What is a Home Watch Service?
It is a professional and VITAL service providing you both convenience and peace of mind about your absentee or vacation property. Licensed and certified professionals perform regular visual house checks of your property using a checklist custom tailored to your specific needs and concerns. We report on the status of your property and identify any issues requiring immediate attention. In the event of problems or emergencies, we will take corrective actions based upon our best judgment and care to minimize any further damage to your property. We also take a series of proactive preventative steps to prepare your property for storms and winter. We maintain constant communication with our clients so they know what is happening with their properties.
Why do I need a Home Watch Service?
The real question should be why are you not using this service? If you own a vacation home and spend any length of time away, there are so many things that can possibly go wrong: vandalism, heating system failures, storm damage, electrical failures, plumbing leaks, rodent infestations, and mold are just but a few examples. We also have extreme weather during all seasons of the year from severe thunderstorms in the spring and summer to heavy snow and ice storms in the winter plus damaging winds at all times of the year. If any damage occurs that is covered by your insurance, your policy requires immediate notification to your carrier. How can you as an absentee owner meet your insurance obligations if you don’t have any knowledge of what has happened? A Home Watch professional is your advocate as well as your eyes and ears in these situations. We document all issues and also provide pictures for any claims purposes. We also save you the hassle and time required in dealing with these issues that would otherwise impact your limited time at the Lake.
What happens if a problem or issue occurs in my home while I'm away?
Your Home Watch professional will assess each issue and make a determination as to the best solution under the given circumstances. If emergency measures are required to prevent further damage, those measures will be taken to provide the fastest and most cost effective solution. In a non-emergency situation, you will be contacted and recommended solutions will be presented to determine the best course of action in resolving the matter. In all cases, you will be notified about any problems and steps taken or recommended.
Is a Home Watch service also a security service?
This is not our primary function. However, having a Homewatch professional periodically inspecting your property can be a crime deterrent since there is always someone randomly checking on your property. We do provide alarm response to clients with monitored alarm systems whereby we will meet with the responding authorities to open your home and verify the status of the conditions creating the alarm and take steps necessary to clear and reset the alarm. In a number of instances we have found that either storm damaged electrical equipment or defective components have caused the alarm to occur. We will arrange for your contractor or ours to come in and take corrective action to repair or replace these items. If we determine that a crime has been committed, LCHW will contact the local police for an investigation and request a case number on your behalf. Clients will always be notified of any call-out or contact with your alarm company or emergency service providers.
Why is it important to use a service that is an accredited member of the NHWA?
The Home Watch industry is relatively new and many of the businesses currently operating don’t necessarily have the correct type of business insurance to cover the myriad of tasks involved in properly watching your home and other personal property assets. Many have also not been properly trained, licensed and certified. A lot of these businesses try to operate solely under a standard general contractor’s liability policy and these policies are not adequately tailored for most client’s needs. Only certified members of the NHWA have access to industry specific insurance that is truly tailored to protect our clients. Why risk using uncertified, improperly insured businesses?
I have a neighbor or family member watch my home, shouldn't this be adequate?
Neighbors and family members are well intentioned but are busy with their own lives. They may or may not stop by on a regular basis and most are not properly trained as to what to look for and proper steps to take to protect your home. Additionally, they don’t carry any insurance in the event that they miss something or inadvertently do something that result in damage to your home. Do you really want to put your personal relationships at risk when something does happen?
Does a Homewatch Service also perform other services beyond the basics of managing and watching properties?
Most Homewatch Companies, including Lake Chelan Homewatch (LCHW), also provide other services ranging from basic Handyman tasks, delivery contact services, concierge services, grocery shopping, watercraft and stored vehicle management. In Chelan County and specifically in the Manson Urban Growth Boundary Area, all vacation rentals are also required to provide for a local contact within a one hour’s drive of the rental property. Since we are based in the Chelan/Manson area, we can act as your local contact in fulfillment of these permit requirements under our VRBO Services.
What measures do you take to ensure our privacy and the security of our keys, remote controls and personal information?
LCHW puts the privacy, confidentiality and security of our clients as our top priority. We secure your keys and any remote controls in a locked keybox and each is identifiable through an encrypted code known only to LCHW staff. All other personal information is password protected and only accessible to bonded key staff members of our firm.
We have preferred contractors and vendors, will you coordinate with them and monitor their services?
Yes, we will. We not only work with your vendors but we also have a group of other providers available who can fill in the gaps when your providers are unable to respond. All of our providers have been vetted by us. LCHW does NOT recommend or work with businesses without first doing a thorough screening of their business practices, personal and professional references, licensing and insurance. As part of our service, we will monitor the performance of your providers and will report any deficiencies in their work. We have found that these providers tend to be more accountable when they know that someone locally based is frequently monitoring their work. Our years of construction experience make us uniquely qualified to work with and understand the relevant issues affecting your property. We also are able to handle many of the smaller items with our own staff.
Can you monitor our pool and spa and advise if actions need to be taken?
Yes, we can. We have a full and complete testing kit and instruments to check all of your water parameters and can calculate if your water is properly balanced and can verify if you have sufficient stabilizer to prevent rapid chlorine loss. We perform Calcite Saturation Index (CSI) analysis to verify the corrosion or scaling potential of your water to help minimize damage and shortened lives of your equipment. Our hot weather combined with winds results in rapid evaporation and loss of water with potential damage to pool pumps and plumbing lines. We check and adjust water levels so pumps are not damaged from these events.
Do you perform house sitting purposes?
We don’t provide this specific service but we will meet with any of your providers, subcontractors or delivery carriers at your home when needed. Most of our clients include us in email notifications from Fed Ex or UPS for package deliveries so that we know when you have something being shipped. We inspect all received merchandise and put it into your home. We will also notify you if there is any shipping damage to your parcels so you can file a timely claim with the shipper/vendor. We document all damage with detailed pictures so your interests are protected. We can also sort and forward any mail if you need us to do so. Need your wine shipment picked up? No problem! Our goal is to take away the cares and concerns of trying to manage a second home so you can truly enjoy your limited and precious time at the Lake.
What are the benefits of using Lake Chelan HomeWatch for my home?
- Peace of mind in knowing that your valuable assets are being frequently checked on by well trained, insured and certified professionals!
- We bring over 35 years of professional construction industry background in recommending and implementing the best solutions to your home maintenance issues.
- We use G.P.S. real time positioning and state of the art reporting systems so you have clear documentation that shows we were physically at your house doing our job. Others can say they’ve been to your house, but as a homeowner, how do you really know if they did indeed show up? Our unique reports are critical for documenting to your insurance company that you have a qualified professional physically on site on a regular schedule. Most insurance policies will not cover a home that has been vacant for more than 30 days. Our unique reporting software exceeds anything that other Home Watch providers are using. We believe our system gives our clients an extremely valuable tool in perfecting any potential damage claims with their insurance provider.
- We treat each home as if it were our very own! We deeply care about our clients and the valuable properties they’ve entrusted to us. We are proactive and watch for potential problems and communicate extensively with our clients on a frequent basis.
- We are on call 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week so you can be assured that your property and your needs will not be neglected.
Do you see many issues come up while checking on homes?
We find issues on homes of all ages, whether they are new construction or not. There are many components that insure the proper and safe operation of a home and its many systems. The lack of frequent use or exercise of these systems, which is typical with vacation and absentee homes, generally results in problems showing up sooner than your regular home. Our cold, dry winters and hot summers put additional stresses on heating and plumbing systems resulting in various failures, some more catastrophic than others. We recently encountered a fairly new home that had multiple plumbing breaks from freeze damage resulting in the flow of 150,000 gallons of water throughout the home over a two month period. Needless to say, there was tremendous damage and major costs for the homeowner. Unfortunately, this homeowner had not hired our services prior to leaving for the winter, they were counting on family members to keep an eye on things. The risk is too great not to have your vacant home frequently checked on by a qualified professional.