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Rental Property Repairs: What are the Differences between a Restoration Professional, General Contractor, and Handyman?

Repairs on a rental property in Charlotte

Wondering whether your project needs a restoration professional, a licensed general contractor, or a handyman? Knowing the difference between the three is essential so you can make the best decision for your investment property repairs.

If your rental property has water damage, mold damage, or fire damage, you might be faced with questions of who to hire to get the job done. It is one of the most critical decisions you can make.

You will be working closely with the company over the course of weeks, months and even more than a year in many instances of fire repair.

In this article, let’s take a look at what each of these types does.


What is a Licensed General Contractor?

A licensed general contractor is licensed and registered by the state they perform the work in. A licensed contractor has the knowledge, background, and training of building structures and the building codes required by the state.

Handyman measuring wall

General contractors are accountable for supervising the entire repairs process of the project. This can range from a new home, home addition, garage, house remodel, shed or any other project.


What is a Restoration Professional?

Restoration professionals specialize in home and business disaster restoration services. They offer services such as fire damage restoration, water removal, mold remediation, and fire repairs.

A restoration company explicitly has unique and specialized equipment, training, and experience when it comes to fire, water, mold damage repair. They are well equipped in this and all other aspects when it comes to getting you back your home or business to normal and as fast as possible.


What is a Handyman?

A handyman is not required to keep up with the regulations of any state. They are not licensed or insured. Some of them may be insured and this is something you must confirm as a homeowner.

Drilling holes

These handymen are skilled individuals who cater to a range of home repair tasks. Typically, a handyman will work on the smaller repairs and maintenance needed in your home.

Some examples of small repair tasks could be repairs for cabinets, flooring, closet, fence, railings, light fixtures, or any minor home repairs.

When you have more significant or more specialized projects that need to be done, you will likely need either a licensed general contractor or a specialized contractor such as a restoration company.

Here are some of the advantages of restoration professional for disaster restoration services over a general contractor or handyman:

1.   Quick Response

In the case of water or fire damage, a rapid response is a critical step in mitigating the damage. The restoration professional will respond to your call typically within the next 24 hours.

They will immediately perform the cleaning, drying and repairing process in a faster timeline as compared to general contractors and handymen. This is the prompt response required and is important so that the chances of salvaging your rental property and any belongings are high.


2.   Professional Damage Advice

In the event of a fire, water, or mold damage, it is often challenging for property owners to determine whether the drywall, furniture, carpets, and appliances are salvageable or has to be torn out and replaced. A restoration professional can expertly assess the property and damages. They will offer advice and solutions specifically for the cleanup process after damage to a home or business.


3.   Dealing with Insurance Claims

Most of the fire and water damage restoration professionals have years of experience in dealing with insurance companies and adjusters through the claims process.

This means that the restoration company is familiar with the industry jargon, pricing and has pre-existing relationships with most, if not all, adjusters.

Because of this experience, the restoration professional will also know how to document the losses better than a general contractor or handyman. They are aware that insurance companies rely on proper documentation to determine coverage and paying out a claim.

A restoration professional will use the same pricing program and will supply all the estimates in the appropriate format the insurance requires.

dealing with investment real estate insurance claims

4.   Reducing Damage & Cost

When you hire a restoration professional for water or fire damage cleanup, they help you reduce secondary damage and total cost of cleanup and drying. If you or a contractor doesn’t act fast, you run the risk of causing additional damage.

If not addressed immediately, water will saturate more of the structure and can lead to mold and further damage. A restoration company understands these issues and is proactive in preventing further damage which will end up being costlier.


5.   Specialized Equipment

If you’ve had a fire in your property, you are going to have smoke, soot, and charring of the structure. All of these damages require specific techniques to restore the property.

specialized equipment

Some of the equipment that might be needed are hydroxyl machines, SteraMist, deodorization fogger, Vapor Shark, ice blaster, and more. Most likely, no general contractor or handyman is going to have this equipment in stock or have the experience using it

For water or mold, there is other additional specialized equipment that’s needed to restore the home properly and quickly. Some of that equipment needed to do this might be commercial dehumidifier, trailer mounted DEHU, Air Scrubber, portable/mounted water extractor, containment, Anti-Microbial solution, and much more.


6.   Unplanned Disruptions

One of the most significant differences in working with a restoration professional, general contractor, and handyman is the fact that water, fire damage is unplanned, and you are always working in an occupied space.

No homeowner likes having their kitchen torn apart while they are living in the house. Alternatively, a business needs to close a portion of the building while repairing water, fire or mold damage.

A restoration professional works every day inside businesses, alongside homeowners and knows how to keep a clean work environment and be as unobtrusive as possible. All this while also knowing how to communicate with the occupants of the building.


7.   Employee Credibility

Because restoration companies work with insurance companies on a daily basis, all insurance companies’ programs have strict guidelines when it comes to employee backgrounds and business insurance.

This means that if you hire a restoration professional who works with your insurance company, the insurance company will vet them thoroughly.

This typically entails background checks for all employees and they will also check whether they have the correct insurance as well. So, as a property owner, you can hire a restoration professional with confidence.

Overall, a licensed general contractor, handyman, and restoration professional all have specific benefits for hiring them. As a homeowner, property manager, or facility manager, it is essential to understand these differences so you can make the correct decision in hiring the best professional for the job.

Who’s Responsible for Maintenance? The Tenant or the Landlord?


Without a clear and comprehensive lease agreement, the landlord-tenant relationship may become compromised. This is especially true when it comes to key aspects like property maintenance.

Creating a properly detailed lease or rental agreement before renting out your property will ensure a smooth tenancy. If the idea of drafting one yourself seems daunting, consider hiring a qualified property management company to do it for you.

When it comes to responsibilities, not everything is straight forward. Some may be defined by your state’s landlord-tenant law, while others may be contained in your lease agreement. (more…)

Understanding the Fair Housing Act – What You Should Know


No landlord should intentionally discriminate against prospective tenants looking at their rental property. Although, even landlords with good intentions could inadvertently use language that the Department of Housing and Urban Development find discriminatory.

For instance, you could state “Seeking military members to rent” in your rental advertisement. This statement is in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Although you may have just thought you were supporting the troops.

You’d also be violating the Fair Housing Act if you stated “Child-free families only” in your rental listing. You may feel that the neighborhood is not suitable for small children (no schools nearby, playgrounds, or sidewalks), but the fact is, that ‘familial status’ is a fair housing protected class. This means that you cannot use familial status as a qualifying standard when screening tenants. (more…)

Top Questions to Ask Potential Charlotte Tenants


As a property owner in Charlotte, finding the best tenant is a dream come true. Good tenants pay on time, care for the property and alert you when maintenance issues arise.

No doubt, finding good tenants is a critical part of being a landlord. Equally important is weeding out potential delinquent rent payers and rule breakers. This all starts with a systematic screening process.

The process begins before you’ve even started taking rental applications. It begins the moment prospective tenants call you to view the property. You can quickly and easily screen good tenants from bad ones with a prepared set of pre-screening questions and interview questions.

Below are 10 questions that will help you find a good tenant for your Charlotte rental property. (more…)

How Often Should You Inspect Your Charlotte Rental Property?


When living conditions are good, it’s no doubt that your tenant will enjoy their new home. And, a happy tenant means higher tenant retention!

But, how do you ensure this? Simple, by regularly inspecting your Charlotte rental property.

As a landlord, it’s your job to conduct a rental property inspection and check on the property. This helps you ensure your tenants are abiding by lease terms and fulfilling their duties. If not done often enough, you may miss some potentially serious issues. (more…)

Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Rental Property


Aside from having vexing tenants, a landlord’s second-most stressing issue is often how to maximize income from their rental property.

As a rental property owner, there’s only so much you can do to make an extra dollar. But, it’s possible to get the most out of your properties if you follow a few smart tips. All it takes is a little creativity and a mutually beneficial relationship with your renters.

So, what can you do to make more money from your real estate investment? (more…)

Top 11 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Property Manager


A property manager can make all the difference between a poorly maintained property that causes you problems and a well-maintained rental property that earns you money. Thus, finding a good property manager is critical to your investment success.

Of course, all property managers aren’t created equal. So, how do you ensure you hire the right one? Well, you can start by asking the right questions. Here are some questions to ask when hiring a property manager.


Buying Investment Property in Charlotte, NC – Things You Need to Know


Real estate has created more millionaires than any other business. Over the past two decades, retail real estate has created an average annual return of 10.8%, according to data from the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries Index.

In Charlotte, specifically, the real estate market is at an all-time high. Twenty-seventeen was especially a strong year for the Queen’s City.  Investors will be particularly pleased to hear that the hot streak continues into 2018.


Breaking a Lease in North Carolina: What You Should Know


A lease is a contractual agreement between the landlord and a renter. It defines the duties and responsibilities of each party during the life of the tenancy.

Generally, breaking a lease refers to moving out of the rental unit before the end of the lease period. The reasons why tenants move out can either be legally justified or not.

When justified, you only need to provide the landlord with sufficient notice. However, when the reasons are not justified, penalties will be imposed.

If you are a North Carolina tenant, here’s everything you need to know about breaking a lease.


Property for Profit: How to Find Your First Investment

An investment property is an incredible way to diversify your portfolio and take advantage of all the benefits that real estate has to offer. After all, the allure of real estate is easy enough to understand. Not only does it offer a residual income, but it also provides the safety of owning a hard asset, the constant promise of price appreciation, and the chance to get creative too! Of course, while it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of making a property purchase, it’s important to have a solid plan in place.

Jumping into action too quickly could lead to some costly problems later down the line. In fact, you may even find that you end up with a property that has more expenses to deal with than you originally bargained for. With that in mind, we’re going to give you some quick tips for finding your first investment – taken straight from the experts.

1.     Buy with your Head, Not with Your Heart

Buying property is an exciting experience. It’s easy to get carried away when you see all the possibilities that can come with being a landlord. However, don’t let your “gut feelings” get the better of you. Just because someone took the time to wash a house, so it looks attractive from the outside, doesn’t mean it has everything you need to attract a tenant inside. At the same time, a home that looks incredible won’t do much for you unless it’s in an area where people want to live. Think about the audience you want to attract with your real estate investments, and how you’re going to make sure you get the most out of your money.

investment property in charlotte (more…)

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