Thursday, May 9, 2013

Home Owner Frequently Asked Questions of Homes In Transition (Part 3)

Continuing on with our series of frequently asked questions from home owners.  Click for Part 1 and Part 2.  On to Part 3.

What if I don't like the Caretakers performance?
Caretakers, like everyone else,are human and not perfect. If you or your Broker ever have a complaint, we will listen, gather all the facts from all parties involved and take decisive action to remedy the situation that day! We have ample staff to field the call, perform an emergency onsite visit of the property, if necessary, and resolve the issue quickly. If the issue cannot be resolved the Caretaker is removed from the program and the house refilled. While this situation has only occurred less than .02% of the houses that have been served thought the HIT program, the consequences of NOT using the HIT program would expose the vacant house to even greater risks that have a much higher percentage of occurrence. 

Is Anybody watching over the Caretaker?
Yes! HIT maintains a staff responsible for the regular and random inspection of every property in our program starting on day four in which we carefully review and modify the furnishing setup inside the house with our Caretaker. Weekly inspections are conducted thereafter to ensure our Caretaker understands their role and has the house show ready. We inspect the property regularly until it is sold and leaves the program.

What happens when the house is sold?
First, we cheer another success story!
The Property Owner provides HIT with notice of the closing and arrangements are made by the HIT to relocate the Caretaker. The property is cleaned and ready for the new buyer on or before the closing date specified in the notice. Because it is HIT's goal to accommodate ALL closings, under extreme cases your property can be available in as little as 30 days. The Notice process is dictated by state law by which we all must abide. Because each Caretaker in the program is highly valued and we can all appreciate the moving process, providing Caretakers the longest notice possible is always HIT's goal.

How can I be sure the house will be in good shape when the Caretaker leaves?
Our goal is to always return the property to you or the new buyer in as good or better shape as it was when enrolled into the HIT program. To ensure we get it right, we video tape the property floor to ceiling, inside and out, front curb to back wall before the Caretaker moves in. This provides as good a record as possible for both the Property Owner and the Caretaker establishing the existing condition of the house. Upon the Caretakers departure from the property, HIT performs a Move-out Inspection and reviews any suspicious areas against the video record. If there is an issue that needs to be resolved HIT's Customer Service Department mobilizes the necessary services to resolve the problem quickly and efficiently.

What happens if the Caretaker doesn't move?
Unfortunately a Caretaker is human and their performance can never be guaranteed. Since the first caretaker in 1986, there have only been 2 known cases of Caretakers not surrendering a house in time for closing. This is not to say our Caretakers are near perfect, but it does mean that HIT's professional approach and years of experience provide the broad base of knowledge to resolve these issues before they affect a closing. In a combined total inventory of houses reaching well over 2400 properties, it's a very small percentage risk. Could it be an expensive risk? sure, but compared to the level of risk and possible expense of holding the property for a longer period of time, possibly having to accept a low ball offer, having the house sold on the court house steps, having it vandalized,burned down, damaged by a major system malfunction that causes significant damage, having an unnoticed roof leak, broken water pipe or other possible situation occur without notice, the risk of having a Caretaker hold up a sale has a much lower risk factor. To further insulate the Property Owner for this acceptable risk, HIT provides a modest daily liquidated damages provision in the Property Mangement Agreement to help offset this type of unusual occurrence should it happen.

The bottom line - HIT has the experience and vast array of tools and unmatched knowledge to help prevent or mitigate this type of situation.

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