Open Door

Open Door
Indianapolis, Indiana

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Finding a Contractor - Part 1

Our current search for a contractor takes me back to the early days and how we never really explained how we found our original person. Going back to the beginning, it was Match of 2011 when we first found out that the house was up for sale. In April, we gave our earnest money to Indiana Landmarks and were hoping for a quick closing. There was a problem with the title and it took until August. In those intervening months we had extremely limited access to the house itself and knew that any upkeep we did on the property could go to waste if the purchase did not go through.

This was a very frustrating time for us. I knew that we would need to act on the stabilization as quickly as possible once the purchase was completed, but we did not have access to the house to bring through the contractors that we might be interested in. Since we stay very busy with our business in the summer this was not something that I spent a great deal of time worrying about.

Once we owned the house, we had a few things that needed immediate attention. There were no keys to the bungalow, so we had to replace the locks, and we needed to get the security company out as soon as possible. We also had to contact IPL and find out what was required to get electricity to the bungalow. Without electricity nothing could be started on the Horner House without significant additional expense.  Then came the overwhelming task of finding a contractor to do the work.

I knew that Indiana Landmarks had looked at purchasing the property for their FLIP Program and obtained estimates as part of that process. (Unfortunately for them, good for us, the estimates came in too high for the fund to cover.) So, I called Chad and asked him who had given them the estimates. I don’t know the history or details, but one of the contractors had been in the house numerous times over the prior several years. By this time, the back wall and floors had been down for months and time was of the essence, so I decided to take a chance and just went with him.

Unfortunately, sometime this past fall our old contractor went out of business. I was unaware that this had happened until I tried contacting him in the early winter when I began feeling better. While this does bring about the issue of needing to find a new company to work with us, I am happy to say that there have been no other problems for us as a result of this situation. We had finished the first stage of the stabilization and not yet begun the second, so even the timing was not detrimental to our project.  Now it’s time to leave that in the past and begin our search for someone new.
To Be Continued…

Next Blog: Why It’s Not Just a Search for a Contractor


  1. We are working with a great contractor for our home remodel in Arlington:

    Eric Giles Withem
    Marquis Building Services
    912 Rotherham Circle
    Beech Grove, IN. 46107
    Cell: 317-714-0021

  2. I used your contractor for my home restoration, as well. I originally got his name from indiana landmarks. The librarian there had a file of contractors that specialize in preservation. Theyve all worked directly with Landmarks and all are comfortable navigating IHPC, which any normal contractor would never be able to do. I would try to stay away from contractors that specialize in remodeling. They will quickly realize they are in over their head once they discover you cant powerwash 130 year old wood or brick, you cant spray paint it either--and yes, that cedar siding is gnarled and splintered, but we arent going to replace it, we're going to preserve it, which takes a lot more effort. I found Bill because two remodelers stopped showing up, both offered a partial refund and stated they should never had taken the job--these were both contractors with over 20 A reviews on Angies List. Email me at if you want the list from Landmarks. I think i have it in my email still.

    1. Thank you for the information! I appreciate hearing about what others have gone through. It's already saved us grief. I did get a list from Indiana Landmarks and used that as part of our search, as well as Angie's List, but it's still been a challenge.