Davenport Iowa Real Estate



Is the term, "Handyman" used in your area? handyman

Does anyone know where there has been legal action taken against the term used in advertisements?

A course I took several years ago warned us about using this term.  We were told it could be construed as discriminatory.  First, based upon "man" it infers that a woman would not be "Handy". 

Then people started using the term "Handy-person" and that was determined wrong because it infers that a disabled person who didn't have the physical ability to be "Handy" couldn't or shouldn't purchase the property.

The question arose as I just read a blog post whose first line was "Handy Man Special!!"  Alarms went off in my head as I reflected back to that course.

In our area, the term "Fixer-Upper" is used to describe a property that is run down and needs considerable work.

If the work is minor or cosmetic in nature, we generally use the phrase "needs TLC".

How about in your area?  What have you experienced?  Is "Handyman" a liability, or have the PC cops gone overboard? 

Lucky :)

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Comment balloon 13 commentsLucky Lang • September 19 2007 05:07AM


That term has been used for years and years in our area.  The PC police haven't said anything about it.  Frankly, I don't know what they could say about it.  It isn't discriminating, but rather briefly descriptive about the homes needs.
Posted by Kris Wales, Real Estate Blog & Homes for Sale search site, Macomb County MI (Keller Williams Realty - Lakeside Market Center) over 11 years ago
Haven't heard any complaints on this end, but then again, my "Postal Delivery Person" is a woman, but I always say, as does my wife, "Was the Postman here?"
Posted by Christopher Benedict, AskTheBigGuy (BIG Realty) over 11 years ago
I have a handyman and I love him.  I recommend him using that term.  I'm the handyman in my house, and you could call me that without ticking me off.  :o)
Posted by Sarah Cooper (Real Estate Shows) over 11 years ago
We see all kinds of descriptions for homes in need of repair no one has started the actions on descriptions yet. Fixer upper is the best term buy you can do an MLS search with the critera handyman special 
Posted by James Gordon, REALTOR, PBD SFR SRS (Sibcy Cline Realtors®) over 11 years ago
Haven't heard that one before!I am so over politically correct!Let's face it..if someone wants to sue you..they will...just think of McDonald's and the woman who burnt herslf!
Posted by BLR Guy (BLRGUY(Beach & Luxury Realty Inc)) over 11 years ago

I have never used the term "handyman special" in a ad -- "Fixer-upper", yes,  "Needs TLC", yes. 

Personally, I always try to use "gender neutral" terms whenever possible:

"Mail Carrier", "Fire Fighter", "Police Officer",  "Repair Tech (as in technician)"  I wonder if people would ever start saying "HandyTECH" instead of "HandyMAN?


Posted by Cheryl Johnson over 11 years ago

I don't know about being PC but this is VERY interesting:

From a study of words used by Realtors in MLS Remarks.  Look at what to add; what to avoid:  

  • Beautiful - 15% faster, 5% higher
  • Good Value - 5% less
  • Must see - no effect
  • Landscaping - 20% faster
  • Move-in Condition - 12% faster
  • Motivated Seller - 15% longer, 4% lower
  • handy-man specials - 50% faster
  • needs TLC - don't use it

Stats from: Paul Anglin, a professor of real estate at the University of Guelph


Posted by Rob Lang, Local Expert in Lawrence Kansas Real Estate Homes (At Home Kansas Team Powered by Keller Williams Partners Inc / www.AskRobLang.com) over 11 years ago

Lucky, in CA which we all know would be the first to jump on the band wagon, I have seen "handyman", "Fixer Upper, TLC."  That seems to be left alone. Interesting thought though.

I know I'm one of the very few who happens to use a woman home inspector and my clients are always surprised...but she's good!

You have brought up a very good thought that I will contemplate on today!

Posted by Gena Riede, Real Estate Broker - Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699 (Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792) over 11 years ago

Kris: Time will tell.

Christopher: Exactly!

Sarah: I Love It! ;)

James: That's interesting.......not on ours!

BLR Guy: Our newspaper won't take ads with it.

Cheryl: Good Advice!

Rob: Very interesting stats!  Thanks for sharing those!

Gena: I wish we had a woman Home Inspector here!  I'm always reaching out.  I sponsored the first woman into my Davenport Kiwanis Club!

Thank you everyone for your comments.  Sorry I was late at responding.

Take care,

Lucky :)

Posted by Lucky Lang, Marco Island & Naples Florida Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty Marco Island) over 11 years ago
I've heard of Contractor's special....meaning.....tear down....lol!
Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) over 11 years ago


Thanks for the chuckle!

Lucky :)

Posted by Lucky Lang, Marco Island & Naples Florida Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty Marco Island) over 11 years ago
My first house, years ago, was advertised as a handyman special. I ended up doing most of the "handyman" work! I don't use that term today, but I can't say that it was a conscious effort on my part. In the list of "check offs" on the listing contract, it is either "average+" meaning average or better condition or "TLC" meaning it needs some work - from total rehab to cosmetic. In remarks, we usually indicate where it falls on that scale. I don't believe our publications would accept "handyman". They won't accept "close to St. Joseph's hospital" but will accept "close to Memorial Hospital". LOL! Sometimes, you can go overboard and be a little too sensitive. but your comments do make me think more. Thanks!
Posted by Sharon Sapp, For Old Fashioned Service with Today's Results! (Century 21 Gold) over 11 years ago


That is very interesting.  Our MLS has no "check-offs" for condition.

Thanks for commenting.

Lucky :)

Posted by Lucky Lang, Marco Island & Naples Florida Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty Marco Island) over 11 years ago