Friday, October 23, 2020

Home Watch Services – Consumers Beware


Your Home Watch Professionals’ Diane Pisani (second from right) developed a home watch training curriculum. Her goal is to “build a group of home-watch providers who are trained, trusted and tested.” Donna Wadsworth of Naples and Susan Russo of Marco Island (in blue shirts) took the course. Photos Courtesy of Susan Russo

Your Home Watch Professionals’ Diane Pisani (second from right) developed a home watch training curriculum. Her goal is to “build a group of home-watch providers who are trained, trusted and tested.” Donna Wadsworth of Naples and Susan Russo of Marco Island (in blue shirts) took the course. Photos Courtesy of Susan Russo

Year-round Marco residents usually start noticing the signs of the arrival of “snowbirds” as early as mid-October. Post Irma seasonal residents arrived earlier than normal to check on the condition of their properties. When they left in the spring, some of them handed over the keys to their homes to a friendly neighbor to keep an eye on their winter home; others employed the services of professional home watchers.

In the summer, a house closed off with no AC will have higher humidity levels, allowing mold to thrive.

In the summer, a house closed off with no AC will have higher humidity levels, allowing mold to thrive.

What makes a good home watch service? According to the National Home Watch Association (NHWA), “Employing good professionals can make the difference between owning a seasonal dream home or facing a costly nightmare.” The home watch business in Florida is an unregulated industry. Anyone can start a home watch business by simply accepting a set of keys from a friend or neighbor.

Susan Russo checks the connection to the dishwasher, and under the sink for signs of mold and insects.

Susan Russo checks the connection to the dishwasher, and under the sink for signs of mold and insects.

According to Donna Wadsworth of The Beach Home Watch and Concierge Services, “Home watching, if not performed with expertise, can be costly, not only to the homeowner, but the home watcher, as well.” Donna Wadsworth and Susan Russo started their home watch company because as realtors they saw many vacant properties and realized how easily things can go wrong. They joined the National Home Watch Association to ensure they meet the highest standards in the industry.

What happens during a routine home watch visit? Most home watch professionals know that water should be turned off when the home is vacant. On each visit, they will turn the water on (slowly) and cycle it by running it in the sinks, tubs and showers, and operate appliances. They use their flashlight, hygrometer, infrared temperature sensor and moisture meter to do a comprehensive check, looking for irregularities, insect infestations and early signs of water damage.

Professional home watch services have started using a software for reporting visits and observations to their clients, and they have to be at the property to activate the software. Donna Wadsworth also added that, “It is a cautionary fact that some insurance companies can deny a claim if there is not proof that a vacant home is being watched regularly.”

Diane Pisani, founder of Your Home Watch Professional believes home watch service is a vital service for all seasonal residents. Pre-Irma, these services prepared their clients’ homes before the storm, and they visited their clients’ homes the moment it was safe to go out. There had not been a major storm in 12 years, and tropical storm Irma “tested the mettle” of home watch services in Southwest Florida.

Diane Pisani urges homeowners to thoroughly vet home watch services by asking the following questions: Are they trained, tested, insured and bonded and background checked? Is it a business or a hobby? Diane has been providing home watch services since 2004. For more information visit www.yourhwp.com.

2 responses to “Home Watch Services – Consumers Beware”

  1. WHICH CITIES DO YOU PROVIDE SERVICE TO? HOW OFTEN DO YOU CHECK THE PROPERTY AND WHAT ARE YOUR RATES?

  2. This is why I felt it so important to join an organization like the National Home Watch Association. They provide me me with the guidance and tools necessary to be a professional home watch business. There are organizations out there that call themselves some sort of “home watch professional” organization but have few members. The NHWA has over 200 members, professional certification, on-going training, annual conferences and is leading the way to make the Home Watch Industry a recognized business at the national level. Well worth my investment. If you are considering a home watch business check out the National Home Watch Association.

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