Property Maintenance

Love pink things like this hammer to put a smile on the face of the Sandwich Generation granny nanny caring for elderly parents and babysitting the grandchildren Angie's List is a resource my senior mom and I have used. I can check on contractors, doctors, dentists, etc. and use them along with the Better Business Bureau to help me find qualified, skilled people to help us with home and household repairs and other services as we need we. They are also a great resource for info to help us with the real estate property maintenance needs we may have and I have another of their great articles to share with you today. I think you'll find it useful for your own property and if you are caring for elderly parents – near or far – you might want to share it with them as well. 🙂

These pink screwdrivers are the perfect fun things for household repairs for the Sandwich Generation granny nanny

3 questions your contractor shouldn't ask

by Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List

It's not uncommon for service companies to screen potential customers, especially on larger jobs. Like any professional, a contractor's time is valuable and he or she should be confident their client will actually pay once the project is complete. Unfortunately, sometimes a reasonable request for information gets lost in translation and potential clients get scared off by what they think are invasive, personal or rude questions.

Recently, one of our help desk representatives shared a story about a call we received from an elderly member who lived alone. The member was terrified because she'd called a contractor to do some work and he had asked if she was widowed, if she'd be alone when he arrived, and if she had any savings. Instead of hiring the contractor, the frightened woman was ready to call the police!

The contractor likely was only trying to determine if the prospective client would make the hiring decision or if others needed to be present when he made his pitch, and if she seemed like a good risk for paying his bill — both legitimate concerns. However, he literally scared off her business by how he framed his questions.

We've spent 15 years advising homeowners to investigate their potential contractors' reputations in the community before making hiring decisions. Good contractors deserve similar information about their potential clients. They'll have an easier time getting it — and winning customers — with clear communication.

Homeowners, though, should always walk away from anyone asking questions so poorly that they came across as scary. Here's a sampling of questions contractors should never ask, why they shouldn't, and what they should ask instead.

Will you be alone when I arrive?

WHY THEY SHOULDN'T: Asking a potential client if he or she will be alone when a contractor arrives may make the homeowner think the contractor has criminal intent. Also inappropriate are these companion questions: Are you married? Do you live alone? Are you widowed?

WHAT THEY SHOULD ASK INSTEAD: Will anyone else be involved with decisions about the project and payment? I want to be sure not to waste your time, so it would be best if everyone is available at the same time.

What's your credit score?

WHY THEY SHOULDN'T: Asking about a potential client's credit score can easily cause offense, as can questions like: Do you have a job? Have you ever filed for bankruptcy? How much money is in your bank account?

WHAT THEY SHOULD ASK INSTEAD: How would you like to handle payment? If necessary, a contractor can check your credit history through normal channels.

Can I see your other bids before I give you mine?

WHY THEY SHOULDN'T: Asking about other bids is sort of like asking if you can cheat off your neighbor during a fourth-grade spelling test. It should make the potential customer wonder if the contractor is offering the best bid he or she can.

WHAT THEY SHOULD ASK INSTEAD: I hope you'll give me a chance to talk this over after you review all of your bids. I think it's a fair bid; it reflects the cost of the job as well as the value of my qualifications and training.

The Sandwich Generation granny nanny loves pink things for household repairs

Great info for all of us in the Sandwich Generation, caring for the real estate needs of the elderly parents in our family, along with our own. I've never had anyone ask those kinds of questions and I think the elderly customer who started this article with her question was definitely wise to be concerned. A big thank you to Angie's List for this great resource. And by the way, did you notice all the cute pink tools I found? With so many fun pink things for doing household repairs, I might get to them a bit sooner. And I'm definitely linking to Pink Saturday ASAP!

P.S. For technical purposes only – please ignore this 🙂 6WAMP6SAP4UF Technorati needs this 🙂  6WAMP6SAP4UF

P.P.S. Another good resource for finding contractors, handymen, and other reputable service workers to help in your home or your senior parent's home is . They have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and do not charge the consumer a fee for their services.  🙂

Geraniums used to be favorites of my senior mom for gardening projects

Spring is definitely in the air, along with plenty of chores for homeowners everywhere. And for those of us in the Sandwich Generation, caring for the elderly parents and relatives near and far, that can include supervising repairs at our own home AND that of our senior parents.

Some things to think about include:

When the Sandwich Generation issues of caring for the elderly parents including their real estate needs - that can include their tools

  1. Are any of your senior parents gardening tools needing repair or replacement?
  2. Heater and furnace and air conditioner check up and repair – if you didn't do it in the winter, it's time. And even if you did, many companies recommend twice a year checkups.
  3. Rain gutters cleaned out
  4. Chips in the concrete that may need some repair work
  5. Any leaks in the roof
  6. Do they need any light bulbs replaced – inside or out?
  7. Any wild and crazy plant growth that needs to be cut back to make for safer walking for our senior parents
  8. Any touch up painting needed?
  9. Are all their appliances working OK?

Hydrangeas are delightful for easy landscaping designs when caring for the elderly parents real estate needs

If you live nearby, it's easy to deal with these issues. But what about if your senior parents don't live nearby? If they don't know a repair person/gardener who can help them, some good resources for help include:

  • Call their church – or a local nearby church – and ask for referrals
  • Call their neighbors and ask for suggestions 
  • Check with a good referral site – I've been really blessed by

Got any other suggestions for all of us in the Sandwich Generation, caring for the real estate needs of our elderly parents as well as ourselves? We'd love to hear. 

The Sandwich Generation granny nanny loves landscaping designs with lots of flowers like these lovely dark pink ones

P.S. I'm linking this up some excellent and fun resources. Sweet Shot Tuesday, by My3Boybarians, has plenty of tips to help us with our easy to use digital camera as we have fun taking photos of landscaping designs, homes, and grandkids! And for some great, and often vintage, home decor and accessories and ideas – from the kitchen to the yard, be sure to visit Rednesday for RED ideas and Pink Saturday for PINK things galore!