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REAL ESTATE

He's No Mediator, and 6 Other Things Your Handyman Wishes You Knew

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handyman holding hard hat (gpointstudio)

Is your to-do list piling up with minor (but majorly annoying) tasks such as fixing broken windows, swapping out old ceiling fans for palm blades, or repairing the broken sprinkler system? We get it: You want to do everything yourself, but even the hardiest DIYer comes to a point where it's time to hand over control.

Stop fretting about your never-ending weekend projects, and hire yourself a handyman or woman to complete those nagging tasks. Just make sure to treat the pro well. Below are seven tips to keep your handy friend happy.

1. Your local hardware store can be your secret weapon

Finding a handyman you trust is the best way to guarantee good results -- and if you're not handy yourself, that might feel like a frightening challenge.

Try looking to your local hardware store for recommendations. Not only can it suggest dependable professionals, but it can also provide insight into their financial competence: Are their accounts with the store in order?

"If he's paying his bills and he's on top of his money, that's a sign the rest is in order," says Rusty Meador, a professional contractor and handyman in Leland, NC.

2. There's no need to study up before your handyman arrives

If you don't know how to build a door jamb or what methods are best for fixing that hole in the drywall from your son's illicit indoor pickup football game, don't get lost in a how-to YouTube spiral. Your handyman will be happy to explain the details and his approach.

"Everyone has varying levels of technical knowledge," Meador says. "It's not reasonable to expect a homeowner to know everything."

If you lack that detailed understanding, make sure you explain exactly what you're looking for so your handyman can determine the best solution for your situation.

"The more a customer tells us about what they want and why, the better it is for both of us," says Jeff Schwartz, a Miami contractor with JS Construction 2 and Handy.

3. But you should declutter -- or you'll end up paying

Not only will a clutter-free home ensure a project is completed swiftly and without incident, it'll also keep you from paying the handyman's hourly rate for basic cleaning services.

"If the workspace is already set up before your pro reaches your home, all of their time will be spent on completing the job," Schwartz says.

If they're installing new moldings in your living room, clear the floor for their ladder; if they're replacing the tile in your breakfast nook, move the table beforehand.

4. Keep him out of your spousal disputes

If you're not the only decision-maker in the household, make sure you and your partner agree on what services you want performed.

"There's nothing worse than the wife telling you to do something the husband doesn't want to pay for, or vice versa," Meador says.

Before adding anything to the work order, make sure everyone understands what it might cost and how much time the service will require.

"Don't put me in the middle of your relationship problem," he says.

5. Know if your pet is a runner

Wannabe escapee pups are the biggest problem for handymen. Because they're opening the door repeatedly for tools and fuel, it's unfair to make them responsible for keeping your runaway dog indoors.

"We're there to do a job," Meador says. "We're not there to constantly worry about if the dog is going to get out."

6. Add-ons aren't free

Your handyman might say "yes" when you ask if he can touch up the bathroom caulking while he's around -- but that doesn't mean he won't charge for it.

"Always ask the question, 'Is it going to cost more?'" Meador says. Otherwise you risk a misunderstanding, with the handyman believing you're intending to pay him for the additional work, and your thinking he's throwing in a little extra service.

They're not: Every project has a price, so make sure you and your pro agree on the fee before moving forward.

7. Communicate the details

Try as he might, your handyman isn't a mind reader. How should he know you want the shelves of your new built-in placed exactly 18 inches apart unless you tell him?

"It is your responsibility to make sure those requirements are communicated in a drawing or on paper prior to beginning work," Meador says.

And don't be afraid to speak up before, during, and after the project if something isn't to your liking.

"If a client is clear on what they want, delivers exact and detailed instructions, and shares feedback on the finished task," Schwartz says, "it makes my job far less stressful."

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