Vacant Home Checklists

Charges for Vacant Home Property Management

Vacant Home Property ManagementIn our last post we talked about having your home monitored while you are away on vacation or away on an assignment for your employer. Vacant Home Property Management is also important from an insurance perspective. The next question that many people have is what should they expect to pay for this kind of service. We find that many people do not have any idea of what this service costs and are surprised when they receive a quote. They may be already stretched when it comes to paying for their vacation and then the charges for home property management are added. It is just too much and they decide to pursue other ideas for someone to look after their home, whether it is friends or family. Note that if you are away for work related purposes, most employers will allow you to expense any charges for looking after your home.

What factors go into determining the appropriate charges?

If you have ever hired a repairman to come and fix an appliance, then you already know that they charge a high fee just to show up at your home and then for the time to repair your appliance. In this situation of property management, the property manager is not in your home for any significant period of time. They need to check the security of your home; they need to confirm the heating system is working and that there are no water leaks. In addition they will collect news papers and flyers and perform any other special duties that you may need and have placed on your contract. This is what most people think about and consider that the charges should be based on and yes they are partially correct.

Most people fail to fail to consider travel time to and from your home. This can vary a great deal depending on where you live relative to the property management firm. In addition there are charges to cover wear and tear on a vehicle and gasoline charges to drive to your home. Most property managers must also charge the appropriate taxes for state or local provincial authorities. These charges can add up especially if you live some distance from the property management firm.

Charges for Other Services

Aside from the basic charge for a visit to your home to check on the security of your home and meet the requirements of your insurance company, many people require additional services as well. Depending on how long you will be away, you may need someone to cut the lawn or clear snow from the driveway. In dry periods, the lawn may need to be watered and if you are away for a long period, hedges may need to be trimmed as well. Most property managers are comfortable with sending pictures to customers, prior to any additional work being undertaken.

In one situation that we came across, a customer had hired a property manager for a year to manage a home. During that time the shrubs grew a great deal and really needed to be trimmed to keep the home looking as if it was well looked after. We simply took pictures of the offending shrubs and allowed the home owner decide on what they wanted to have done. In some cases home owners will do nothing while others will be comfortable with the work being completed. This work is in addition to the visitation charge and usually is based on an hourly rate. Always ask for a quote prior to agreeing to have the work completed. This applies to all other charges, whether it is snow removal, pool maintenance and lawn care.

If you are concerned about the charges for home property management, ask the property manager to explain the charges and ask for several quotes prior to agreeing to hire a specific company. Also make sure you have a signed contract that clearly specifies the charges as well as the detailed services that are going to be provided. If they are not on the contract, chances are that they will not be provided. If you ask for these services to be added after the contract is signed, chances are that this will involve additional charges.

If you found this post helpful or have other points to add, please leave a detailed well written comment for our readers. Our objective is to educate our readers so that they hire the right company for home property management.

 


Vacant Home Property Management

Vacant Home Property ManagementVacant Home Property Management

We recently received an email from a client who was looking for someone to look after their home for a one year period. This person is with the armed forces and is being posted out of the country for a period of one year. They have obviously decided that they do not want to rent their home to someone while they are away and they also want to be able to return from time to time during vacation periods and other time periods. They need a number of services which we will discuss in this post.

Vacant Home Property Management Services

They are taking the right approach to ensure that their home is looked after while they are away. This is where vacant home property management comes in, regardless of whether you have a friend, a neighbor or a family member look after the home. There are two really important things to consider when you hire someone or ask a favor of someone. First you need to always check with your insurance company to ensure that you meet their requirements for monitoring while the home is vacant. Failure to have the home monitored adequately could void your home insurance and void any claim you might have while you are away. Each insurance company is different in their requirements. Some want the water turned off and they want someone to check on the home every day. While other insurance companies are ok as long as someone checks on the home at least once per week. We will touch on pricing in our next post, Charges for Vacant Home Management.

The second item to consider that is important is who you have look after your home while you are away. Regardless of who you have do this important task, they need to be dependable. They need to be able to always check your home according to the schedule you set and they need to be able to deliver a report to you after each visit. This is so important because if there is a claim to you insurance company, you will need to be able to confirm that someone was visiting the house according to the schedule they require. Hopefully there will be no situations that require the involvement of the insurance company etc, however these same people should also be able to deal with these situations under your direction.

Choose your home sitter or property manager carefully and not just on price alone. Price is important, however you really need to make sure that you have the services you need. Most professional companies will have a checklist that they will walk you through to confirm all details associated with management of your home. After all, your home is your most valuable possession as are the the things in it. Why would you take a chance with your most important possession.

What are Insurance Companies Concerned About

For most insurance companies the major worry is water damage from leaking pipes. If you live in a cold climate were the pipes could freeze you are going to need someone to check more often unless you drain the pipes and turn the water off. Of course they want the security of the home confirmed each time, but the big worry is whether the furnace is working and the temperature is high enough inside the home to avoid water freezing in the pipes. This is where a professional property management company can really help you. They should visit your home on a regular schedule defined by you and they should also provide you with a report confirming that someone from the property management firm visited the home and verified the security, the temperature inside the home and that there are no water leaks.

They are also concerned about break-ins, however there is not much you can do about this other than make sure that the home looks like it is lived in. Make sure that all newspapers and flyers are taken in every day and that the lawn is cut on a regular basis. These are dead give indicators to a vacant home. Some home owners will also arrange for lights on timers to come on at regular scheduled intervals in the rooms that you use. It makes no sense to have lights on in rooms that you do not use normally. Have the lights and timers in the rooms that you use and follow your regular schedule.

In our next post we will discuss Charges for Vacant Home Management. If you have comments on this post please leave them. We love to get comments that our readers will enjoy and find helpful.

 


Check List for Vacant Home Watch

Check List for Vacant Home WatchNever leave your home vacant for an extended period of time. Make sure someone is checking on the home to make sure that everything is secure. There are so many things that can go wrong while a home is vacant. You can avoid or at least decrease the damage done while you are away. Animals can get in, the power might go off, pipes could freeze or someone might break in while you are away. While checking on the home is not going to stop these things from happening, at least you will control the amount of damage from that may occur afterwords. This is why you need a check list for vacant home watch.

Assume a windstorm breaks a window, or the power goes off, or there is a pipe break. Any of these situations, if left for any length of time can do considerable damage to your home. A Check List for Vacant Home Watch is worth following to increase the odds of your homes protection while away.

Will the Insurance Company Pay

You might think that there is no problem, the insurance will may. They might and then again they might not. turns out that many home insurance companies have clauses in their policies that require someone to check on a home on a regular interval when it is vacant.

If you do not follow this requirement or cannot prove someone was checking on the home, they may decline your claim for damages.  Some require a visit to your home every 24 hours if it is winter time and the water is not turned off.  Others are satisfied with once a week if the water is turned off and there is no danger of freezing weather. check with yours before you head off on vacation.

Hire a House Sitter

Hiring a house sitter does not mean that someone moves into your home. Instead they will visit your home on the schedule you require and provide you with a report and / or record of each visit. At the minimum, they should confirm the security of the home, the furnace is operating properly and that the water is not leaking anywhere. In addition they might water plants for you and bring in th email. Discuss any special requests with them and make sure everything is documented.

Your Check List for Vacant Home Watch

Check List for Vacant Home WatchWhether you are selling and have moved to another home while your old home sells or are just away on an extended vacation, there is a checklist of things that you may consider before you leave to help ensure that your home is secure. apply those that make sense for you in your neighborhood and your home:

  • Check with your insurance company concerning requirements
  • Ensure that your home looks as if someone is living in it
  • Have someone collect the mail
    • Make sure the lawn and gardens are maintained
    • Make sure the snow is cleared in the winter
    • Have several lights on timers ( they should follow your normal routine)
  • Advise your neighbors that you are away
  • Give your trusted neighbors your phone number
  • Have a trusted person check on the home on a regular basis
  • They should be able to contact you in case of emergency
  • They should have authority to make minor emergency repairs

As we mentioned earlier these steps may not prevent an incident in your vacant home, they should minimize the damage. Making your home look as if it is lived in when it is vacant, will help to ensure that it does not become a candidate for a break in while it is vacant.

Property Management Companies

Many property management companies will provide this service for a reasonable price if you are not able to find a friend, a family member or a neighbor to look after your home while it is vacant. Always have a contract that specifies the services they will offer and also include the specific things you need them to do while you are away. If it is not written down, there is a good chance someone will forget leading to a big disappointment when you return.

We have a number of other posts that provide a more detailed checklist of steps to follow while you are away on vacation. Check out our post ” Home Security Checklist ” for a more detailed list of items.

If you have other suggestions about check lists for vacant homes, feel free to leave us a comment. Our readers will appreciate the help. If your are simply leaving a random comment to generate a track back, note that our filters will consider this as spam. leave constructive comments and we may approve your comment.

For more vacant home watch lists, click here.

 

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Home Security Checklist

Home Security ChecklistFollowing from our previous post we are listing a number of steps you can take to try to make sure that your home is secure while you are away and also how to make your home less attractive to burglars looking for a vacant home to break into. This is a Home Security Checklist must read for anyone who is going away for any length of time.

Home Safety and Home Security Checklist

General Areas that You Should Pay Attention to for Home Security

  • Arrange for a  member of a law enforcement agency do a professional survey?
  • Can anyone hide behind trees and shrubs near windows that are not pruned and well maintained ?
  • Can anyone climb trees, down pipes, or lattice-work to obtain easy access to upper floors?
  • Check to see if you have windows or  skylights that can be removed from the outside or easily broken?
  • Remove ladders and tools that are kept outside to assist any potential intruder?
  • Is there a  hidden house key outside the house where it’s sure to be found?
  • Are all exterior doors  well lighted with particular attention to exterior entrances?
  • Are there shrubs blocking the main entrance and can it be seen from the street?
  • Exterior doors should be at least 1-3/4 inch thick and made from solid wood or reinforced with metal?
  • Exterior doors should  have heavy duty dead bolts and reinforced door jams?
  • Could anyone gain easy access through a mail slot, dryer vent, or pet entrance, side door or through the garage?
  • If doors have glass panels can someone break through and defeat the locking mechanism?
  • Can sliding glass doors be easily lifted out from their frames?
  • Exterior lights and security devices are in good working order and protected from breakage?
  • All doors including from the attached garage leading to the house have a dead bolt?
  • Does your overhead garage door have a working electronic door opener?
  • Does your overhead garage door have any loose, broken or missing door panels or hardware?
  • Always  keep the overhead doors closed, and
  • Always keep your car locked inside the garage?
  • Windows should have reinforced locking devices that can be secured in the open position?
  • All screens and storm windows should have reinforced locks?
  • Ground level windows should have guards or grates?
  • Basement windows that are glass should be  protected by grates or security devices?
  • All valuable  items should be kept in a high quality fire resistant safe or in off-site safety deposit box?
  • Prepare a complete and current video tape or pictures of your home and all your valuables off-site?
  • All firearms should be kept secured and apart from ammunition?

Fire Safety and Fire Prevention

  • Heating system is in proper working order and is inspected by a professional,  for dangerous leaks yearly?
  • Is there sufficient air circulation around appliances that are might overheat?
  • Avoid overloaded circuits, long extension cords runs, and too many devices plugged unto one outlet?
  • Fireplaces and  chimney are free of dangerous build ups that could catch on fire and are cleaned regularly?
  • There is  a protective grate in front of fireplace to prevent sparks, hot logs from rolling into room?
  • Kitchen oven hood is kept clear of greasy build-up that could cause a fire?
  • Smoke detectors are installed on each level and tested weekly?
  • Smoke detector batteries are replaced every 12 months or less?
  • There are working fire extinguisher in kitchen, basement, garage, auto?
  • All family members sleep with bedroom door closed to prevent spread of fire, smoke?
  • All family members practice fire drill, known escape routes, designated meeting pace to go outside?
  • Children know how to use the  phone to get help in an emergency?

Checklists While You are Away

  • Check with your insurance company concerning frequency of visits to your home by someone who is looking after your home
  • Security system is armed?
  • Automatic timers for lights, radio are turned on?
  • Phones are  turned down?
  • Arrangements  for neighbors, a family member or a professional home sitter have been made to watch house, cut, water grass, give house that lived-in look?
  • Avoid any change in normal pattern of opening, shutting drapes, dead give-away lighting patterns?
  • Make arrangements to stop the mail, and newspaper delivery or have someone pick it up daily
  • All regular  yard work is performed ?
  • Arrange to have local police give “special attention” for area beat car if offered in your area?

If you do not see something that you think should be on this list, please let us know by leaving a comment. For more checklists associated with vacant homes, click here.

 

 

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Vacant Home Management Checklists

Property Management SystemYour about to go on vacation and wondering what you need to do about your home while you are away. We put together Vacant Home Management Checklists that you can use to decide what you need to do about your home depending on were you are going and how long you be away. the home in the picture is another example of a home that is vacant and has been boarded up. Someone needs to check on this home also to make sure that nothing is being damaged to leaking water etc.

This is a check list you should consider if you plan to leave your home unoccupied for any length of time. You should take into account both home maintenance issues, home monitoring and home security issues while you are absent

Home maintenance takes into account items that might need repair after storms, lawn care, snow clearing etc. Home monitoring is really all about peace of mind. Knowing that someone is checking your home on a regular basis to make sure everything is ok and then advising you of their visit. Home security covers items to make sure that your home does not advertise that you are not home making it attractive to thieves.

Home security is very important to everyone. Not only do you risk losing your value able possessions, many people feel that their personal space has been violated if their home has been broken into. Protect your home by following a few common sense steps, increase your security and avoid leaving your home as an inviting place to visit by burglars.

While it it is not all inclusive, it is a good start and you can add your own personal items to this list or check with local companies for additional security items to be aware of to keep your home secure.

Vacant Home Management Checklists

    • Arrange for  summer maintenance services lawn, shrubs, garden
    • Turn off the main water intake to avoid frozen pipes in the winter if the furnace does not run
    • Shut off your water heater to save energy and to avoid it boiling dry if you turn off the water
    • Turn off all outside water taps
    • Shut off the main water valve in your home
    • Turn off all taps to things such as dishwashers and clothes washers
    • Run the water once a month, flush toilets to avoid toilets running dry from evaporation, run water in all sinks for the same reason
    • Disconnect all electronic items to reduce power requirements and protect devices from electrical surges (Note: only unplug the refrigerator if it is empty)
    • Arrange for yard maintenance in the growing seasons
    • Arrange for plant watering inside and out
    • Hire pool or hot tub maintenance if required
    • Contract Snow clearance in the winter – driveway and walkways
    • Arrange with professional property manager/ house sitter to watch over your house

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