Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I Won the Job

It's been a bit over six months, and I finally got a reasonably complete bid put together for the house. It looks like I got the job--so we'll be contracting our own house. It didn't actually take six months to get the bid put together. We spent a bunch of time finishing up the final details on house projects and getting the house ready for sale. We put it on the market, received a good offer after about a month, accepted it, and the buyers backed out. Then we got another good offer, accepted it, and we're hoping to close in August.

We thought about starting construction and trying to time the sale of the existing house with the completion of the new one. This probably would have worked out well two or three years ago. But given the state of the real estate market, we decided to wait until we sold before we started the new one. It means we'll have to rent for a while, but it's safer from a money standpoint.

I got an initial set of quotes from suppliers and subcontractors late last year. From those quotes I was confident we could build the house on budget. I re-started the process of getting quotes about a month ago, and found that lumber prices are way down, but prices for cement, copper, and steel are up. So it's still a go--but it isn't any cheaper to build now than it was six months ago. My bid almost exactly matches our budget (imagine that).

How did my bid compare to those we got from the professionals? It turns out that the bids I got from builders were actually very reasonable. The only way I was able to bring it in on budget was to eliminate some of the labor costs: so right now it looks like I'll be doing the tile work, finish carpentry, structured wiring installation, painting & staining, and maybe wood floor installation. I tried to pick tasks that weren't on the critical path (because any work I do will become the critical path). Megan is doesn't want me to install the floors, but I'd rather spend that 5-7k on something else. The difference between my bid and the bids from contractors can be attributed mainly to the labor costs and a percentage charged by the contractor for profit/project management.

Since it looks like we'll be starting soon, I'll start writing more frequently about the project.