As owner/partner with my husband Artie in a professional home watch service very often people tell us they will use their aunt, uncle, cousin, child, very best friend etc. to watch their unoccupied home.
Let’s think about this. Our message to these well-meaning homeowners – please, consider the following:
- You just used your life’s savings to purchase a vacation property
- You have never owned a property in a tropical climate
- You will be worried sick if there is a weather report of impending storm
- As a homeowner out of the area you only maintain your home on an as needed basis
- As a homeowner you are reactive more often than being proactive
- You have never taken the time to be educated about owning a home in a tropical climate
- You personally, as well as friends and relatives do not know the first thing about how to perform a professional home watch inspection. You are only guessing.
Now, let’s think about our friends and relatives and what we are asking them to be responsible for:
- A property their friend or relative just purchased with their life savings
- Create a weekly or at least every other week schedule and visit your property without fail
- Walk through your property with at least a 21 point or longer checklist
- Treat this obligation as if it were their occupation
- Learn how to do a home watch visit and understand what to do in an emergency
- Turn the main water on when they arrive and off when they leave – often in an inconvenient place, sometimes in the ground with a cover over it.
- Know when a valve is on its last legs and dangerous to touch
- Flush toilets but never leave a bathroom until the flush valve fills.
- Purchase an expensive flashlight so they can check all the many areas in the home that might leak
- Walk the perimeter of the property prior to entering.
- Take off their shoes and put on booties to enter
- Check every door and window to be sure it’s locked
Now, who believes their friend or relative will treat this like a scheduled visit, spend the time necessary to find obvious issues. Take photos of any concerns. Add to this, the responsibility of a situation that requires an insurance claim and understanding what to do in what order before they contact you in a panic. Who wants to sign up for this!
Potential clients tell us that what qualifies the friend or relative is the number of years they have been homeowners. This is not at all a qualification. I have a body. I am NOT QUALIFIED to be a physician.
Who do you want to be watching your home when you are away?