Owning a vacation home can be a blessing and a curse. Because they may not spend as much time in that home as they do their primary residence, those who own a second home need a plan for maintaining a property that may only be used a few times a year. Those homeowners who split their time between homes will also need a plan for the regular upkeep of their first home.
Ensuring both homes stay in good condition is a must, if for no other reason than to be able to enjoy them while you’re there, according to Glasshouse CEO and founder Shannon Bloemker.
“…no one wants to spend their travel time on repairs and maintenance,” Bloemker, who is also a certified home inspector, wrote in an article for Inman.com. “At the same time, property owners don’t want to neglect the home that’s currently vacant.”
According to Bloemker, information from both Forbes.com and Realtor.org suggest vacation sales are on the rise. If you have clients who have purchased a vacation home or are in the market for one, consider passing along Bloemker’s tips for avoiding second-home maintenance problems.
1. Management company — These companies can handle everything from opening and closing the house to managing rentals to arranging cleaning and can be an asset in case of an emergency. They may also arrange local maintenance services, but that may not be enough.
“If you’ve stayed in a vacation rental yourself, you know that these homes are not always maintained to a high standard,” Bloemker wrote.
2. Neighbor or housekeeper — Paying a trusted neighbor or housekeeper may seem like a good idea if you want someone to just “turn on the faucets once a month or check for damage,” Bloemker noted. Someone who can perform preventive maintenance tasks is a better choice.
“What about changing the furnace filter? Clearing the dryer vent? Repairing a loose board on the deck? Recaulking the bathtub?” Bloemker wrote. “All of these small tasks add up, and more importantly, they prevent major problems from occurring.”
3. Owner maintenance —Many second-home owners may choose to go the route of maintaining the home themselves. Bloemker suggested homeowners who do understand what that fully entails.
“Beyond tasks like cleaning and organizing, home maintenance can require several hours each week, even when things are running smoothly,” according to Bloemker. “Depending on its location, a vacation home might actually require more maintenance than average, due to weathering in more extreme climates at the beach or in the mountains.”
4. Scheduled maintenance — Hiring a service-based company is a great option, especially for absentee owners, according to Bloemker. These companies will assign each client a local maintenance manager who is dedicated to ensuring preventive maintenance.
“Regular preventative maintenance saves costs in the long run, and downtime for repairs can be all but eliminated when everything is kept in top condition,” she wrote.