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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/fuskie-you-wrote-having-just-completed-a-3-year-30473609.aspx

Subject:  Re: January ThyPeace Update Date:  1/8/2013  2:34 PM
Author:  joelcorley Number:  306661 of 309665

Fuskie,

You wrote, Having just completed a 3 year major renovation of my home, and having overrun my overrun padding through plumbing surprises, floor rot, electrical retiring, failed appliances and contractor deceit, I can tell you that it never ends up costing what you think it will cost.

WARNING: Slightly off-topic diversion follows...

Let me add my recent (relatively minor) renovation experience.

I just bought a new-to-me (town) home in the Seattle area. I put 20% down and had set aside about $19K toward improvements and repairs. The contractor bid $10.5K+tax on the improvements - the bulk of the labor just being a paint job - and I assumed from the inspection report that there might be another $3K in repairs, giving me nearly $4K in padding for surprises.

The improvements did not involve replacing the flooring; but I didn't like the existing carpeting ... and stripping the carpets would allow the contractor to spray the walls (smoother, cleaner finish) instead of roll and brush. Two weeks before I closed on the place I decided to replace it all with bamboo - which blew right through my budget of course, since it more than doubled the cost of the project. (It only added 2+ days to the schedule, so I moved the closing up a week.)

I seriously underestimated the scope of the repairs though. The inspector downplayed the issues I pointed out, so I assumed they were not serious. He was wrong; I was right and should have listened to myself. Turned out the repairs cost me about $8K. (The work not done by my contractor anyway.) And we both missed the leaky, improperly flashed skylights.

The contractor is finally wrapping up the work on the house (he's about 5 weeks late). I added a few more work items to the project which he's charging me for time and materials. (I might have added a day or two of work; but he's been dragging out completion.) All in, I think the General Contractor, Plumber, Landscaper, Roofer, Lowes, Home Depot, Lumber Liquidators and the Great State of Washington will have collected about $39K from me on this little project. So instead of spending $19K, I'm about $20K over my original budget.

None of these monetary budget overruns were my contractor's fault. Had I left well enough alone, I could have had everything done for just over the $19K I'd set aside. But of course I didn't know about the scope of the real problems with the house until I'd already committed to installing the new floors - which already had me digging into my remaining cash reserves. At least the contractor was pretty honest and stuck with his price commitments, though he could have done a better job with his time management. (If he did, I think his clients would