Your Second Home: Hiring a Property Manager

    The Park City area is a sought after location for second homes. Although numbers vary year to year, a fairly significant percentage of homes in the area are a second home, and often the owners live out of state.

    When considering the purchase of a second home, whether in Utah or anywhere in the US or beyond, it’s important to consider how you will manage the care of the home while you are away.

    If you plan to rent your home out during times when you don’t use it, you absolutely need several services managed to ensure your renters get the experience they’ve paid for.

    In the event you decide not to rent it out, or even in the off season when it’s not rented, you may think you can just lock the door and leave it, and skip the expense of a property manager. But that decision could prove to be a costly one.

    To protect your investment, you should hire someone to do regular property checks. These services should include checking all doors and windows, all plumbing, lighting, heating and cooling, and a thorough check of both the exterior and interior. If there is a leak somewhere, better to find it as soon as possible. With the hard water in Utah, it’s also important to check the water softener. It’s not a bad idea to run the appliances and faucets, and give the toilets a flush to prevent mineral buildup and erosion.

    For winter months, additional checks and measures should be used when the temperatures drop below single digits. Keeping the property warmer and dropping the faucets can help prevent frozen and cracked water pipes.

    In vacation destinations such as Park City, there is an entire industry of property management services, ranging from full service rental companies to a la carte management and everything in between. A quick Google search for Park City property management will bring up dozens of options.

    Here is a quick list of services offered. Determine which you need for your second home:

    • Rental reservations and billing services
    • Regular cleaning
    • Linen Service
    • Check in/check out services for rentals
    • On call help for renters which should be available 24/7
    • General repair Services
    • Hot tub/spa servicing
    • Trash removal
    • Photography/video services for rental ads
    • Assistance with setting up vacation rental ads on sites such as VRBO or Flipkey
    • Snow removal, grass cutting, and overall landscape maintenance

    If your second home is in a condominium complex, many of the above services may not be necessary. Find out about on-site management services when you are looking at any particular property. Check the Homeowner’s Association dues to be clear on what is included with your fees, and what can be added on.

    Once you have determined the exact services you will need for your property, here are a few questions to ask the property management company:

    1. Who will be the person managing the property?
    2. What are the fees for property management, and specifically what do the fees include?
    3. What is the cost for add-on fees? Extra visits, handyman services, emergency calls?
    4. Are there any services handled by a third party contractor?
    5. Is the company insured?
    6. Request references.

    Ask your realtor for suggestions, check reviews, and even ask the locals as you are out and about. When entering into any contract with a property manager, review the fine print. Establish a good relationship with your property manager and communicate often. In the end, it’s worth every penny to protect one of your most valuable assets.

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