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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a general contractor during the COVID-19 pandemic?

To set up a consultation or appointment with a general contractor during the COVID-19 pandemic, start by performing an online search for local professionals near you.

Message the contractor, and see if they are willing to set up a video consultation call instead of an in-person site visit. With video chat, the contractor may be able to assess the scale of the project, give you better information on what needs to be done and perhaps provide an estimate. Be sure to discuss virtual payments, as well as general strategies for staying safe.

What does a real estate agent do?

Real estate agents help their clients buy, sell, and rent commercial and residential properties. There are also real estate agents that sell industrial and agricultural real estate, but the majority sell residential properties. To become a real estate agent, you must be at least 18 years old, successfully complete real estate courses, and pass a real estate exam. Be sure to check for any required licensing, too. Often real estate agents will earn 5 percent to 6 percent of the total home sale price for their work in representing their client. Typically this commission is split equally between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent. Here is an overview of what a real estate agent does, according to the United States Department of Labor:

  • Represent clients who are looking to buy, sell and rent properties.
  • Stay knowledgeable about regional real estate prices, mortgages, market conditions and related information, and advise clients accordingly.  
  • Determine competitive market prices by comparing properties.
  • Create and publicize lists of properties for sale, including details such as location and features.
  • Market properties through advertisements, open houses and listing services.
  • Show prospective buyers or renters properties.
  • Present purchase offers to sellers for consideration.
  • Mediate negotiations between buyer and seller.
  • Ensure that all terms of purchase contracts are met.
  • Prepare documents, such as loyalty contracts, purchase agreements and deeds.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a house cleaner during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The best way to set up a consultation with a house cleaner during the COVID-19 pandemic is by using virtual, online tools. Start by performing an online search for local house cleaners. Message them to set up either a phone call or video call to perform a consultation. During this call, they can give you recommendations and may be able to estimate the cost of their services. Be sure to discuss whether they accept virtual payments and any precautions they can take to perform the job safely.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a property manager during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Ask the property manager if they can set up a virtual consultation or remote appointment using a phone or video chat. It’s best to avoid as much in-person contact as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. If they can talk virtually, ask any questions you have about the work that needs to be done. Ask about their system for handling payments, and see what kinds of precautions they have in place to ensure safety and social distancing. 

Are there ways to be safe if I hire a property manager when social distancing?

If you're hiring a property manager to look after a property that you own, consider the safety implications of in-person visits. Due to the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, it may be difficult for the property manager to collect rent in person or complete certain maintenance tasks. Check with your local government guidelines and consider implementing extra safety measures -- such as wearing a mask and gloves -- if you have to meet with them in person.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a junk removal service during the COVID-19 pandemic?

You can set up consultations and appointments with a junk removal service near you during the COVID-19 pandemic by messaging the professional of your choice in an online search. Ask if they are willing to set up a video call to assess the project and answer any questions you have. Discuss a strategy for staying safe during the job, including sticking to guidelines on social distancing as well as paying through digital platforms instead of cash or check.

How can I find out if a junk removal service is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?

Junk removal may be considered essential in certain cases during the COVID-19 pandemic. A good place to start is by searching your city or state government’s website for a list of guidelines.

For national guidelines, visit CISA’s Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19 webpage, which identifies 16 types of essential infrastructure sectors that can continue operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, not all jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure.  

Is it worth having a property manager?

While property managers do cost money, they can provide a lot of value to the client. They have marketing know-how and can advertise and perform showings of your property to the rental market. They can collect rent for you and screen potential tenants. They’ll also deal with tenant complaints and repairs, evictions and late rent. Finally, they can manage bill payments to simplify your paperwork and maximize your mental bandwidth.

Chat with top-rated property managers near you to find out if hiring one is worth the cost.

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