Hawaii Randy's Real Estate Opinions: King For a Day Series – Handymen

King For a Day Series – Handymen

King For a DayIf I were king for a day what changes would I make to the handyman industry to better protect the public?  Now I am sure that many are asking; is there a handyman industry?  Not an organized one, but handymen play a big part in our business and at least in my state can be a big source of problems or help.

This is the 3nd in a series of blog posts I am writing about how to better protect the public and improve the real estate industry.  After selling many homes and being intimately involved in the process of working with the public in buying and selling residential real estate I have formed some very strong opinions about changes I would love to see in our industry.

As is a common theme in these articles I would insert more accountability into the process. 

There are absolutely no standards in Hawaii to be a handyman.  This leaves the public wide open for harm.  In my previous post I mentioned that only thing required to be a home inspector was business cards.  I have met many handymen who don't even have them.

I know if you read the first two posts in the series many of these ideas will be redundant.   

A few things I would change:

  • Require insurance.
  • Require a license, not necessarily require a test, but at least fall subject to licensing and state oversight to give the public a place to file complaints and to check for previous violations or complaints. (No license in Hawaii required)
  • Change the state handyman law to allow handymen to do repairs up to $2500. (in Hawaii if the bill goes over $1000 you have to have a licensed contractor..  The problem is no licensed contractor will take a job under $2500)

I am not looking for educational requirements or a license exam.  I do think a license and required insurance is not asking too much for someone who may cause harm to the client or their property.  Along with adding a little bit of basic requirements to the handymen, I would like to see the price limit in our state raised to be more practical for everyone.

 

Other King For a Day blog posts:

 

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Randy L. Prothero, REALTOR®

Broker-in-Charge, ABR, AHWD, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, MRP, SFR

eXp Realty

Team Leader - "The Prothero Group"

Randy Prothero is well established as an expert in working with military / VA clients and first time home buyers.  His home seller's (listing) campaign is one of the most aggressive marketing programs in the area.  His luxury home listings sell faster and for more money.

Based out of Mililani, Hawaii. Randy services the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) Performs mediations and ombudsman services for the Board of Realtors.  To improve overall professionalism in his area Randy also offers classes for real estate agents. 

www.HawaiiRandy.comOahu (Honolulu County) Property Search  Hawaii Military Relocations

Comment balloon 13 commentsRandy Prothero • October 29 2007 05:26PM

Comments

Amen my brotha Randy!
Posted by Neal Bloom, Realtor CRS-Weston FL Real Estate (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago
Randy, here is an instance where being on the loan end of things I rarely here of handymen being involved in the sale.  The only time I here about handymen is with FHA loans where repairs have to be made as a condition of the loan, and even then the seller or the buyer will take it upon themselves to do them.  So I was not aware that they are this much of a concern to Realtors.
Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) almost 11 years ago

Randy:

Ditto what George said.

How exactly do "handymen"  "play a BIG part in the RE business?

 And... "in my state can be a big source of problems or help."

Could you clarify?

Posted by Victor DaGraca, Myrtle Beach Home Inspections (Critical Home Inspections) almost 11 years ago

Neal - I guess I am preaching to the choir.  LOL

George - Handymen are a daily part of our lives.  They can do a lot of harm.  Not usually as much as loan officers and REALTORS®, but they still can cause problems or take advantage of the public.

Victor - A couple of examples:

They may do work that requires a licensed plumber or electrician.  Number one it is illegal and the home owner is responsible and if done wrong can cause major damage or fire.

Another example is they are not regulated in any way.  If they take the deposit and run you are flat out of luck.  If they do the job wrong you are probably in the same pickle.  If you as a real estate professional refer them to the client you will be on the hook also.  Remember if I refer them, I am the only one with a license and most likely insurance.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago

I still don't see how they impact you as a Real estate professional.

Granted, the words "Caveat Emptor" came about through necessity, but, apply equally to all interactions between a provider and a consumer.

There will always be unlicensed unqualified people out there trying to pry your wallet open. These people will prey upon the unknowing and the unsuspecting, but to say that they impact you as a real estate professional is like saying that the same is true for mosquitoes.

The bottom line appears to be one of personal responsibility.

If a homeowner hires someone without prior knowledge of their business practices and/or qualifications, shame on them.

If, on the other hand, you recommend someone with less that stellar reputation, without checking them out first, shame on you.

Due diligence would be the keywords.

Always check out the person you're recommending, always check out the person you're hiring, and if you pay them in full up front, you asked for it.

Hand your client the yellow pages and tell them to check with the Better Business Bureau before hiring anyone.

 

Posted by Victor DaGraca, Myrtle Beach Home Inspections (Critical Home Inspections) almost 11 years ago

We had an inspector who here who was also a licensed general contractor and after seeing his work, I couldn't believe he had either. Turns out since that day, either did the state and revoked both his licenses! But, I agree no contractor will take a job for under $2500 anywhere!

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) almost 11 years ago

Victor - Good tips. The idea of licensing and requiring insurance gives the consumers a better way of filing a grievance and getting some recourse when things go bad.

Todd - Having a license never guarantees good work.  It does add some accountability to the process.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago

See, here is where my inner entreprenuer raises his head. If I were a Realtor and I had that much need for a handyman, I think I'd find a guy who was really good and I'd hire him myself as a full time employee with benefits. I assume that you're incorporated into a Sub S or LLP, so his salary and expenses could be reduced to a more palatable after tax number. You could set up maintenance contracts with mainlanders looking for rental properties to actual have some income. You could bill the time he spends working on your stuff against time you're billing him out at, working on rentals around town.

1. You get a reliable guy who you trust to do good work and costs you NOTHING if you do it right.

2. He gets a steady income with insurance and benefits. (Something that NONE of those guys get).

That seems like it should be workable and a win win.

Posted by Tom Cunningham (Agent Support 360) almost 11 years ago

Tom - Not so easy.  I do not have full time work for a handyman, nor would I want to.  Most of the time I refer them to others, on occassions I the one paying for it.

Many of the client's hire a hanmdyman to do minor repairs when getting the home ready for sale and to take care of issues after the home inspection.  Most handyman are not only busy, but can only do certain types of jobs.  So you need more than one.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago

Randy,

I like the ideas that you share here.

What is your thought about the PC of using Handyman vs. Handyperson?

Lucky :)

Posted by Lucky Lang, SRES, Davenport, Iowa Real Estate (Mel Foster Co.) almost 11 years ago

Lucky

I'm leaning toward Physical Property Maintenance Engineering

Posted by Victor DaGraca, Myrtle Beach Home Inspections (Critical Home Inspections) almost 11 years ago

Victor,

Now THAT is funny right there!  (Said in my most southern twang)

Thanks for the laugh!

Lucky :)

Posted by Lucky Lang, SRES, Davenport, Iowa Real Estate (Mel Foster Co.) almost 11 years ago

Lucky - I do not have an opinion.  I guess if the PC police have a problem I will remind them, I was King and will decree that to be the official title.

Victor - I am requiring a college degree to use the title engineer.

Lucky - Was the PC?  LOL

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago

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