Congratulations, on your new seasonal home, now you’re officially a snowbird. Or maybe you’re taking an extended year long vacation, or being temporarily relocated for your work. Leaving your home unattended is not the best strategy. For one thing your homeowners insurance may not cover a claim on a vacant house due to damage caused by storms, burst or leaking pipes, floods and other unforeseen events where small damage can quickly become a major costly problem if not addressed immediately. This information will help you know what to look out for when hiring a Home Watch company.
What To Look For When Hiring A Home Watch Company
Finding the best Home Watch Company to care for your home while you’re away is one of the most important things you can do to protect your home when away. A Home Watch company will visit your empty home on a regular basis to check for problems, report back to you, and help your home look more lived in.
Performing some investigation is key to picking the best provider. You should do as much research on the businesses as possible before hiring a Home Watch company. Here are some of the most important things to look for.
Insured and Bonded
A home watch company should carry at least $1 million in general liability insurance coverage. You should always ask for proof of insurance before you sign a contract. Home Watch is not yet a regulated industry so there are people who are running Home Watch services who are not insured and bonded which could turn into liability issues for you. Some of these hobby home watchers can be unskilled or not reliable.
Members of an Association
Look for companies that have taken extra steps to be trained or accredited in the Home Watch field. The National Home Watch Association provides accreditations to companies that meet high-level criteria of professionalism. The International Home Watch Alliance is another non-profit organization set up to help ensure a standard of care and professionalism for Home Watch companies. These organizations set standards and provide accreditation for Home Watch companies in the United States and Canada. A local Naples Florida based organization called Your Home Watch Professionals also trains and evaluates Home Watch companies.
Proof of Home Visits And Communicate Problems
Look for a Home Watch company that uses reporting software to provide you with online reports after each visit so you can easily check the status of your property. This is an easy way to know they are doing the work they agreed to perform. A software which utilizes geofencing technology will provide hard evidence that a visit was made to your property. Date, time & GPS position of the reporter is captured at your property and this information can be integrated right into the report satisfying any requirements your insurance company might have.
A good Home Watch company will provide digital reports to you about their visits. A great Home Watch Company will provide proof that they’ve been at your home and provide the report, which will satisfy insurance requirements and give you peace of mind.
Many home watch companies also offer additional services such as handyman work, preparing a home for the owner’s return, stocking the refrigerator before you return, preparing for hurricanes, pet sitting or other tasks. See what their additional offerings are in case there are any additional services you could benefit from.
Also, check to be sure that if there should be problems at your house the company is prepared to either help fix the problem or are connected to the right people to fix it while you are away. A professional home watch company will notify you of urgent issues, bring in the right contractors to fix problems with your permission and manage the process, and alert law enforcement if there are signs of a break-in or vandalism.
References and Reviews
Ask for and contact references. Check and see if their clients are happy with them. See if they provide the services they say they do and what experience they have with the company as problem solvers when issues arise. Are they responsive to deal with issues? Do they keep clients informed?
Hiring a Home Watch company shouldn’t be done lightly. You’re going to trust one of your biggest investments to the company you select. Do your research and ask as many questions as you need to ensure that you have hired a professional that will allow peace of mind while you are away.