smalloldhouse_gw

A tale of two contractors: help me choose!

smalloldhouse_gw
12 days ago

We've been inching toward a reno/addition for a long time and need to make a decision on a contractor this week. Help me please!


Project involves adding a master suite above an existing addition, redoing 2 existing full baths, reconfiguring parts of the first floor, adding a fireplace, and replacing all windows and doors. High cost area, plans already done by a licensed architect. We'll move out for the duration. We got 4 bids, narrowed now to 2 options.


Option 1 is a firm that's worked with our architect regularly. I've seen their work, on Houzz and in the area, the work is so beautiful that I'd assumed they were too posh for us. Would take 6 months, they have multiple big projects at any given time, a lot of fancy custom homes. (Ours is not that, at all!) Bid was by far the lowest, $150k lower than the highest bid.


Option 2 is a firm that did our kitchen 6 years ago. The project had hiccups, but they addressed every issue and in the end, despite fixing a few additional small items around the house, the final cost was exactly what they had bid. They helped salvage a neighbor's reno after a bad initial contractor. They aren't perfect but they won't cheat us or lie. Time = 3 months, they only do one big reno at a time. (Most of their work is roofs, siding, windows, doors.) Bid is midway between high and low bids.


Time and trust argue for using our previous contractor; cost and relationship with the architect argue for the fancy firm. We're not remotely construction-savvy, although in either case the architect can be our ally. We just want this done right and with as few headaches as possible. Which would you choose?

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