Our realtor's dad is a retired contractor and carpenter who could apparently do a great job of it and wouldn't charge a lot (though it turned out somewhat more than we had been guessing).
We looked around, and Costco has significantly cheaper wood flooring materials than anywhere else, it seems. They had a variety of laminate floors, of which we liked the maple (light coloured) best, and also "hardwood" bamboo flooring. The laminate is standard sort of stuff, with locking click-together sort-of-tongue-and-groove thingies, and with a little padding on the back. You generally also would put an additional layer of padding beneath, to make it feel better, sit better, and not be as noisy. The bamboo is darker than we had originally intended, but is beautiful. It's a toasted bamboo, so sort of a mid-brown. It is simple tongue and groove like most hardwood, so you have to nail or glue it down, unlike the laminate which is generally a floating floor.
Here began the uncertainties. It sounded like our realtor's dad (and unfortunately all our communications has been indirectly, through talking to our realtor) either thinks you could install it "the same as the laminate" or just glued down to the concrete (we don't have a crawl-space; the house is built directly on a concrete slab foundation).
According to the information we've been able to find on-line, if you install a hardwood floor at ground level on concrete you should not just glue or nail it to the concrete. You need moisture barriers -- either by applying a layer of polyurethane sheeting, a layer of 3/4" plywood, another layer of polyurethane, nailing that down with some masonry nails to the concrete and then nailing down the hardwood to that, or by putting a coating on the concrete, gluing down 2x4 "sleepers" and nailing or gluing down the hardwood floor to them.
Only one place suggested that it might possibly be ok to maybe glue down the bamboo directly to the concrete, and this seems like a pretty iffy suggestion to me.
So, we were already going to have to be assertive on which process we wanted, and were going to have to find out whether this would affect his estimate in any way, plus we know he can definitely do laminate floors (he did our realtor's, and they look great), but we don't really have proof either way re hardwood floors.
Yesterday, our realtor told us that his Dad is working on a project for the next two weeks and so...
- wouldn't be able to start until two weeks from now (and my mind was filling in "if everything goes entirely according to schedule")
- had apparently told our realtor that we would either need new doors (urr... they're really good interior doors, replaced by the last-but-one owner) or would need to cut some off the existing ones (ugh)
Our realtor suggested that we could always move our stuff in to the garage and bedrooms and still do the floor while living there, but I responded that that was precisely what we wanted to avoid by getting it done for us before we moved. If we wanted to shuffle furniture and camp in our house, we could do that a year or multiple years later. The whole impetus for now vs. later was to do it while the house was empty, so it wouldn't be a major performance of ballet/Towers of Hanoi.
There's also the fact that the floors will be thicker/higher than the tile/carpet (which presumably has something to do with the statements about new doors, though they look to me like there ought to be sufficient clearance under them to be able to leave them as-is), which adds to the complexity of the fact that we want to do a little cabinetry modification in the kitchen (or rather, have someone, ideally our realtor's dad, who said he could certainly do it) to fit a fridge in which doesn't quite have enough vertical clearance under the cabinet that lives above the fridge spot, but I think there was room enough to move the cabinet floor up 2" or so, sufficient to account for both the floor thickness increase and current lack of clearance (which is to say, it would have approximatly 0 +/- 1/16" of clearance, without a floor change).