Updated: Mar 30, 2022
We are typically asked, “What frequency of home watch visits do you recommend for a South Florida home?” Every client has different needs, expectations, and concerns regarding their seasonal home in South Florida when they leave town for several months. We are going to share with you 7 reasons why we recommend weekly home watch visits (inspections, checks, etc.) in an unoccupied or vacant home or condo in South Florida. You then can decide which works best for you.
Most South Florida home watch providers will offer weekly, every other week, or bi-weekly (some call it bi-monthly) home watch visits to their clients' homes in South Florida…all are acceptable. Some South Florida home watch providers will offer monthly home watch visits to their clients…this is not acceptable. Too much can go wrong in an unoccupied or vacant South Florida home in 30 days! The South Florida public is counting on us (home watch providers in South Florida) to guide them in a manner that will minimize unnecessary damage or risk to their unoccupied or vacant homes.
7 REASONS WHY I RECOMMEND WEEKLY HOME WATCH VISITS FOR YOUR SOUTH FLORIDA HOME:
#1 SMALL ISSUES BECOME BIG ISSUES:
We all know that small issues become big issues when we don’t address them head-on. As a homeowner in South Florida, you rely on and hope that you properly closed down and secured your home before leaving town. Well, what happens when things occur that are out of your control? Let’s say the air conditioning system goes out during our hot and humid Florida summer months. How quickly will the relative humidity rise in your unoccupied home in South Florida? We know that increased humidity is one of the main contributing factors to surface mold growth and blooms in an unoccupied home. If the air conditioning issue was discovered and addressed within 3 days of occurring rather than 14 days, would it make a difference? Yes…absolutely! Catching a small issue before it becomes a big issue can mean the difference between damage and disaster.
#2 WHEN IT HAPPENS TO YOU:
Many people believe that if damage hasn’t happened in the past, chances are their South Florida home should be just fine. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. We’ve all heard the sayings, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong” and “It’s not a matter of if, but when”. We have several clients that we service their South Florida homes every week. Most of the time, all goes well and there are no visible abnormalities or areas of concern…until there are! Our inspector walked into a first-floor condo (for a weekly visit) and literally found a steady stream of water dripping from the ceiling onto the tile floor. Another inspector walked into another home (for a weekly visit) after a client recently departed and saw water flowing out of the house and down the driveway due to a cracked pipe. Both visits were for clients that hired us for a weekly service. Think about what would have happened if 2-weeks went by without us discovering the damage. The damage could have been exponential.
#3 INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS:
Some South Florida homeowners insurance policies may have a clause in them that requires an unoccupied or vacant home to be checked on within a specified number of days. The clause can be a bit vague because it does not specify who needs to check the home. If your insurance policy states that your unoccupied or vacant home in South Florida must be checked within 10 days and your home watch provider in South Florida checks it every 2-weeks, then you need to change the frequency of visits to weekly. You do not want to have an insurance claim denied because your home was unoccupied for 14 consecutive days without being checked on. Also, many South Florida homeowner policies have a Water Damage 14-Day Exclusion and homeowners have no clue it’s even in there. This means if the water damage occurs in your unoccupied South Florida home and it was discovered to have occurred more than 14 days prior, then the claim would be denied. The insurance company sends out a water damage expert to assess the damage to gauge the time frame of when the water damage occurred. It could have occurred from wind-driven rain, a leaking water heater, or even a clogged A/C drain line. The water damage expert’s job is to protect the insurance company’s interests. Our suggestion is for you to contact your insurance agency/carrier and find out if such clauses exist in your policy.
Many clients of ours rent out their South Florida homes or condo seasonally. It’s a great way to generate some additional income to cover costs associated with owning a second home (management fees, property taxes, utilities, and maintenance costs). We assist several clients with rental check-in and check-out walkthroughs, etc. If you generate rental income from your South Florida home, then you can write off the expenses incurred for home watch services as a tax deduction. If you can write off your South Florida home watch expenses, then you may as well utilize weekly visits. You’re essentially beefing up the safety of your South Florida
home with little to no additional cost due to the tax benefit. Always seek professional guidance from your CPA or accountant first.
#5 SERVICED FIRST:
Each South Florida home watch provider runs its business uniquely. However, most companies give a “serviced first” perk to their weekly clients and our company does the same. We offer two frequencies for our home watch clients in South Florida (weekly and twice a month). All clients are treated equally and offered the same service except for emergencies and natural disasters. In those situations, our weekly clients are always placed at the top of the list. When Hurricane made landfall in South Florida back in September 2017, resources were stretched. The hurricane passed through on a Sunday evening, Monday was the day to go out and assess damage at our own homes, and Tuesday was the first day to go out and assess damage at our South Florida clients’ homes. The first clients to be serviced were our weekly clients. A post-storm check was completed for every weekly client’s home by the end of the day Tuesday. All other clients were serviced as quickly as possible after that. Servicing our weekly clients first when an emergency or a natural disaster hits, is our small way of saying thank you for the constant and continued business provided to our company year-round from those clients.
Some prospective South Florida home watch clients feel that their Wi-Fi thermostat and video cameras are enough to get them by when they are away. While those are very good devices to utilize, they should never replace a trusted South Florida home watch professional from visiting to conduct a home watch inspection/check while you're away. Those devices are great if you have a temperature/humidity spike or if there is criminal activity at your home. However, those devices won’t know if a significant roof leak was to occur in your back bedroom ceiling. If the leak happened today, and we had several days of heavy summer rain, what kind of water damage would be sustained in 7 days or 14 days? Again, this is another reason to utilize a weekly South Florida home watch service.
#7 WHAT IFS:
No one wants to spend money on “what ifs”. Unfortunately, if you are not prepared for the “what ifs”, then you could be stuck with the “could haves, would haves, and should haves” after the fact. We view a home watch as a necessity in an unoccupied or vacant South Florida home. It’s essentially like an insurance policy. No one likes to pay for insurance, but when something does go wrong, you are so glad you have it! If you truly stop and think about the kind of investment your South Florida home is, hiring a South Florida home watch service is a no-brainer. If you are going to utilize home watch, then I would strongly encourage you to utilize a weekly home watch service in South Florida.
Check out our blog page for more interesting home management tips for your South Florida home