Do you need it

Absolutely. I have a friend with a second home in Idaho. They have a beautiful home on a small ranch that is for Christmas and summers. Its a short hop from northern California and its a beautiful state with inexpensive land values. They got a lot of land, great views and space for a very affordable price….at least to us Californians!

After being away from the ranch for most of the winter, the family arrived only to find that there had been a leak in the kitchen which had dripped for many months. Well, you can imagine the damage. The leak had wended its way from the P trap below the kitchen sink to flood the lino floors. It then slowly worked its way into the hallway and the floor boards of the first bathroom. The damage was extensive.

The Damage

First the lino had begun to lift up and the floor boards below were wet and molding. The lino had to be removed and the floor boards had to dry. Then a mold cleaner was professionally applied by a local company to be sure the family wasn’t exposed.

Then the floor boards in the hallway had to be replaced because they were thoroughly wet and moldy. They would no longer lay flat and simply had to be pulled up and new boards laid down.

The entire house had a wet damp smell that would not go away. A wonderful family experience was ruined because they did not have anyone watching the home during their long periods of absence

The Cure

Get a property manager. There are companies that offer management for vacation homes. They do manage a little differently, because they are vacant for long periods and therefore they must be visited. Property management firms in rural or vacation areas have services designed to deal with the vacation homes special needs. In addition to all the general property management needs all properties require

1. Find one that will visit the property bi weekly

2. Be sure they will visit before and after all major storms to be sure the house is shuttered and that any damage can be assessed and taken care of immediately.

3. Repairs: Be sure to have a cap on all repairs. Any major expenses should be approved and you should be sent receipts for any work done above the allowed amount. Try to keep the amount that does not need your approval below $750.00

3.Vacation Home Rentals: Vacation home property managers will manage holiday or off season rentals by the week or weekend. Some are set up to book rentals for you. You can expect some kind of revenue share or flat fee service, but it may be worth it.

4.Be sure they will provide cleaning services and schedule maintenance

And Buy These Tools

CO Monitor

A CO monitor will help you protect your family from the damaging effects of carbon monoxide and give you the peace of mind in knowing that you are doing your part to protect your family. Low prices on individual carbon monoxide monitors.They genreally run about $50 and can save a life. Having one of thesse in your second home is wise since the system may only be used for a few months a year and can become faulty without your knowledge.

Water Shut Off Valve

Sophisticated water-sensor systems automatically shut off the water supply to a specific appliance or to the entire house when a leak is detected. Basically, they sense when the flow of water is high and will shut off the water to prevent a prolonged leak when no one is living there. Some can be installed by a home owner; for others, a plumber must install the special valves and an electrician must wire the sensors.

Web Based Video Cams

With an internet based video cam installed in your vacation home, you can monitor for break ins and have piece of mind.

Howard Bell for yourpropertypath.com