Is it just as hard in your area to find a responsive Contractor as...

Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices 01238708

Is it just as hard in your area to find a responsive Contractor as it is here in the Los Angeles area?

Contractors: aka Home Professionals the good and the bad, I am sure many home owners have faced this dilemma and were quite frustrated with the process and the results.

Just to give you an idea, Diane and I have been discussing, that we want to remodel our small bathroom, aka the guest bathroom, aka my bathroom. This discussion has been going on close to a year now.

 Ironically about four months ago we were ready to start the project.  Hence with that said, we reached out to one of our neighbors, who is about six houses away from us. Not wanting to bore you with the details, but one site visit and about a month of hit or miss communication later, he let us know that he is spending most of the summer with his daughter and would not be able to do the job.

The second contractor was a referral from another neighbor who did a similar project and liked the contractor. One site visit and a mediocre to lousy proposal and limited communication later we are still negotiating with him to come back and give a more “precise proposal”.

In the mean time, I reached out to my network and we are now having the third contractor who looked at our small bathroom. He came out Sunday evening and said it is not going to be an easy job and will be labor intensive of what we want. He was also upfront that the proposal will not be ready until the end of the week.

Diane also reached out to another neighbor, who is going through the same challenges of selecting a contractor to redo their small bathroom. She also indicated the challenge is similar, but she is a bit ahead of us and met with four contractors and they are near the point where there might be a meeting of the minds.

Not wanting to digress, my question to the community is, is this just a Los Angeles problem? Trying to find honest, reputable and responsive contractors who give you a relatively reasonable response? From the initial contact point to checking out the job and give you a proposal that is professional and not grammar school level or what I call a SWAG method, instead broken down to Labor Costs, time to do the Job, leaving room for error a plus and minus factor?

Now, I would love to know if they are all this way when it comes to giving a proposals, then my next question is: what will they be like in doing the job? How do you control the time delays and the cost over runs? I have some ideas but would be interested in your thoughts.

Clearly if this is how non-responsive I would be with my buyers and sellers, I would not be in business for very long. How do these guys get away with it? How do they stay in business? I am just curious because clearly, I am in the wrong business, trying to give my money away to a reputable contractor to do a reputable job, is that asking too much?

If I would be this unresponsive I would long have been eliminated from the Real Estate Profession.

Now if you are looking for a Client Service Oriented Responsive Greater Los Angeles Realtor, please reach out to me directly!

If you are looking for a focused and goal-oriented Realtor in the Beverly Hills area who will help you achieve your Real Estate goals, please reach out to me directly!

If you are looking for a pet friendly Beverly Hills Realtor who can handle and sell the most difficult properties that no one else could, please reach out to me directly!! If you are considering buying or selling a home, a luxury home, luxury investment real estate, luxury vacation homes, or luxury beach properties in Southern California, Los Angeles, Century City, Westwood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Marina Del Rey, Venice or Malibu, feel free to contact me at 310.486.1002 (m) or or visit one of my websites at  I contribute a portion of my commission to local animal rescue organizations.


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Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | Charlotte, NC - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

I hear this all the time, Endre. Fortunately, I have my little list of top contractors who will respond quickly and appropriately for me and for my clients.

Jun 26, 2018 04:10 AM #3
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

There is so much demand for contractors that they can get away with not returning calls for days

Jun 26, 2018 04:34 AM #4
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
"Franklin MA Homes"

Good morning, Endre Barath, Jr. we have contractors who do not respond, but we don't use them.... we have contractors to whom we feed business and they jump for us.... one good turn deserves another.... 

Jun 26, 2018 04:36 AM #5
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Endre, I have had this challenge all year, even with contractors I have long-standing relationships with. It's so frustrating and I have your same thought if we did that we'd be out of business FAST. The last remodel I had done there was an allowance in the proposal tying the contractor to stay within a certain threshold Anything over that he was on the hook for. It worked out very well. 

Jun 26, 2018 04:37 AM #6
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Condo & Home Sale Specialists

When we were looking for a contractor what we found were many who did not show up for the appointment. One said he forgot, the other 3 didn't return the call, and 2 were very unprofessional. It took a while to find the right one!

Jun 26, 2018 05:25 AM #7
Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line

It does seem to be a national problem. I hear this all the time from clients who then ask for referrals. I always ask them to let me know how the referral went and let the contractor know I referred them and expect them to look after my client.

Jun 26, 2018 06:31 AM #8
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Endre- - -yes, this is a challenge that is wide spread.  I feel your pain.  Good luck. 

Jun 26, 2018 07:19 AM #9
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

Boy, do I have information for you! First, the GOOD contractors are all busy, especially this time of year. Second, they rarely give itemized, written estimates until after giving a verbal quote.

It is VERY hard to find a reliable competent contractor, and when you do, hold on to them tight and send them lots of referrals!

I know you read my post about the contractor that walked off the job before it even started. I wanted to act as the "general contractor" and sub out the plumbing, electrical, and painting, and the contractor must have had other ideas...

Instead of asking neighbors, I'd ask your real estate professionals if they can recommend a contractor. 

I hope your remodel isn't too complicated. Best of luck, Endre.

Jun 26, 2018 07:33 AM #10
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


We had someone in Los Angeles, but by now he is retired.  Is this a big job?  Are you planning to buy new fixtures ?  The reason I ask, is that if you buy new fixtures/tiles from Lowes or Home Depot, they can have someone install it who is licensed and can do the job as promised. A

Jun 26, 2018 09:47 AM #11
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

No - the problem is not just in your area. When we set out to repair/remodel my son's duplex here in North Idaho, it turned into a nightmare. The first contractor did about half the job, and at twice the price. The next year we started on side 2. The contractor we hired to do the work in the crawl space had to be called back twice after he said he was finished. From there my retired contractor husband took over, just to get it done. Even then, finding workers who actually showed up was no easy task.

The good ones are busy - booked out months in advance. The ones left over seem to be the worst of the worst.

Jun 26, 2018 01:14 PM #12
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty, Martha Hilton, Broker - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

I have been very lucky with contrators here, and I keep a list of the best ones.

Jun 26, 2018 07:49 PM #13
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

It can certainly seem to be impossible to find great contractors Endre Barath, Jr. but don't give up hope...  You need to read Sheila Anderson's post (They Came When Promised) to have renewed hope on hiring pros

Jun 26, 2018 09:04 PM #14
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

James Dray  we would be out of business in no time, sadly they are arrogant at times when business is good and they forget what it is like when business is tight...Endre

Jun 26, 2018 09:54 PM #15
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning again Endre. Now I get it. When I needed a contractor for my home renovation, I did it all right and still went through three before the job was done. I spent more on the re-do than the house cost but it is never easy. Good luck.

Jun 27, 2018 03:26 AM #16
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

It's not just LA, Endre.  We face very similar issues here in Stuart, FL.

Jun 27, 2018 05:47 AM #17
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Yes, yes it is.  I am currently waiting on a roofer for a listing and hope he comes through by Monday at the latest to repair a new problem where a limb fell through the roof.

Jun 27, 2018 06:37 AM #18
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

It can be hard to really really great person that you can rely on for years and years or even months and months.

Jun 27, 2018 10:49 PM #19
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

It's currently the same on Maui - all the big guys are busy with a lot of jobs right now and a "small" job won't get their attention.  You probably also get the "surf" factor there too... if surf's up, then nobody shows up for work... lol.

Jun 28, 2018 01:27 PM #20
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale

Hello Endre,

Great post my friend and one of my businesses is booming because there is so much smaller work in the Bay Area that the large companies don't have time to do them, let alone even return a call.

Your post has been featured to the group:


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Jul 08, 2018 09:17 AM #21
John Henry
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Custom Home Design

Endre, most likely a contractor of any stripe will prefer passing on a smaller project and look for larger ones.  A larger problem is the market in general.  In a booming economy you cannot even get contractors to bid properly and timely on new construction, which all parties agree is the easiest and most profitable to do.  Large complicated houses are passed over for two or three smaller quick jobs with easy returns.  That is the nature of the beast.

Occasionally a large custom builder may have some slow time and will consider working on a small remodel project for you.  You should try to cultivate their friendship and reciprocate with leads.

I find it difficult to even recommend any contractor to even a client of mine because you never know how the project will end up.  Anytime you recommend someone you sort of put your own reputation on the line.  Because of this I can only suggest names from the top firms in the area. 

Jul 26, 2018 10:42 AM #22
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Endre Barath, Jr.

Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002
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