Updated: Mar 29
As a professional home watch company here in Boca Raton, FL we are often asked why such a service is necessary and what could go wrong with an unattended home in South Florida. Usually, this mentality comes because we are fortunate to live in a very safe and somewhat low-crime area. On top of that, many South Florida homes are located in gated communities that have limited access and onsite security. At first glance, we can understand people’s initial reaction, but when you realize the potential hazards of leaving a huge investment such as a vacation villa or second home completely unattended for months at a time, it doesn’t take long to list out the disasters that are just waiting to happen.
So, let’s look at some of the common issues we come across and possible problems that can be minimized or outright eliminated. First and foremost, an absentee service is geared to protect your investment, whether you own another home out of state, or across the country. Also, many South Florida insurance companies will not cover your second home for common issues if you leave your home unattended.
Burglary & Vandalism
One of the biggest threats to your unattended home in South Florida is folks looking to take advantage of abandoned or empty homes. Robbery of a second home is a crime that’s easy to commit and often isn’t discovered for weeks or months later. Truthfully, thinking that the security of your gated community is a deterrent to theft or vandalism is laughable. Often, it’s not a burglar coming in the middle of the night. It might be workers or contractors working nearby, or in some cases, actually at your property. Think of it like this, an unsavory character sees that your South Florida home is empty week after week when they cut your neighbor’s grass. They get to know the schedules of the other residents in the vicinity and know the opportune time to rob you.
With weekly visits by your South Florida home watch professional that are done at different times, your home in South Florida will have a more lived-in appearance. Would-be criminals will be wary of getting caught if they know that someone might be coming by soon. Now, that’s not to say that things still can’t happen, but our home watch services really cut down on the threat.
There are so many ways that water can get into your SFL home and, as you probably know, water can cause major damage in a very short amount of time. Leaking HVAC lines, broken pipes, roof leaks, burst water heaters, and the list goes on. Or, your property could be in a multi-level location and the condo above you could be leaking water down through the walls. We have personally seen this, as well as numerous other issues. Just a few days ago, we were checking a client’s detached guest house in South Florida when we found that the HVAC system froze and the drain lines were dripping water on the floor. Thankfully, it was only for a day. Can you imagine what would have happened if it hadn’t been observed, stopped, and repaired? The damage even for three or four weeks would have been catastrophic with mold on all surfaces of furniture, walls, and ceilings due to the lack of cool dry air from the non-functioning HVAC. Not to mention, our visit also saved the HVAC compressor itself from overheating and burning out.
Water leaks can also happen from missing shingles during a storm, clogged gutters, debris penetrating the roof, etc. When it comes to water, the frequency of the visit is the key to saving your property and it’s why we always do weekly checks, or more if the client prefers.
Bug & Rodent Problems
Here in South Florida, we have what we often refer to as dune squirrels…otherwise known as rats! Of course, we also have a huge population of the ever-present, pesky and invasive squirrels. You might associate rats with a city or trash heap, but the favorable climate and lush vegetation make for a wonderful home to rats, rodents, and other problematic wildlife. Just like you and I, rats and mice like nice houses too! Other rodents and all types of lizards are also opportunistic and will find their way into building structures of all types in search of food, shelter, and nesting materials of their own. Rodents love the insulation found in most homes to make their nests with.
Besides the four-legged guys, there are a variety of insects that prefer the inside of your SFL property, including spiders, bees, beetles, termites, ants, and more. We can be your eyes and ears to these potential problems.
Mold & Mildew
South Florida may be wonderful, but the climate here in Boca Raton can be torture for your home! From excessive UV rays shortening your roof life to the high humidity and constant (summer) afternoon lightning potentially damaging your property, it’s a mix that can wreak havoc on a home that’s all closed up and can’t breathe.
Have you ever come back from vacation and even your own home has a slight musty smell? Multiply that by weeks and you can imagine the mold, mildew, and odors that can build up in your ‘home away from home.’ This, often, will need mold remediation. Our weekly visits include monitoring the HVAC system (the first line of defense against mold) opening windows and doors, running water, cycling appliances, and keeping your South Florida home ‘lived-in.’ Doing these things ensures that freshwater is always in the pipes and that there’s plenty of air circulation.
Vendor & Contractor Verification
Let‘s face it, some people are lazy and, if left unattended, they don’t always perform their work to the agreed-upon specifications. This applies to landscapers, pool companies, housekeepers, etc. When folks know that you don’t live here, or that nobody is coming behind them to check their work, many will begin to cut corners. Having an absentee company like a South Florida home watcher manage the daily goings-on at your house will protect it from lots of issues and also make sure that things run smoothly. We ensure the contractors and service people working on your SFL home are performing well and getting the job done.
We don’t recommend any contractor unless we have had extremely good experiences with them on multiple properties. We make certain they have great references, all the necessary insurance, skills, and experience. Above all, we want to have a good feeling about them, in just the same way that you would as the homeowner. Not all home watch services in South Florida take their job as seriously as we do! Call us old school, but we still believe our promise means something.
Arrival & Departure Inspections
The whole reason to have a vacation home in South Florida is to relax and enjoy your time here. Nobody wants to come into town and have to deal with opening up their home and getting it ready to use. And nobody wants to have to feel like their trip is just that much shorter because of all that needs to be done to close up the house when your visit is over. Let Safe Home Management save you time and help you to get more enjoyment out of your South Florida property. We can handle getting your home ready for your arrival, from making sure your vehicle is ready to go, to stocking the pantry, uncovering the grill, and all the other ‘little things’.
When you’re ready to leave, just leave it to us. Never wonder if you left the water running or locked all the doors. We will make sure everything is back in order and that your home In South Florida is once again safe and secure.
Lastly, I want to say a quick mention about the peace of mind you will have to know that your South Florida home is being looked after during hurricane season (We hate to even mention the words!) Over the last few years, we definitely have had a new experience with all the brutal weather. Safe Home Management can manage the vendors you hire to get your home in South Florida as secure as possible before a hurricane. Knowing your home is safe as soon as the storm has passed will help ease your fears. If there is damage or work that needs to be done, we are here and ready to go to get things back in order.
If you own property here in South Florida and you are not a full-time resident, let Safe Home Management make owning a vacation home in South Florida a more enjoyable experience. We are committed to protecting your SFL property and take our responsibility very seriously. In addition, if you are wondering if buying a second home in South Florida is a good choice for you, Safe Home Management can help walk you through how the absentee owner process works, and help you to make a wise decision about purchasing a home in South Florida.
Visit our blog page to read more interesting tips on how to keep your South Florida home safe!