Tuesday, July 28, 2015

And the Surprises Just Kept Coming......Bankruptcy

As we neared the finish line on our house, we noticed that progress had really stalled.  Of course finish work takes a lot of time, so we weren't overly surprised at first.  But since we only visited the project on weekends, it started to become obvious that there wasn't a lot of progress.  And we were having trouble connecting with our contractor.

Finally, Richard went to check the project during the middle of the week and our contractor Joe was on site, working alone.  After some prodding and questioning, he learned the full story.

Evidently, Joe had started to run out of money quite a bit earlier.  He didn't want to tell anyone and just kept plugging away.  So, he let his workers go and was trying to finish up the last of the work single handedly.  At this point, he was already in the process of declaring bankruptcy and had lost his house.  And the experience had obviously taken a toll.  He had decided this was not the right career choice and wanted to go back to school and get an engineering degree.  But he was trying to honor his commitment to us and complete the house.

Well, we felt terrible.  Joe had never given us any clue that there was an issue.  And he had never charged us for a single design change (and I can assure you, we made lots of those!).  Most contractors charge for every single one!  So we weren't really surprised that there were budget overruns.  We knew this was the first time Joe had built an entire house, so the level of scheduling and budgeting was a lot more than he was accustomed to.

We tried to do what we could to help.  Richard worked with him to see which sub contractors hadn't been paid and we took care of that.  And we worked with Joe over the next few weeks, to get the last few punch list items taken care of - so he could start the school semester.

And the lessons learned from this?  Well, we knew we took a risk when we started with a contractor that had never done a project like this before.  And we're still grateful that he was so conscientious and didn't just disappear from the job, like some of the stories we've heard from other people.  We ended up with a house that's well built and we love.  But I'm also glad that we've teamed up with Waterhouse Builders for all of our regular SoPo Cottage projects!

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  1. Uh, wow. As if the kitchen counter trouble was not surprising enough! We have our fair share of surprises since we moved in the current house, but none of them was so dramatic as yours! Glad it turned out okay!!

    I love all the work by Waterhouse Builders you shared with us. Wish they were located in this Mid-Atlantic area.

    1. We are glad all the drama is behind us!! But it helped us learn some valuable lessons that we use on all our projects! Best of luck on your place. Laurel

  2. I am thankful you were kind to this guy. Sorry it had to happen.

    1. Thanks Denise. He's a very nice young man and we respected how conscientious he was about trying to meet his commitments. We're really happy we got a great house and he had the opportunity to move on to a new career.


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