As you get ready to sell your home, you may discover the need to make a few (or even many) repairs and updates – from touching up paint on walls and replacing hardware to fixing your mailbox or repairing drywall. Sure, there will be home repair projects you can easily complete yourself, but what if you don’t have the time with everything else going on or a repair project is over your head? That’s where hiring a handyman comes in.
Why should I hire a handyman?
Buyers want a house that looks new – no nicks or scuffs on the walls, fresh paint, a fence in good condition, and doors and windows that are free of drafts and leaks. Over time, you may not realize that some of the small damages in your house can add up to an overall impression of neglect. Keeping up with general maintenance and care of your home, such as cleaning the gutters, freshening the paint, and fixing overall wear and tear can help you maintain, if not increase your home value each year. By contrast, not fixing things around the home can reduce your home’s sale value by about 10%.
Here’s where a handyman can help. A handyman is a jack of all trades, capable of many different kinds of home repairs. Some may have plumbing and electrical licenses and certifications, while others are specialists in home carpentry, tile replacement, or laying carpet. Many handyman services offer a wide variety of skills and can complete a multitude of different projects around the house.
A handyman can also find items in the home that you may not realize need repair – anything from faulty or leaking ductwork in your HVAC system to a crack in the foundation.
Also, many homebuyers will conduct their own home inspection before closing on the house, and often, if there are things that need to be fixed, the buyer may ask for concessions or reduce their offer to offset the costs of fixing these things themselves. When you hire a handyman to complete any home improvement project before you sell your home, you can reduce the chances of having concessions or missing out on a potential deal.
Projects your handyman can complete
Your handyman service can complete many different types of projects. Some common ones include:
Fixing a broken garbage disposal
Repairing or calibrating an HVAC thermostat
Replacing a mailbox
Anchoring or installing shelves
Adding locks to the interior or exterior doors
Replacing tile or carpet
Power washing brick or siding
Fixing cracks in stucco exteriors
Installing an exterior walkway
And so much more
Some handymen may also be capable of unclogging pipes and drains, installing lighting or ceiling fans, and replacing kitchen sinks or toilets. However, depending on where you live, the handyman may need to have a certification for plumbing services, be a licensed electrician, or have undergone formal masonry training, both for foundation work and other types of training. In order to ensure that the repairs are all compliant with local residential building codes, you’ll want to make sure to speak with an expert.
Another thing to consider when determining what kind of repairs your handyman service will complete is whether your home poses a safety risk. Things like broken window panes and loose handrails may jeopardize certain types of home loans, which can limit your buyer pool. For example, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has certain requirements for a home’s condition before they’ll approve an FHA or VA home loan. The last thing many home sellers wish to have is a deal that falls apart right before closing, so be sure to address any safety issues with your handyman before listing your home.
Should I hire a handyman or a contractor?
You may not always need a residential contractor to complete many of the projects on your home repair list. Oftentimes a handyman can get the job done and they tend to be less expensive than a contractor. They charge by the hour and have their own tools, so while you’ll be responsible for providing the materials for each job, you’ll only have to pay the handyman’s hourly rate.
However, if you need extensive repairs done, or if a home inspector wishes to see receipts or invoices from the job, it’s better to hire a contractor. General contractors often do home renovations and remodeling, while a subcontractor is a professional that specializes in a certain area, such as roofing, plumbing, or electrical work. A contractor will also have a warranty for their work, which you, as a seller, should provide to potential buyers. Contractors also are well-versed in local building codes and will ensure that your repairs are compliant.
Choosing the right handyman to hire
Not all handyman services are created equal, and some have a more comprehensive list of services that they can provide than others. Finding the right handyman can start with getting recommendations from friends or neighbors, or even asking your real estate agent about reliable, talented handyman services in your area. In fact, your real estate agent may be the best source for a reliable handyman, as realtors often have a greater understanding of what it takes for homes to receive top-dollar offers.
Don’t be afraid to interview potential handymen or ask for references and photos of their past projects. You should also ask what kinds of certifications they hold and about their experience. Remember, this is an individual you’ll likely be working closely with, so this must be someone you can work well with.
With all the stress that goes into preparing a house to sell, hiring a handyman can be extremely helpful and save you a ton of time, money, and worry. Better yet, you may even find the perfect handyman and want to hire them again for any future repairs with your new home.
Emily is part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about real estate trends and home improvement. Her dream home would be a charming Tudor-style house with large windows to let in lots of natural light.