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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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    FRIENDLY TREE SERVICE
    Excellent work, on time and on budget. Responsive to change request and advised in detail why the full change wasn't necessary. Left the area better than it had been before they did the work. Would definitely use them again.
    - Ken H.
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    Finishing Touch Landscape Co LLC
    Finishing Touch Landscaping exceeded all my expectations! Our property had a problem of water runoff causing serious soil erosion that required some excavation, installation of an extended drainage system, installation of railroad ties, topsoil and regrading. The cost estimate was very competitive with other local landscapers and all work was done in a very professional manner. Frank Davis is more than just a landscaper; he is an experienced problem-solver and came up with suggestions that added value to the project without exceeding the budget. He has experienced workmen and makes it his business to supervise the project in person.
    - Art F.
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    Scenic View Landscaping & Design Specialists LLC
    We looked around at a number of 'high-rated' landscape companies to help us redo our entire front landscape and more. Ours had been overgrown, with trees blocking the house and a walkway that sunk into the ground leaving a large first step to the porch. After we called a number of these companies, Scenic View sent Pat, one of their experienced sales and design people. First off, Pat was great. Comparing him to the other reps who came to talk to us is really not a fair comparison. Patient, helped with design ideas, concerned about the look and maintainability, deers, etc. Not only easy to work with, but eager to help you visualize the design and offers great 3D drawings by which we could review and modify our initial thoughts. Scenic View is a great one-stop-shop. Not only did we have them do the landscaping, which included removing 3 trees from our front yard, removing a whole bunch of bushes, leveling multiple beds that were built up with rocks and mulch, but also they redid our entire front porch. Although they had hoped to just remove the brick and relayer a new front, they came prepared for anything, and in the end, they removed the whole porch and rebuilt it, and helped us select beautiful veneer stone. We also had them do pavers from the street to the new front porch in an aesthetically appealing swerving design (laid out by Pat), and also extended to our driveway. They also put in a new walkway from our driveway to the back deck, giving guest a path to walk - especially when the grass was really wet. Finally, they put in low-voltage lights, with new lights throughout the front of the house and then pathway lights on the walkway to the driveway. To make sure there really was no mud, they laid sod down to all areas they had basically destroyed with the equipment and supplies that were trucked in. They also cleaned EVERYTHING! To say the transformation was large is an understatement. During the process, Scenic's owner, Frankie came and supervised part of the process too. He helped with new suggestions on the landscaping, made sure that adequate supplies were there (they needed more pavers), helped add new pathway lights, and in the end worked to ensure that everything was to our satisfaction. We ended up spending more than we originally thought we would, but we also finished off more than we had intended. It was a great investment. Our house picture at street level in Google earth showed a bunch of trees and what looked like a house hiding behind them. Now, the landscape, lights, and front are so good, the curb appeal is amazing. One last thing about Scenic's crews. We used two crews, one for the majority of the hardscapes, and clearing of old landscaping, and one for the back hardscape and all the landscape and sodding. Any company is only as good as its crews, and Scenic has winners. They were hardworking, dedicated, and when you speak to them, they will go out of their way to help you if you have a question or want something changed or fixed. They finished everything in 2 weeks. When I look back and ask myself "was this a good investment?", both my wife and I are extremely happy. Scenic even helped arrange and coordinate the new sprinkler system we installed to ensure it was done at the appropriate time, laid conduit under the pavers to allow them to run their lines, and Frank came back after all was done and the sod was laid to ensure that the heads would pop in the new grass. Comparing Pat, Frank, and all at a very professionally run Scenic View versus other contractors (even those who were recommended on this site) who didn't even provide quotes or drawings, and had less a full line of services, is really a no-brainer. Save yourself tons of aggravation and expense (Scenic is very reasonably priced), call Pat and Frank. Now I'll use them for my landscape maintenance too! Thanks, Scenic View!
    - Stephen W.
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    Scenic View Landscaping & Design Specialists LLC
    Scenic view landscaping came highly recommended and they did not disappoint us. We had a total revision of the front yard landscaping, including paver walkways, sod and shrubbery. The backyard also received a makeover including removal of shrubs, revision of an existing bed, stone walkway and new grass seeded. We were very pleased with the results and have received numerous compliments. The overall project was very easy from concept to completion. Frankie Vaughn was very easy to work with and had excellent ideas for the landscaping. The men who completed the work were competent, diligent and very hard working. The work was completed in a timely manner, even though we had changed a few things along the way. At the end of the job everything was power washed, cleaned and ready to enjoy. We would definitely call them again.
    - charles and joanne m.
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    Scenic View Landscaping & Design Specialists LLC
    I've been using Scenic View for several years now for regular maintenance of my lawn and pruning/mulching/clean up of my yard. Frankie and the crew are professional and extremely reliable and efficient. I know they do a lot of commercial work as well, and the professionalism they show even on smaller jobs says a lot about the company and crew. .
    - Kimberly S.
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    JKE TREE SERVICE
    Jony and his team were terrific. The coordination and methodical approach to remove a very large tree in a very tight area, roughly 20 feet from the house, was meticulous. The positioning was such that the tree had to be removed by hand (no truck / no crane). Truly an incredible job. I’ve since recommended his services to neighbors.
    - Greg S.
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    Starkie Brothers Landscaping Inc
    This was our 1st experience with Mr. Starkie and we had a wonderful experience. John came to our house with paper, pen and tools to design a layout of what he envisioned for our house. It was 100% perfect and to the tee to what we were looking for. His men worked hard and was always neat and meticulous in what they did. They were a joy to work with if we needed anything else and very quick to take care of those things. John was always on-site to check on the work and to always keep my wife and I informed on what was being done. Great job to Starkie Brothers and looking forward to working with them again in the future. I will definitely recommend.
    - Joe P.
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    Landscaping By Craig Inc
    We recently added an extension to our home and when the construction was done realized that something was missing. Although we had made our home more functional, the space and grounds surrounding our home looked tired and uninviting. So we called Craig to help us. My wife said, "I want something beautiful to look at with a special seating area at the foot of our yard". Those were the only instructions. Craig transformed our property into something very special for us; adding beautiful landscape, accent lighting and a unique seating area that we intend to use for a quiet space and fire pit entertaining. We have used Craig and his design services three times in the past 25 years and he has never failed to impress. Craig has created something that we will enjoy every day for many years to come.
    - Roger N.
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    Wildlife Tree & Landscaping Service
    After 6 estimates that were to high or no show for months a friend recommended Wildlife Tree Svc. Pat and his crew were the best. They cleaned up messes they didn't even make. Professional, safety first. All around great crew.
    - Rich W.
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Landscaping Companies in Rockaway Park

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