Ok, so I signed up for an account just to ask this question but I think I'll be regularly posting here because my husband and I love to DIY and we're taking on a problem with our basement and having the support would be wonderful! (The pregnancy forum I post on will appreciate not having anymore home renovation posts from me. lol)
So anyways. I need some advice on my current situation.
I called around to get some quotes for a 100k home renovation on my childhood home that my husband and I just moved in to. My grandmother was living here but it got to be too much house for her so she bought a new house (this is an important detail) and we moved in. I had numerous "estimators" come out then never show back up again. Finally, one guy, a person I trusted as he was the father of a high school friend, acted interested. He asked us our budget and told us he could do it for that on our first meeting.
Jump to now. My grandmother liked him when she met him so she wanted him to fix some of the problems on her new house quickly before starting on our house (something we were footing the bill for since she "living willed" us the house, we are covering all her closing costs, fix ups,etc.) Well this guy met with us to discuss what needed to be done at her house and I gave him the home inspection list. It was all pretty basic stuff: broken stovetop, new door seals needed, hot water heater too close to wall, water softner disconnected, etc. There were two bigger items: 2 standard sized windows in the front needed to be replaced and there was a tile bow in the kitchen from trapped moisture. He looked at it then again asked us what we were willing to spend (which in hindsight, I don't like this method. Seems shyster-y to me) and I told him 5k for everything on the list. He said he couldn't do that. I told him ok, well then how much for everything on the list except for the windows and tile bow? He said 2500. Keep in mind he WILL NOT write us a contract. We have asked on various occasions and he's always "working on it". With this small project with my grandma's we didn't stay on top of him bc it was something that needed to be done asap and of course he was working with us on the big project. Plus I figured...the guy isn't going to scam us if he wants this 100k job right!?
He spent a week at my grandma's new home doing NOTHING!!!!!!!!! Ok nothing is a bold statement but he literally stood around and talked to the painter, the carpet cleaner, anyone who would listen!
We went to check on him and he showed us all the "lightbulbs he had replaced"
I figured we weren't seeing the real work and in the end at the big reveal...obviously everything on the list would be done that we agreed upon. Well he shows up at our house one day and asked if he could be paid. I thought it was a bit abrupt being that he acted so nonchalant about when he'd be paid (I didn't realize that he was "done") but I gave him a check for $1700 as he requested. My husband and I had given him a $500 Lowes card to buy supplies as he needed them. So I did the math- thats $2200...he came in underbudget!
WRONG AGAIN! I called my grandmother and told her he was done and paid and she said: no he's not?! he hasn't done anything!?
She was right. Come to find out all he did was change lightbulbs, rescrew in a loose handrail down the stairs, (i'm not kidding here) cleaned a dirty sink, fixed 2 of the door seals that needed attention and added two missing bars in the closet. It was MAYBE 1/4 of the list (I still don't understand the lightbulb thing. he knows my husband and i are savvy...LIGHTBULBS!?). He also noted that he put in the cooktop (which we paid for separately) although Lowes told us they could install it for free since we bought it, but hes one of their installers!?
So my husband calls him (just letting you know my husband is a complete spineless push over but I'm a stay at home mom to be so I feel bad stepping in too much when he's footing the bill) and I'm not exactly sure all of what was said but basically he told my husband that the amount was correct and if he wanted the rest fixed he would have to "call people in" because he didn't do those things (um this wouldve been nice to know when you told us you could do the list for $2500).
So he calls in an electrician and then delivers us a bill for $400 who said it needed to be paid that day. He calls in a water softner company (to hook back up a water softner!?) and gives us a bill for $300.
If you're keeping tally thats up to $2900 for only HALF of the list done.
Heres the kicker. Today he comes over to install a granite counter top in our house (in a diy bathroom, not part of the "big" job but the only part we didnt want to do ourselves) and brings over an itemized receipt.
He lists: lightbulbs in all room, general cleaning, putting new rods in closets, tightening hardwares....FOR EACH ROOM to make it look like he did something.
THEN!!! He actually has the nerve to write "filled in holes in walls". Which was a SUPER SORE subject with my grandma. She hired a long time family friend as a painter for her house (that we have used MANY times. hes awesome) and our contractor was really bugging him. One day he said my guy said he was "bored" (yes. bored) and asked if he needed help "patching and filling holes" in the house. My painter...being the nice but dense guy he is said: Sure! The stuff is over here. Well my grandma was only paying for a half house paint. She liked the sage green that was all upstairs. Well my guy goes up and "patches" tiny nail holes on the green paint while the painter wasn't looking....making the WHOLE HOUSE to need to be painted now and incurring that cost.
THE GUY ACTUALLY PUT THAT IN BOLD AS ONE OF HIS MAIN PROJECTS THAT WARRANTED HIS PAYMENT!!! "PATCHED HOLES IN WALLS!!!!!!!!"
Seriously. I was beside myself livid. And back to our granite countertop. He measured it and went with us when we ordered it. $1500 custom cut top. It doesn't fit. He completely brushes it off as no fault of his own and says we could "patch it with some cheap white tiles". WHAT!?!?!?!? I flipped out and told him we were not hillbilles and we were spending good money on our home and wanted it handled that way. I'm pregnant and my blood pressure was so high I had to sit down...I thought I was going to explode.
So after he left I told my husband how I was feeling about essentially firing him before he's started our big job because his "audition" runs went TERRIBLY at his fault alone. I thought my husband would be hands down on board with me so my mouth hit the floor when he said "if you weren't so mad or adament, I'd probably proceed with him"
I couldn't believe it. He's putting getting rid of this guy on MY CONSCIENCE alone even though he's obviously snaking us for all we're worth and effing up our house (my childhood home that means the world to me) at the same time!
Any advice on what to say to my husband?? Or any thoughts on what has happened. I'm truly flabbergasted and stressed beyond belief.