One of the best things about being a good real estate agent is developing a discerning eye and the ability to quickly identify easy repairs or inexpensive projects that will really make a property “pop” or enhance its value.
One of the worst things about being a good real estate agent is working with the owner of a home that needs that kind of attention when that owner also happens to be your spouse or partner.
All successful agents have a small team of professional contractors and amazing handymen they can call for minor repairs, quick improvements or touch-up painting. Our valued clients trust us implicitly to get these things done and we, in turn, trust these resources to treat each home as if it were their own.
Sadly, our spouses rarely feel the same. While clients are usually grateful that their agents can provide just the right person to fix it, caulk it or paint it, the reaction received when you mention the home you live in needs a window repaired or carpet replaced is quite to the contrary:
“I don’t see anything.”
“You’re over-reacting. It’s just fine.”
“What? That? That’s nothing.”
“What are you talking about? We just did that two years ago.”
“Don’t call anyone. I’ve got this handled. I’ll just do it myself.”
Needless to say, it’s the last statement that really makes me nervous.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m married to the most wonderful guy. He’s smart, engaging, has a fabulous work ethic and a marvelous sense of humor. His hobbies are many and diverse. He’s not only an avid Harley owner, but an accomplished musician with a coveted collection of antique accordions. (Very sexy).
But you’ll notice I didn’t mention carpentry, plumbing or electrical work. To be fair, he’s very good at small home repairs – but only when I can get him to admit they actually need to be performed.
As a savvy agent, I know the challenge repairing a toilet or changing a simple faucet can pose. Really. So, I also know hiring a professional to complete this work is not only a good use of money but, more importantly, the best use of time.
It’s common in my field to hear stories of very simple projects that morphed into major, expensive repairs because a stubborn significant other was positive they could fix it with a simple turn of the wrist or wrench.
So, what advice do I have for those living with a fix-it-yourself fanatic?
- Fix it now. As soon as you notice it. The laws of nature and physics dictate that, left alone, things will only get progressively worse (never better).
- Ask a professional to give you a free assessment of the cost for any repairs needed. You should never have to pay for an estimate of work by reputable plumbers, electricians, gardeners or any other professional home service.
Knowing the true condition of things and the approximate charge for making it all better costs you nothing but a little time. And much of the time, the estimate you receive for fixing the problem is actually less than your spouse has manufactured in their head. The work to fix the proverbial hole when it’s still small costs a lot less money than it will once it becomes a huge crater.
By the way: The same two principles apply to your health, your family, your business and most of life’s other big issues.