1 stop home watch in Naples 1

Home Watch – Frequency and Qualifications?

Owning 1-Stop Home Watch Service, a professional home watch company, I am often asked how frequently home watch visits should be performed. I will share from my experience and knowledge what you, as a seasonal homeowner, should consider when evaluating how often home watch visits should be performed and what qualifications the home watch inspector should have? The National Home Watch Association (NHWA) defines a home watch visit as a “visual inspection of a home or property looking for obvious issues”. Below I will list what issues you should be most concerned with and how to mitigate those risks through timely home watch visits, technology, and the qualifications the home watch inspector should possess.

Home Issues
My business is in SW Florida so the major issues every homeowner needs to consider is water damage and mold and mildew. Each part of the country has specific issues and while water damage is common to all parts of the country, mold and mildew is a problem that is much more prevalent in the South and particularly SW Florida.

Insurance Issues
Insurance companies agree that water damage is the most common claim for damage in the home. Mold and mildew associated with water damage, is often a factor of how soon the water damage is discovered. This is the primary reason insurance companies require you to have your vacant home inspected on a regular basis to look for the issues described above. Some insurance companies have begun denying claims for damage occurring more than 14 days after the original cause.

Home Watch Visit Frequency
The common conclusion reached, knowing the above, is that weekly home watch visits are the best way to mitigate the risks of damage. But is that true? We know from the above that mold and mildew can form in as few as 72 hours with loss of AC. So weekly inspections alone cannot guarantee protection from that possibility.

What about using technology? The NHWA has partnered with a company called HOUSESETTER, that produces a device which continuously monitors temperature, humidity and power through a cell-based device that includes a 3-day backup battery and allows up to four people on the alert list. With this device you and your home watch provider will know what the conditions are in your home even in a loss of power event likely to occur from a tropical storm or hurricane. I have personally found this device has alerted me on many occasions of a failed air conditioner just a few hours after the event. And in the example below it alerted me to a water damage incident, though the manufacturer does not guarantee this will catch all water damage issues.

Conclusion: Home watch visit frequency alone does not provide the best protection. I give the options the following ranking:

Who should you have perform home watch services in your home?
There are literally thousands of friends and neighbors in Naples, Florida where I live who are watching homes for seasonal homeowners. The risks as described above will not be mitigated by an untrained person walking in to make sure the AC is on and doing a quick look see. More than 30% of my clients searched for a professional Home Watch provider because of some shortfall or issue that arose with their previous home watch person. The seasonal home is likely the largest investment you will make outside your primary home of residence and trusting it to someone who is not a professional is a huge risk. States have not yet required licensing for the Home Watch profession, but to be sure your assets are protected, the following minimum qualifications are a must have.

Minimum Requirements

Additional protection

The content of this blog is the sole opinion of its author and is not officially endorsed by any organization. You are welcome to comment on the contents