Roofing estimate, what is reasonable?

We are in the process of buying a home and we need to get an estimate for some roof repairs before we come to a final agreement.
First the specs:
Only 2 sides of the house need done (back and left side). The other two sides were done about 10 years ago and are in good shape.
The current roof is soft slate, approx 100 years old, and is not salvageable. The re-roofed sections are 3-tab shingles.
The area in question is approx 8 sq. with a 9/12 pitch. The left side of the house has one chimney and the back has a gable and a chimney. Box gutters. The gutters also need re-sealed though I'm willing to do that myself if need be. There will need to be some repairs of the decking, looking at it from below in the attic I would say between 5% and 20% will need replaced.
In terms of accessability it's 3 stories up at the front of the house and 4 at the back. The back has a roofed porch that comes about 2/3 of the way across the back of the house. (this needs no repair but would interfere with ladder setup)
We got one estimate from a local company for $13,500.00 which I think is way out of line. We are persuing some other bids but in the meantime, what do you think is a reasonable range of bids for this project?
FWIW we've had some trouble even getting companies TO bid on this since they don't want to deal with the slate and the pitch of the roof. We are in the Pittsburgh, PA area if it matters.
Thanks!
-Tim
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

It's not clear from your post what you mean by "I'd look for another house." Are you telling the owner to keep looking, or as the roofing contractor you'd pass on doing the job?
R
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scribbled this interesting note:

We would decline this job. It seems to me the dump fees on slate could be quite high as the weight is quite high. The pitch and the removal of the slate means this will not be a cheap job, by any means. Whatever the original poster does, s/he should not go with the low bidder. Only bad things could come from that.
-- John Willis (Remove the Primes before e-mailing me)
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If the 8 square was on a ranch house, it would be $4500. Tear off of slate, removal, dump fees, equipment setup, accessibility, steep pitch, I'd look for another house. The quote you have may not be all that much out of line for the work to be done. Old houses can be a real nightmare once you start tearing into them and you know decking has to be replaced. I can understand why some roofers would decline the job.
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If I was buying the house, I'd not buy the house. Old homes are charming, interesting, have lots of character, history, etc. But they are also expensive to maintain. If you are a renovator and enjoy spending a lot of time working on a house, it is the perfect setup. Just not for me.
When I bought our present home, we look at a lot of houses. My wife wanted a big of Victorian, but every one of them needed a lot of work just to move in and a lot of money to do the work. We compromised and bought a 3 year old raised ranch and did nothing when we moved in. :) Looking back, some of those houses we passed on look fantastic today, but I also know that many of them took more money on renovations that I spent to buy my house. My son bought a house built in the 1750's and it is on the town green where he lives. He has over $100,000 in up-keep type work (siding, roofing, fence), not improvements.
As for the roof, I'd do it myself on my house if I was about 10 years younger, but at any age, I'd not tackle this job. You won't find me climbing 3 or 4 stories.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



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Join Angie's List and check out their recommendations. I recently rehabbed our house and acted as my own general contracter and Angie's List was so helpful for finding good firms.
Slate is tough. A lot of companies do not handle it.
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