The concept of the American Dream has evolved dramatically since writer James Truslow Adams first coined the phrase in 1931. He wisely defined it in a broad sense, referring to a place where there was opportunity for a better life for everyone “according to abilities or achievement.” At the time home ownership was out of reach for all but the well-to-do, yet by the end of WWII fourteen years later it had become the goal of nearly every American.
Today, owning a primary residence is commonplace, even expected, and many consider owning a second home as a symbol of having attained “The Dream.” However, as the popular saying goes, “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” Owning a home arguably involves as many headaches as joys, so it stands to reason that you will need the help of a property manager, especially if the second property is far away from where you live. The following attributes will determine whether they will help you live the dream or leave you trapped in a nightmare.
They are your eyes and ears. This is a no-brainer. You’ve hired a property manager so you can enjoy your second home without having to deal with paying the monthly expenses or preparing it for a storm. A stellar property management company knows their responsibilities extend much further than that; for example, they will know about the wave of break-ins in the area and take the steps to ensure that your home is safe.
They act more like “concierges” than “managers.” Attention to detail is the cardinal rule of any service-based business. A good property manager will make sure the lawn is attended to on a regular basis. An excellent one notes your fondness for bougainvillea and consults with your landscape designer about the feasibility of introducing these shrubs to the property.
They don’t need to be micromanaged. Many people stay in their second homes at regular points during the year, but what about those impromptu trips for business or to attend a special event? If you’re dealing with a top-notch property management company you, or your guests, should be able to show up at any time and find the property in perfect condition.
They take care of your tenants. If you rent out your second home you know that this one definitely has the potential to fall into the “headache” column. Problem tenants can destroy property, refuse to pay rent, and cost you tens of thousand dollars in legal fees to evict. Even the most wonderful tenants won’t stay very long if there are issues that violate the agreement or interfere with their enjoyment of the property. Your ideal property management company will thoroughly vet potential renters and regularly check in on current tenants to make sure they are living up to their responsibilities. They will also be responsive to their complaints and questions, and provide you will timely updates so you are not blindsided by a crisis.
They are tech savvy. It goes without saying that property managers must be able to juggle several tasks– and people – at once. This becomes even more important when improvements or repairs are being done to the property, as they must serve as the communications hub among architects, construction crews, delivery people, and so on. Your ideal property manager will utilize all the tools at their disposal to make this happen; this includes all-in-one solutions that allow that to keep tabs on all aspects of the work, liaise between service providers, and keep you in the loop.
Bottom line: Whether you have purchased your second home for recreation, revenue, or a combination of the two, it carries a host of time-consuming responsibilities. Working with the right property manager will ensure that it is not just a symbol of success, but adds true value to your life and that of your family.