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Reinspections and Handyman Work


hausdok
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Ever had to reinspect a home where the seller agreed to make repairs and then had Uncle Freddy, the family fix-it guy do the work and do it poorly? Frustrating isn't it?

In this article in the Evansville (IN) CourierPress, home inspector/columnist Dwight Barnett explains to an upset seller why choosing a handyman wasn't the smartest thing to do. Click here to read the entire article.

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In the state of Florida there is a law that requires a seller to have all work done by a licensed contractor (but who follows laws). I try my darnest not to do re-inspections. You all know the saying - he who touched it last owns it. If I have to do a re-inspetcion, I request all receipts and only comment on whether the repair was done or not and by what contractor. I put in my report that I do not warrant or guarantee thier work. If there are no receipts I tell my client the work was done by an unlicensed contractor (and I usually forward a copy of state law with my findings). If the client accepts the repairs, it is client beware.

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I guess I'll have to be the odd man out (Will not be the last time). I have never had a problem with good handymen doing the work. The key is "good". I know three or four. If the work is done in an appropriate "workman like" manner than who cares if a handyman or licensed electrician does it? Some things are technical enough that I recommend that only a licensed person do it. That said, do you really need an electrician to install a couple of GFCIs and a plumber reseat a toilet when a good handyman can do it and save the buyer or seller 30%?

To me, this is a property rights issue. What right does government have to specify whom I contract minor work with? I honestly believe cities only issue permits to make money, basically legalized theft. I have met enough city inspectors and tradesmen to know that they are no better or worse than handymen.

I always recommend receipts with clearly printed names and work descriptions. Most of the good ones give some level of warranty, depending on the task.

Capitalism works. Some trades have become too proud of their time. Handymen move in underneath to cut them off. If the trades can not justify their service and skills to earn the higher wages, tough. It is the same rule we home inspectors live by. Inspections are not mandatory, we have to "sell" people on the benefit of what we do.

Glenn

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Glen,

I can agree with what you said, but think of this. My handyman goes in and fixes 'minor electirical issues'. You go behind him for a re-inspection and clear those repairs. Little Johnny comes along and gets shocked by the outlet, or a fire occurs. You are the last person that looked at that outlet. Your client sues. In court the attorney asks you "are you inspected the outlet. Are you a licensed electrician. Didn't you know that all repairs need to be completed by a licensed contractor." You just bought yourself a claim. The problem herer is that the client is our client, not our friend. And they will turn on you at any time if they think they can get money out of you. The law is the law (whether right or wrong) and if it is going to protect me from being sued, then I will use it.

"What right does government have to specify whom I contract minor work with?" That right comes up when the government feels that the consumer has been harmed (usually when someone in the government has had a bad experience). That is why home inspectors in Florids can no longer inspect septic tanks. Someone in the government had a home inspection. Six months later her drain field went bad. Bingo - now we have a law (not that I want to inspect septic tanks anyway)[:-thumbd]

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There are "handyman" issues. They don't include electrical, any plumbing other than a supply hose to a washer, roofing (even most roofers don't know how to roof) structural repairs, masonry, ceramic tile, or HVAC(other duct sealing or filter changing.)

Painting, undercutting an ill fitting door, cleaning gutters, sealing a driveway, or changing a lockset don't require one to still possess every tooth that filled a void.

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Originally posted by will5443

Glen,

I can agree with what you said, but think of this. My handyman goes in and fixes 'minor electrical issues'. You go behind him for a re-inspection and clear those repairs. Little Johnny comes along and gets shocked by the outlet, or a fire occurs. You are the last person that looked at that outlet. Your client sues. In court the attorney asks you "are you inspected the outlet. Are you a licensed electrician. Didn't you know that all repairs need to be completed by a licensed contractor." You just bought yourself a claim.

I understand you point of view. I guess I need to be sued once or something, but I just do not consider that concern to outweigh my capitalist tendencies. I just have not had a bad experiance with handymen.

Texas has a very strong license act. While lawyers do occasionally come after the odd inspector, we seem to have fewer problems with litigation than other states. I have not surveyed anyone to come to this conclusion, but I talk with inspectors in a dozen other states.

The TX legislature does not involve itself in as much as some other states. As an example, builders are still not licensed in TX. They just started a registration process and a construction commission, but the jury is still out. [:-taped]

I follow the economic theory of Dr. Thomas Sowell. Anything the government regulates goes downhill. Anything they mandate, becomes overly expensive and low in quality. Free markets keep us on out toes.

So what does that say about the licensing of home inspectors in TX? Hmmmmm.......

[:-dunce]

Glenn

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Kurt,

I just did my annual statistical revue of the competition. Yeah, I know, but I'm anal, what can I say?[:-magnify Anyhow, with state licensing you can get lots of good data off of the TREC site. The average inspector active in Greater Houston today has possessed a license for less than 4 years. Realistically, that means that they have done between 400 and 800 inspections. I shudder to think of my performance in those days. [:-weepn]

I do not think most of them are morons. I have always thought that a third were morons (and maybe ill trained), a third are ill trained and a third are competent.

Our toughest job is teaching the public how to differentiate between groups one, two and three. Just because you are licensed does not place you in group three (inspectors, plumbers etc.). Just because you are not licensed does not place you in group one or two (handymen).

Glenn

#3772 of 9206 or 235 of 1264, take your pick.

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Since you are a competator Glen, I wonder what group you are in. If you ask me, and you didn't, there are far too many inspectors in the state as a whole and many are overly concentrated in the metro areas. Realize that many just don't make it past their 4th year of business although they may keep their lic.

None of this has a single thing to do with handman type work.

So back on track.

If the handy man just does as he wishes without proper training and then perhaps fouls the job in a minor way he is believes is cosmetic, he is bound to make more than a few mistakes than he probably realizes. The same thing can be said of inspectors.

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