The feeling of purchasing a second home is irreplaceable—when the keys are handed over, all you can think about is enjoying time with your family, having a place to get away from the stressors of everyday life, and making memories that will last a lifetime. You never picture leaked pipes flooding your home, HVAC units failing, or any of the risks that come with second-home ownership—and you shouldn’t have to. The reality is, these risks are prevalent. When you’re away from your home, it’s never safe to assume the “it won’t happen to me” mentality. But options can feel limited when you’re not actually there to ensure your home is safe around-the-clock. That’s where home watch services come into play, so you can truly keep these risks out of sight and out of mind and stay focused on all the good that comes with your second home adventures.
The most basic service that Your Home Concierge offers as part of its membership is “home watch.” That is, we walk through your house once a week (and daily during inclement weather), and send you a written report along with some pictures detailing any issues. In addition to being our most basic service, it’s our most critical. Here are three reasons why it’s important to have someone watching your second home—ideally on a weekly basis.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2019, about 1 in 20 insured homeowners made a claim; and of those, around 3 in 10 were made for water damage or freezing. That means that in any given year, the average home has about a 1-2% chance of experiencing water damage from a frozen pipe. That doesn’t seem like much—but it’s nearly 1 in every 50 homes. On the Jersey Shore, where homes tend to be pretty close together, that means that about one home on every other street is likely to experience some sort of water damage.
The average water damage claim is just north of $11,000. While most shore homeowners can afford that and are well-insured in any event, the biggest out-of-pocket cost to you is your time. Filing and completing an insurance claim for water damage is tedious—and managing the repair can take months.
It’s better to have a system in place to catch leaks before they become catastrophic and to monitor your thermostat to ensure the pipes won’t freeze.
There are a lot of technology solutions available for leak detection. Most homes nowadays have thermostats that can be remotely monitored and controlled. And given the state of sensor technology even five years ago, it’s clear that even if it’s not universally the case today, we’re rapidly approaching a time when technology will be a cheaper solution than having a human being monitor your home. At Your Home Concierge, we actually encourage our members to let us arrange the installation of water leak detectors in our annual close-down survey. Many insurance companies will even discount premiums or subsidize the installation of leak detection systems.
Regardless, there is irreplaceable value in being able to pick up the phone, call a human being you know, and ask: “Hey, I saw there was a big winter storm. Is my house alright?” Nothing can compete with that sort of peace of mind.
As a Your Home Concierge member, we’ll encourage and facilitate the regular servicing of all of your home’s most important systems. And so the chances of something going wrong are minimized. But as most longtime homeowners know: No matter how hard you try, everything eventually breaks.
When that does happen—and when you’re hundreds of miles away, and busy with your normal life and everything that comes with it—nothing can replace a standing relationship with someone on the ground to address any issue that might arise. In the example we’ve used throughout this post: If your house does spring an unexpected leak, you’re going to need someone on the ground to trust who can properly facilitate repairs. The most important reason to employ a home watch company, then, is to have a longstanding relationship to help you solve those problems. Imagine…rather than googling “Contractors near my shore home,” you just scroll through your contacts and call “Chris”, who, because he walks through your home once a week, knows everything about it.
For trusted security while you’re away, look no further than Your Home Concierge. Contact us today to get started with a membership.