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Adventures in Home Ownership: Shopping and Sales

Lately it seems as though our after work hours have been filled with the outdoors. Cutting back ridiculously overgrown bushes, mowing the weeds (I mean lawn), shoveling up ‘old mulch’ i.e. stones that cover our garden beds. I’ve spent hours raking leaves, picking up chunks of macadam scraped up by plows, and Bryan has been busying building a raised garden bed for some fruit and vegetables. We’ve been busy and while we aren’t making hay while the sun shines, I do think it’s been productive and necessary. I might end up getting tired of home-grown zucchini, but it’ll be nice to have grown it ourselves!!

As for what isn’t so productive…looking for replacements. We bought an older house. We know that eventually we will be replacing windows, doors, garage doors, light fixtures, bathrooms, flooring, walls, light sockets, you name it. It will probably be changed eventually. Some things are more urgent than others, like the sliding door in our master bedroom. It has completely lost its thermal seal and is freaking ugly.

So what did we do? Start looking for replacements.ย We got a quote from a nice, very not pushy guy at Home Depot. It was reasonable, and we liked it.

Since then we have heard from two other guys.

The second was a guy we met at a home and garden show, very nice, came out and gave us a quote, was open and upfront about his markup, and what it would cost. We liked him, he was twice the Home Depot price though. We didn’t tell him we had gotten another quote but he volunteered on his own that Home Depot quality apparently isn’t that great.

The third guy was a sales man, from a different company at the Home Show, and he was nice, but pushy, and kept repeating that same three phrases to try and get us to buy his door RIGHT THAT SECOND. I don’t think so mister. His windows are on the Empire State Building (I don’t really care). His windows are apparently the ABSOLUTE best (I kind of doubt it, plus I don’t really want to pay for the absolute best) Plus we like to think about big decisions more than overnight. We also don’t like that he was twice the price of the second sales man/ four times that price of the Home Depot man.

Oh and did I mention he couldn’t check things out without both of us present? When I set the appointment they asked if we would both be home, I said no. Frankly, they wouldn’t come out unless both of us were there. So I set the appointment after Bryan would get home from work, but I found that pretty insulting. Who knows who actually owns the home, or what if the couple has separate finances, or what if the wife doesn’t care at all and the husband makes all the money decisions, or the wife makes all the aesthetic ones? PLus this company had already cancelled on us three times.

They came out to give an ‘energy’ audit, which was actually quite helpful. We don’t lose a lot through windows, even though they are old, we don’t lose a lot through cracks, we are pretty efficient, but there are things we can do to save money and save energy, like caulk some of the windows, put in a draft stopper around the door, water heater blanket, and insulate the outside wall sockets. Who knew you could insulate them, but you can and apparently they lose a lot of energy.

And we told him we wouldn’t pay 4 times our lowest quote. He quickly got on his phone with his manager to ‘get us a discount’ which cracked me up, we only told him we had heard other quotes we liked better…and lo and behold he comes back only three times higher than Home Depot.

At this point we felt a bit…forced? to either take it or leave it. RIGHT THAT SECOND. So Bryan, my typically calm laid back husband said, “Great well we’ve heard enough and we aren’t going to make that decision tonight. So if we decide to go with it, we will call you.” Wohoo Bryan. End that awkward sales call. Haha. But seriously. I don’t need to sit there while you (

The salesman was gracious and kind as he left, and I was glad Bryan hadn’t gotten worked up. But it was hard to feel like you had to pull the trigger right then.

I’m glad we didn’t though.

Does anyone else find this tactic bizarre? Wouldn’t a salesman have a better chance of selling to two reasonable money-conscious people if they were given 5 minutes to think it over?

PS. We are saving our pennies and going with the second guy (at least that’s the plan). He knows his stuff, he has good reviews and ratings with the BBB, the door he quoted is much nicer statistically than the Home Depot, and it’s from a reputable company we know and trust.

Or maybe, if we are feeling risky. We will buy the nice door from the reputable company and ask some talented family members who want to help work on the house to come install it with us.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. My momma always said, a good deal tonight is a good deal after a night of sleep. If not, it wasn’t such a good deal! Buyer Beware! Good job guys, hope it works out.


    April 10, 2013
    • My thoughts exactly! And you know what’s funny? The third salesman didn’t even leave his card, didn’t have the actually window or door book, and still it was buy now or no great deals.
      The second salesman however gave me his card when I first met him, and was fine with us wanting to think about it, save some money and then call him back.

      Thanks for sharing Cathy!


      April 11, 2013
  2. Courtney,
    My opinion, you are smart to stay away from the pushy guy and ‘big box’ stores. Go with a local contractor who will take his time and gives his recommendation but not push you into a quick sale. If you have any questions regarding the home improvements I’d be happy to give my opinions/advice. Your mom would have my number. Good Luck!

    John (VanDame)


    April 11, 2013
    • John,
      Thanks for the thoughts! I definitely like to go with the small business! Any chance you want a job up in Ct? ๐Ÿ™‚


      April 11, 2013

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