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    Affordable Home Services
    In December of 2019 we had just finished up the architectural plans for a new addition on our home. In the plans, there were several major updates: a 2-story addition with a family room on the first floor (including a wood-burning fireplace), massive his and hers walk-in closets on the second floor (connected to the master bedroom), a completely renovated and reimagined master bathroom, a two-level deck with the upper level being covered and the roof line of the new addition flowing into the roof over the deck, and a built-in gasline grill. It was a beautiful set of plans, but not without its challenges, especially around orchestrating the various heights for the two-level deck and family room (as it has French doors that exit out onto the deck). Our architect gave us recommendations for a couple of general contractors including Jim Federle of Affordable Home Services (AHS). Upon speaking with Jim, I was immediately impressed with his prompt response and how quickly he was able to come out and walk through our plans. Although it was during the holidays, he promised a quick turnaround on an estimate and had it to us within a few days, clearly taking time over a weekend to put the numbers together. He proved to have a very thorough understanding of the work we needed to do and was already giving recommendations and opinions on various options. I will admit that the estimate was a bit higher than we were initially expecting. But Jim worked with us to bring it down with a combination of simplifying our chimney/fireplace plans as well as giving a little on the price. With that said, once he came back with the slightly modified price, he stuck with it, which I greatly respect, because it proves that he and his son, John, had given it a lot of thought and were confident in their understanding of the work. One of the key differentiators that led us to ultimately select Jim and AHS was that as we went through the contract negotiations, everything we asked about was included in that price. As Jim explained: it would be "turnkey". Whereas the other organization we were considering had exceptions and exclusions, including some big pieces that would definitely have made it more costly than Jim's quote by the time everything was said and done. Another related differentiator was Jim's total confidence in the work, what it entailed, how long it would take (12 weeks), and his group's ability to do it. Although the first iteration of the contract may not have had as many line items around scope, the reason wasn't because they didn't think of it, but because everything truly was included. No matter what I asked, the answer was: "of course". And then to allay any concerns, AHS was more than happy to add all of those details into the contract. The third differentiator was that it seemed AHS was ready to roll with the project as soon as we were ready to make a decision. That combined with how responsive they were already within the estimate/contract process is super important, because it was a clear indicator of how the project would likely go during the actual work. This fast response time was the case throughout our project. The final differentiator, and probably the most important, is my husband and I really liked Jim. He struck us as genuine, personable, friendly, confident, and super knowledgeable/experienced. We wanted to work with him. When we spoke with one of his references who said her project was finished exactly on time and budget, and had glowing remarks about AHS, that sealed the deal for us. True to their word, the moment the contract was signed in mid January, they got to work, starting with our town's building department. Things got a bit hung up there for a few weeks (to no fault of Jim's, that's just how small town government goes, in fact, his dogged attention likely got things going faster than they ordinarily would have). On Feb 24th, our permits came through and literally the next day the crew was here breaking ground (an unseasonably warm winter has its benefits). This project ran like a well-oiled machine. All of the moving parts were perfectly orchestrated and that is a feat in and of itself as there were so many different specialists that had to be involved. Jose and the foundation crew moved fast, and Vargas and the framing crew moved even faster. The roofing/siding team was in and out so quickly that if you blinked you would have missed them. Pedro and the indoor/finishing team are versatile artists: from the drywall, to the painting, to the trim, to the hardwood, to the tile work, to placing the beautiful stone veneer on our fireplace and grill. John, Jim's son, built out the custom closets to match my grand vision exactly (without having to buy an expensive closet system!). Andy the electrician and Richie and George the plumbers rounded out the cast and were super efficient in their work. These different groups moved in and out seamlessly with rarely a day when work wasn't being executed. The commitment to excellence was clear and Jim exemplified that himself, showing up himself almost every morning to check in. He made recommendations that likely cost him more (like herringbone designs for our Trex decking and angled wood floors), because he knew it would look awesome. He noticed when something perhaps wasn't exactly right (things I didn't even notice) and made sure his team tweaked them. He never said no to any of our selections and the options we felt strongly about, even though some of those again were probably more costly than initially estimated, from the premium Trex decking, to the granite on the grill top and bathroom counter, to the exquisite authentic restored barnwood fireplace mantel. On top of that, he went clearly above and beyond when he brought the excavator back just to move a boulder in our yard further from the deck so it would look better, and agreed to have his team paint our hallway and stairwell (which was not at all part of the initial plans). They also brought in a truckload of top soil and seed for the yard around the deck, which wasn't something I had thought to ask about including. All proving a true commitment to making our home perfect. In return, I tried to be as easy as possible and not picky with everything else and trusting him on tile, cabinets, fixtures, etc, hopefully allowing him to balance out costs. The work officially finished on May 18, 2020 which was exactly 12 weeks and it was 100% turnkey, just as Jim promised, without costing a dime extra. No job is without its challenges, and this one had a whopper thrown in, when the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic erupted right smack in the middle of this project. We were about 4 weeks in, with gaping holes in our bedroom, bathroom and kitchen, when the world essentially shut down. By sheer willpower, Jim and AHS did not skip a beat. There were some dicey weeks when we weren't sure if work might be forced to stop and obviously we all (workers, Jim, my husband and I and our 4 year old daughter), and our families, were nervous, worried about health and what would happen. When the town building inspectors stopped being able to come into homes, Jim had already built up enough good will with them and convinced them to approve work via video and pictures! We hadn't intended to live through the construction in our home, but going to live with family was no longer an option. It was difficult for us to be learning/working from home in the renovation chaos, and rarely being able to leave the house (with nowhere to go!). But we sort of all got through it together, and figured out how to socially distance while keeping the project going. Jim basically became our closest friend during that time, as he and the crews were the only people we saw in-person for weeks. I'd hear him roll up some days on his motorcycle and knew that I could look forward to a good conversation. Ironically, my parents had been doing their own renovation in March (just a bathroom) with a different contractor. Their bathroom work stopped and is still yet to be completed. The fact that Jim and AHS were able to finish this work on time and budget during a worldwide crisis speaks volumes. Needless to say, I highly recommend Jim and Affordable Home Services! We are thrilled with the outcome of our project, and it was worth every penny. We will definitely be using them again and look forward to having Jim and his family over for a BBQ once we are all allowed to congregate again.
    - Elizabeth S.
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    Santucci Bros Contracting
    Hector Santucci and his team were professional and great to work with. The performed the work on-time and exceeded our expectations. Their attention to detail set them apart from others we considered for the project! I would highly recommend them and would hire them again in the future. Richard Weissman
    - Richard W.
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    GENERAL BRICK DESIGNS
    We like the estimate, which would need to be negotiated. We liked that Eddie would be on-site for the work as he's very friendly and would pay attention to the details.
    - sharon P.
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    Sagona Contracting, LLC
    Given the quarantine, I embarked on a mission to update the curb appeal of my house...as soon as the landscaping sector reopened I solicited estimates for the removal of my existing lawn and replacement with new sod as well as extending the drainage from a dead leader at the front of my house to the street. Sagona has done both cement (sidewalks, apron and a wall) and sod work for me in the past; so, of course, I included them. Most of the estimates came in around $2400-2500...he was a little higher than that but he ended up working with me on the pricing. One of the points that bothered me about the other estimates was that every one said that they would not be responsible for any damage done to the less than one year old sidewalks Sagona had installed for me. I knew, just based upon their past work and ethos, that regardless of who had installed them or how old they were, they would take care to not damage them. That might be a hint to some contractorss, btw, that you don't tell a homeowner there's a good chance you're going to damage something but "So what?" They showed up on time on the appointed day and went right to work...the old lawn was removed in good order...the trench was dug for the drain...the remaining soil was turned....mega amounts of top soil was wheel barrowed in, contoured and then made ready for the sod which was then laid perfectly...there at 8...gone by 5...beautiful new lawn installed with care... Again, they won't be the lowest estimate but I have yet to choose a lowest estimate and not gotten burned by it...as it is with anything...you get what you pay for and when it comes to Sagano...their work is worth every penny and more...
    - Will A.
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    FRIENDLY TREE SERVICE
    The job was done with little difficulty. Minor damage was done because of the equipment used. Small pieces of the gravel was broken going into the backyard. Overall, I was very pleased with the job and the cleanup.
    - Frank B.
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    FRIENDLY TREE SERVICE
    Jimmy as very professional, timely and did a great job. The company provided a detailed estimate and did a great job. I would use them again
    - Martin M.
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    D & S Landscaping Inc
    Not only does D&S Landscaping excel at design, they also excel at maintaining the trees, bushes and flowers to their original beauty. Don and his team are very pleasant to work with and always strive to make you happy. You always wonder if you made the right choice ~ we did!!
    - Karen O.
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    Landscaping By Craig Inc
    Craig and his team did a wonderful job! He returned my initial call quickly and came out to give me an estimate that very same day. All paperwork and billing info was handled seamlessly by Beth in the office. On “transformation day,” Craig arrived with a team of hard working, efficient and extremely pleasant men. They worked like a true team and seemed just as pleased As I was with the final landscape. Thanks for making my house look like the nicest one on the block!
    - ellen h.
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    FRIENDLY TREE SERVICE
    They crew did a great job: they responded quickly, set up an appointment with no delay, were friendly, timely and did a great job. My neighbor used them to get an on-the-spot trim that day as well!
    - Liz B.
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    D & S Landscaping Inc
    Don and the entire D & S Landscaping group were excellent. Don was extremely knowledgeable ad helped create a beautiful landscaping design in the front and side of our house. D & S even cut my lawn as a courtesy. I highly recommend them for all landscaping and landscaping design work.
    - James B.
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