Most Florida homeowners understand the importance of having someone periodically visit their home while they are away. Some owners would rather “save a few bucks” by having a neighbor or the “neighborhood guy” watch their home. Other homeowners take the time to research their options, talk to others, and decide to hire a professional home watch company. So who is right? Do you select the home watch hobbyist or home watch professional?
The hobbyist is that person who wants to earn a few bucks on the side or enjoys collecting compensation in the form of an occasional dinner or bottle of scotch. The simple truth is, the hobbyist is always well intentioned, but seldom prepared to deliver the basic protections afforded you by a home watch professional.
Consider for a moment that you decide to rely on the “neighborhood guy” or even a legitimate sounding company, “Nicl’s Yes, We-Can-Do-Anything Home Watch”. Why not, others in the neighborhood use them. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, when the hobbyist damages an item in your home, your recourse is to suffer the unfortunate loss or seek reimbursement from someone you regard as a neighbor or friend. Even worse, when the hobbyist is injured on your property, they could actually sue you for payment of their medical bills. What about the hobbyist whose idea of “watching” your home is driving by or looking out their window once in a while and saying to themselves: “Yup, the house is still there”. What about the neighbor who decides to go on vacation even though they are supposed to be watching your home? Sounds ridiculous, right? You only need to hear these stories a few times before you realize that relying on a hobbyist could cost you much more in the long run than hiring a home watch professional who is insured and bonded.
There are still some seasonal homeowners who blindly close the doors for months at a time without retaining the services of anyone to care for the property. Do you know many insurance providers charge higher premiums to homeowners that leave homes vacant for periods of 30 days or more? Even worse, they deny your claim on the basis that you failed to adequately care for property and that if someone was watching your vacant home, the claim could have been prevented.
Are all home watch companies the same? NO, THEY ARE NOT.
The most important factor that distinguishes the “good” from the “bad”, is whether they carry proper insurance. There are many companies and individuals practicing home watch that do not have any insurance or are not covered for the services they provide. You may be surprised to learn that many companies are insured as dog walkers, pet sitters or to provide cleaning services, but they are not insured for home watch. For your protection, take the time to ask them to show you proof of insurance, to explain their procedures for handling your home keys and codes, whether their employees are vetted and how, whether they have a policy that protects your privacy.
Lastly, ask the professional home watch company how they communicate with you. Do they document each visit? Do they use electronic reporting that includes photographs? Is the report embedded with GPS so you know the date and time they visit your home? Make sure you meet any potential home watch provider to be sure you are comfortable with him/her. Do they appear to be trustworthy and responsible? Do they conduct themselves in a professional manner? Do you feel confident that they will properly communicate with you and care for your home as though it was their own?
After you do all of the above, then decide who would you rather have. A home watch hobbyist or a professional. Our advice, don’t gamble with one of your biggest investments. Call GMan Home Watch because, “When You Are Away You Need To Know, GMAN is on the scene”! We are a local home watch company serving within a 12 mile radius of West Villages, Florida. Contact GMAN Home Watch at: (941) 914-9104, www.gmanhomewatch.com.