Isn't this expensive?

Old 10-09-01, 12:01 PM
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My fathers house is a connected brownstone that had a garage which was converted to a small apartment space for my dad (I live upstairs in the main part of the house).....the total square footage is only about 450sq ft....we've just been getting quotes in queens , new york from contractors about ripping everything out and redoing the entire basement including putting in a new gas furnace, lighting, carpeting or whatever and for that little space we're getting quotes of $30, question is why? it's such a small place....any ideas as to what to do? I'm almost tempted to try some of it myself....but the carpeting stinks and I have no clue what might be's also getting cold....
Old 10-12-01, 05:41 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
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Basement remodel

You need to break the project down in to bite size pieces. Remember, how did the little mouse eat the big piece of cheese? One bite at a time.

You are getting cold? Get at least 3 estimates to address the heating/airconditioning situation. It is very important in basement environments to have adequate heating/AC and air ventilation because of mold/mildew problems in addition to comfort. If humidity/dampness is an issue, then that needs to be addressed by a different contractor. Call 3 HVAC companies for estimates and listen 'very carefully' re: what they have to say about what they are going to do re: heating/air conditioning. Get it in writing. The company you hire, you never pay the last installment on the contract until the work is done and you are satisfied. That is the rule when dealing with contractors.

Once you have the heating and A/C taken care of and you are not cold or hot and that's all paid for, then think about the remodel. Get 3 bids or more to tackle what you have in mind. Take notes on each person who comes to your home about what they are planning to do and what they think. Pick their brains and write it down. You may go through 6 or 7 or more. Take notes. It has been my experience they will come to the job site and walk around like Charlton Heston and you will never hear from them again. They left a tidbit of info, and you have it on your notes!

After you have gone through a few of the estimate people and recorded notes, you have an education and some idea about how you want to proceed. The cheapest (lowest bid) is not always the best route. Depending on your area, maybe you find out you need to get someone to do ceilings and walls. Maybe you need an electrician to do lights and phone/computer hookups. Maybe you need to find a local flooring dealer to do your floors. It has been my experience if you give someone to give you a turnkey job on a total project that they subcontract all the things they can't do and markup the charges for the subcontractors. So, in the end, you pay much more.

I sell kitchen cabinets and hardwood floors. My competitors charge $130,000 plus for a kitchen remodel. I can sell cabinets for less than $5,000 for a large kitchen and refer folks to a discount dealer of upscale appliances at a reasonable price. I know a cabinet installer who will install at 1/3 what Lowe's, Home Depot, and other stores doo and he is a meticulate installer. I sell hardwood floors at very reasonable prices and can refer people to excellent installers at a low price/SF. Yet, I lose customers to dealers who want to offer a 'package deal' and customers who love to say "I paid $130,000 for my kitchen" when we could sell it to them for a fraction." You live in a big metro area. Prices are higher there. Please, shop around. Shop for one part of your project at a time, if you are looking for savings. If the basement is importantto you and your lifestyle and living quarters, make sure you have adequate ventilation/heating/cooling.

Keep us posted on your progress.

Best regards.

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