Second Home, Vacation Getaway, or Investment Property. We Provide Peace of Mind.
YOU’VE INVESTED YOUR HARD-EARNED MONEY on a beautiful vacation or second home, or you have invested in an income property that you rent out. Regardless of how often you use it or if you rent it out, the big question is who will keep an eye on it when you’re out of town or gone for the season? You may want to consider hiring a property inspector or property management service. Here is some advice from Property Manager Katie Thompson of Engel & Völkers Real Estate and Property Management.
Expect the Unexpected
Homeowners quickly learn that owning a second home — particularly one that may be vacant part of the year or occupied by a tenant — requires planning. What are some common things that may happen?
- Animals get inside a vacant home and need removal
- Tree or branches falls on the roof or lot during a hurricane or storm
- Pipes break or faucets drip
- Power outages cause timers to reset and can stop some systems from operating
Property Inspector versus Property Manager
A property inspector is a basic home-monitoring service in which the inspector will do a physical inspection of a vacant or rented house on a regular basis. Typically, the inspector will make bi-weekly visits and will make unscheduled trips if an alarm is tripped or difficult weather passes through the area. The inspector will notify the homeowner of items that may need to be repaired, although he or she won’t do or coordinate any of the repairs.
“Often times on Hilton Head and Bluffton, retirees hire themselves out as property inspectors,” says Katie Thompson. “Many have had good, responsible corporate jobs and want something to keep themselves busy. They can do a good job, but homeowners must be sure that they are getting detailed reports that comply with their insurance companies’ standards. Insurance companies appreciate the reports that our company does as they include date-stamped photographs. This gives the insurance company the confidence and proof that inspections were done. It is unfortunate when a homeowner is denied a claim because their inspector’s documentation was not sufficient. We encourage homeowners to check with their insurance company’s requirements and ensure their inspector’s reports are compliant. Also, the homeowner should make sure that their inspector is bonded and insured.” The cost of an inspector is a small price to pay when you have the peace of mind that your investment is being monitored and your insurance policy will be valid.
A property manager provides a full complement of services. In addition to property inspection services, a property manager will coordinate repairs, manage the regular service companies like landscaping and cleaning, and arrange for post-storm cleanups. For landlords, a property manager will find and screen tenants, get leases signed, collect rents and manage the landlord’s budget. For luxury homeowners, services can be even more bespoke. Katie Thompson says “Some clients want their car at the airport and to arrive in their home where the temperature is just right, the fridge full and the martini is chilled. Our concierge service provides service like this to people who want a completely turnkey and easy luxury lifestyle.”
Second home and investment property homeowners have the option of a property inspector or property manager, and the option of using an independent person or company. Regardless of their choice, it is critical they check with their insurance company to ensure they will be covered for any damage or theft, and check with their profession to ensure they are bonded and insured.