I would love to hear positive and negative reviews.
I know the feeling! We live in MN and our house was built in 1976 and had the original windows, which were really cheap. We just replaced them and could not be happier. I cringed at the price at first but kept telling myself that it was an investment and worth it.. and it was! So much has changed in window technology... our new windows reflect the sun away from the house but still let in natural light and have gas in between the panes for extra insulation. We went with white vinyl and the new windows look great. We have already seen an drop in our energy bills. I did some research before we bought and found that online with Angies List there were great references. We got quotes from the first one and got great service and value. You can also learn about all the different brands and types. Just ask a lot of questions to figure out what is best for your home, budget and the climate you live in. Happy window hunting!
Uggghhh...this is such a sore spot for us. We found out after buying our home that all the windows were painted shut. Seriously. The Inspector didn't check them, we didn't think of it (first time home buyers & it was winter time) & our Realtor urged us to not do a walk thru at closing. Turned out later the Inspector was indicted for taking bribes from Realtors. Nice. We tried everything but couldn't get them opened, so we had to replace them all pretty quick, including the windows in a huge sunroom that were floor to ceiling. Ended up going with Pella. It was really expensive-$18k for the whole house, sunroom (sunroom alone was $9k) and 3 new doors. The rebate was nothing. Not worth considering replacement for in & of itself.
The Pella sunroom windows are really wonderful. The whole room is glass & the floor is tile & it's situated over a garage, but in the winter, we can still sit in there & eat. The rest of the windows in the house are just normal windows-nothing special really. If we were DIY'rs, I wish we had done the rest of the house ourselves. I wanted Marvin but they were much more expensive in our situation.
I think it's a really impt detail that a PP mentioned about the house being a "forever house" & being passed down to children etc. We thought this was going to be a place we would be for awhile but DH lost his job 2 years in & we are selling & probably short selling in the next month. I wish to God we had that window $ in our pockets now & went with something cheap. If I knew the house was seriously going to be in the family & all that, I would go with one of the leading ones like Pella, Anderson or Marvin. If there is any chance you might have hardships, move closer to family, relocate etc., do the cheapest you can do that are still efficient.