Wednesday, April 4, 2012
A Single Womans Guide to Roof Repair
Are their more shingles on the lawn of your 100+ year-old farm house than there are on the roof? Do you have enough of an aversion to hiring a contractor that you have literally tried climbing on the steep pitched roof yourself to test just how bad you legs would actually shake? Have taken to looking at every roof you drive by to see if there might be a roof out there with more shingles missing than are missing on yours? Have you resigned yourself to the fact that you can’t do it yourself and you can’t continue to ignore it? If so, you are not alone. It is all a question of fear. Which are you most afraid of: heights, banks, or contractors? Actually, there are just two categories: heights or getting screwed? If you are an Aerophobiac like me, you may have no choice but to take the even riskier route of financing and hiring the job done. I am here to tell you that if your gut is strong enough to convince you not to try the job yourself, then your gut will get you through the rest of the process. After all, what else do you have?
Step One: Decide ahead of time what type of payments and terms you can handle and then sit down with a loan officer. Keep a straight face during the process, but realize just how entertaining it actually is. Watch amusingly as your request for a two year secured loan request, is cleverly pushed aside while you are diligently being “sold” and interest-only home equity line of credit at a variable interest rate with a mandatory 3 year term. Embrace the fact that this 20-something bank employee who has a good 30 years before retirement, states that she, herself has taken out a home equity line of credit and purchased a car with the money. I warn you, it would not be polite gasp at this point. She is, after all your loan officer and looking out for your best interest. Let her do her job, but when she tells you that the bank will need take a lien on your property to give you this loan, tactfully tell her that you are sure you will consider this type of loan in the future, for now you would like to return to your original request and anything she could do to help process that loan would be appreciated.
On to Step Two, which really does involve a lot of gut work, so be sure you are balanced and tuned in. Hiring a contractor. Don’t rush this and giving up is not an option. Ask around, try to get someone local and good luck in getting them to return your calls. Although the rule of thumb might be to get three estimates, I went with two. Neither of the contractors were local but both were roofing experts. I didn’t meet with either of them in person but took multiple photos of the roof and the attic area. The first one I started working with impressed me from the start. There was no “selling” himself or the job, just a willingness to do it and to work with me. We went from the complete new roof, to just a band-aid on the south side to adding another layer to the existing roof. He never backed down and said it wasn’t worth the trip nor did he get annoyed with my questions. I took all the questions and concerns I acquired from the second hard-sell contractor and presented them to the first and he answered them with professionalism. This is what sold me in the end – this one sentence: “We know what we are doing and if we see a problem when we are up there, we will address it”. THAT my friends, is exactly what my gut needed to hear. Since I don’t know what I am doing or what you are doing, it would be good if one of us knew what they were doing and preferably it would be you.
Oh yes, and the sentence "that is the price", meaning we are not just talking estimate anymore, is a deal clencher. Get it in writing ladies. And good luck out there.