Tag: Residence Property Management

Residential Home Management Check Lists

Residential Home Management Check ListsAs a property manager of a home on behalf of a client, what are the things you need to pay attention to? There are many, but some are more important than others and we will try to cover a few of these here. This web site is aimed at the home owner and although this particular post is about property manager’s, we thought it would be useful to understand how a property manager looks at the job! If you understand the other person’s objective, then you will have a better perspective on how to deal with property managers and what to look for when hiring a property manager! This is important for a number of reasons – peace of mind, financial and contractual!

Primary Focus of a Property Manager

It does not matter what anyone tries to tell you, the fundamental focus of a property manager is to make money. If they cannot make a profit in the services they are offering to you, they may just refuse to take you on or keep you on as a client. If you can recognize this fundamental truth, then you may be able to get the services you need at a price that you can afford! It is all about compromise and negotiation after that.

Most property managers will talk about the great service they offer, the reports they provide and the communications they provide to you the client. They will indicate that this is their number one objective.  Avoiding putting this down on paper in a contract is one way of retaining some control over what is contractually required. If you want something done, make sure it is listed in the contract, for how much, when it is to be done and to what level of quality! This may seem like overkill or indicate that you may not trust a person. It is really just a professional way to do business.

Residential Home Management Check Lists

With that said, we collected a list of things that can be considered when you provide services as a property manager to look after someone’s  home while they are away on vacation:

  • Frequency of visits to your clients home
    • Daily, 48 hours , 72 hours etc
  • Reporting requirements
    • Paper record
    • Email
    • Text msg
    • How soon after each visit
  • Specific items to check while in the home
    • Doors
    • Windows
    • Alarm system
    • heating system
    • Water leaks
    • Snow load
    • Pool
  • What to do in case of an emergency
    • Contact emergency contact
    • Call police
    • Advise insurance company
    • Call family , family friend or neighbor
  • Phone numbers to call
    • Your emergency number
    • Your insurance company
    • Police
  • Authority to make repairs
    • Specified limit with no authority
    • Temporary repairs to prevent further damage
  • Other Services that you may require
    • Water plants indoors
    • Water gardens outdoors
    • lawn care
    • Pool care
    • Snow removal
    • etc

These are the basics and everyone who needs their homes looked after will have more items to add to the list based on their own particular situation. We have not addressed pets in this case, however for those that need these services, you should add feeding, medicine requirements, exercise and emergency veterinary directions. As a property manager you will need to decide what services you will after including looking after pets, dog walking etc. Not everyone wants to take on the responsibility of looking after pets.

Providing Services as a Property Manager

Always have a contract and spell out the terms you need to have in it regarding the services you are offering to a residential consumer. This is a great way to manage expectations and avoid customer disappointment. We always include a questionnaire which we ask the client to fill in were they outline exactly what they need and any special instructions they wish to provide.  This is basic communications were you make it clear to both what is needed. I even have the client sign or initial each page.

Permission slips with the associated information are also included to allow us to contact insurance companies, alarm companies and veterinarians that might be needed in case of an emergency with one of the pets.

While this is not a complete checklist, it is a general guideline were we urge both parties to communicate the services provided and the services needed so that there are no misunderstandings.

Your comments are welcome.

 


Home Sitting Services you Should Look For

Home Sitting ServicesIf you are leaving your home vacant for any reason make sure someone will look after it. If you  have decided to hire someone to look after your home while you are away there are precautions you should take to ensure your home is secure. Here is a list of things that you should be looking for them to do. This list applies to your neighbor, one of your relatives, a close friend as well as a professional home sitting service that you might hire. It is to ensure that there are mo miscommunications and that the insurance companies requirements are looked after.

Home Sitting Services – Checklist

Whether you are leaving for the weekend or all winter, the last thing you want to be concerned about is your homes security while you are away.

  • A report after every visit by email, which is very reassuring to many couples vacationing in foreign countries or living at another location while your home is being sold. The status should be provided along with whatever services should be included.
  • Pick up your mail and forward it if needed. This includes mail in your mail box at your home as well as at the post office or one of the neighbor hood post office boxes that are available in some communities. It should also include all of the junk mail that is delivered to our homes and if not removed leaves that not lived in look if not picked up
  • Check on the security of your home, including alarms, windows and doors.
  • Check that there are no water leaks and that the furnace is working properly in the winter time heating your home.
  • Water your plants.
  • Look after the lawn in the summer including cutting your lawn and watering if needed.
  • Monitor subcontractors, such as driveway snow clearing in the winter or lawn cutting services.
  • Miscellaneous services such as
  • pool care,
  • walking the dog or
  • feeding the cat.

Insurance Companies

Many insurance companies require someone to visit your home every 48 to 72 hours, while some are comfortable with a visit once a week. Most want the water shut off so that if there is a leak during a vacancy the water damage will be limited.

As an alternative to relying on friends or family, a professional home sitting service is one way to make sure that everything you need is done to keep your home secure and deal with any emergencies. Look for the following service list if you are hiring a company to look after your home.

  • Home visits on a schedule you choose
  • Reports by email after every visit
  • Fulfill your insurance requirements
  • Reasonable rates – less than you expected
  • Choose only the services you need
  • Short or long-term arrangements
  • Vacation, Business Trip, Relocating

Who Should You Hire

Another issue is who can you trust. Most family members are trust worthy and if you know your neighbors well enough you can usually count on them to help you out for short-term vacations. A long-term vacation is a different thing and may impose on your friends and neighbors more than you want to.  Unless you can return the favor, you might want to consider a professional who is in the business.

Regardless of who you use, it is a good idea to remove anything of value. Jewelry and other valuable items should be removed so that there is no temptation.  Also take pictures or a video of your home for insurance purposes and a record of your home’s valuable items. This is good protection for you for a number of reasons:

  • Provides a record of your belongings
  • Insurance claims need documentation of what you have
  • Helps you recall all of the miscellaneous items that you have in your home which are very difficult to remember in times of stress
  • Protection in terms of anyone coming into your home and removing items of value, you have a record

Comments are welcome about your experiences when you are away and using the services of a home sitter. For more info on burglar deterrents and property management / home security, click here.

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Residential Property Management Categories

Keep your Lawn Healthy over WinterBelieve it or not most people are more concerned about someone breaking into their homes while they are away on vacation or business. The reality is that there is more danger of damage from a variety of other things than what you might not think of. One of the main ones is that your insurance company may require someone to check on your home every couple of days. They need to make sure that the furnace is running and that there is no leaking water. This could be a condition of insurability so we tell everyone to check with their insurance company. Determine what is actually required before they head off on vacation for a couple of weeks. They are all different.

Residential Property Management Categories

There are lots of reasons for hiring someone or arranging with a neighbor or family member to look after your home while you are away. These categories cover the occasional all the way through the full time professional. The following list comprises some of the main reasons why you may want to consider having some one do this on your behalf ( In all cases except for pets, we assume you are gone for a week or more):

  • Pets at home ( Have someone come in to feed and care for your pets)
  • Insurance requirements (24/48/72 hour intervals)
  • Landscaping ( including cut the grass, water the plants)
  • Water indoor plants
  • Make the home look lived in(lights on timers, move lights)
  • Pick up the mail ( hold or send to the homeowner)
  • Remove advertising and papers from front step
  • Check on the water, including sump pumps
  • Turn on the water to fill traps(if vacant for more than 2 weeks)
  • Check security of the home
  • Snow removal
  • Check on the home and report to the home owner
  • Monitor home improvement while the homeowner is away
  • Rent the home
  • Rental property management

There are probably many other reasons for having someone look after your home while you are away or if you plan to rent your home out to someone while you leave the country. It also may be a vacation property or an investment property. If you are reading this post and notice something missing please feel free to leave us a comment.

Additional Property Management Requirements

The requirements are also much different depending on whether you have a traditional home with a front and back yard, vs. a townhouse, a condo or a rental property. The time of year also is a factor since you must arrange for someone to cut the lawn and trim during the summer , while the winter requires someone to clear the snow from the walkway and driveway if you live in areas that receive snow. These all need to be taken into account if you planning on hiring a residential property manager, a house sitter or arranging for some one to look after you home while you are away.

We will be developing customized checklists for people in these various categories.  If they do not quite fit or you have a special situation that we have not covered, please leave us a comment and we will update our lists. We plan on issuing a new post every two weeks so stay tuned to watch for our latest post.

 


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