you give them a warning? What was their response?

    1. Nate, those are good points. I know I gave them plenty of guidance of what I wanted to have done and by when. I know this because I have extensive documentation and logs. Also, in more than one occasion we had verbally reached an agreement of what needed to be done and by when. But again, like I wrote this is my fault for letting the situation go on for too long until it escalated. In hindsight it might have been better to do a clean break early on when things started to go off track and have everyone go their own ways.

      Live and learn...

  3. Other than the contractual problems the house seems to be coming along nicely, good for you being able to navigate through this mess and still be able to pull off this rehab!

    1. Kate, thanks for the encouragement, much needed. It's not easy to rehab a house when you get these problems but I have to press forward regardless of obstacles. There is this quote from the Rocky Balboa movie that I just love:

      "You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! "

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