Since the owner will be absent some (or most) of the time, it is important to make plans to take care of the property. If the vacation property is a condominium unit, the maintenance responsibilities for the building, grounds and common areas will already be taken care of by the condominium association. For most types of properties, however, the owner will need to hire someone (or a company) to keep an eye on the interior and exterior of the property and manage the everyday maintenance responsibilities (such as lawn and pool care) as well as unexpected repairs and emergencies (such as a flooded unit or a leaky roof).

A property management firm can provide home watch services that may include:

  • Weekly visits to the home to check the condition of the interior and exterior
  • Running the water and flushing toilets, checking appliances, bringing in mail/newspapers, watering plants
  • Replacing air filters, light bulbs, etc.
  • Looking for and identifying any problems
  • Arranging for and oversight of repair and maintenance services
  • Housecleaning services before and after owner visits
  • Home set up (arrival services) for owner visits, including adjusting the thermostat, turning on the water, turning on the hot water heater, wood in the fireplace, snow removal, etc.
  • Departure services including making sure all doors and windows are locked, adjusting the thermostat, garbage/recycling removal, winterizing, etc.
  • Concierge services, such as dining reservations or concert tickets
  • Acting as local point of contact for alarm systems
Although property management services add to the home's monthly expenses, the costs can be worth it in the long run since the property will be well-cared for, and any problems can be quickly identified and corrected. Water damage that is caught right away, for example, may require small repairs; left for a while, however, that small leak could mean replacing a roof, ceilings, furnishings, floors, as well as costly mold remediation.

Next: Vacation Property Walkthrough: Renting Out A Vacation Home »


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