1 replacement window, 3 vastly different estimates. Help!
Newbie here; I've been on a crash course in window replacement and am thoroughly confused. I apologize in advance if any of this has been covered in the threads, but can't seem to find the information I'm looking for and would love some advice from the experts here.
We have a typical cookie cutter 12 year old home in a nice area. A few years after purchasing, every single one of the 32 windows had condensation in the panes. All are Gel Wend, who did replace the glass after much hassle. A few years ago, the large (7' x 5') south facing vinyl window on the front of the house cracked out of the blue. Had to replace the glass on that one out of pocket, and now realize that the entire window should have been replaced. It is is racked and bowing, and the outside trim has obvious dry rot. I believe the style is a picture window over a slider, where both sides of the lower windows open. Naturally, it is out of warranty. So, I now have 3 estimates: one from a GC who said the window is fine, he would just pull it out, re-shim, and replace the trim work. The second estimate, from a window replacement company, estimated $2200, not including any potential work from water damage to the house. They claim to offer a variety of windows, but only wanted to talk about Milgard Tuscany series. The third, also from a window replacement company, estimated $1350, not including potential structural damage, for a Simonton series 7300. Also did not offer any other brands.
I knew enough to check the license/insurance status of all three, but am flying blind here as far as really determining how to get a decent wi dow installed correctly without breaking the bank. I assume the first GC did not know what he was talking about, but what about the other two? Are these reasonable prices, in your opinion, for these windows with installation? And why the big price difference? I've read that proper installation is everything, but both companies seem equally reputable. Are there any specific questions regarding installation that I should be asking?
Thanks in advance!