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Home tending is one solution to the issue of buyers who want to sell homes but find the market is not quite a seller’s market. Houses can sit empty for a while, which may raise home insurance and can steadily devalue the home. When a home is vacant, unless the current owner still lives in the area, things like basic maintenance can be neglected, and lawn or garden and pool care can seriously suffer. For this reason, many now turn to a home tending service or create a contract with someone to live in the home and keep it properly maintained until such time as it is sold.
There are a number of home tending companies beginning to turn a steady profit, as more homes stand empty for longer periods of time. These companies may do things in slightly different ways, but they essentially provide a tenant to live in the home at a far reduced price. The tenant or the service may cover the costs of insuring the home, and either one might provide furniture and maintenance. The company usually keeps the rent that the home tender pays, instead of the owner keeping it, but the owner doesn’t pay fees to the home tending service, and may have lower insurance payments because the home is not vacant.
In exchange for dramatically lower rents on large homes that are tended, the tenant has to agree by contract to be away from the home whenever it needs to be shown. Tenants also must keep the home in show quality condition at all times and may need to pay or promise to maintain things like gardens or pools. Tenants are usually also responsible for paying water, garbage, and electricity/gas fees. However, rent is much cheaper, and a tenant who doesn’t want to pay high rents might find that the small inconveniences associated with home tending are made up for in rents that are significantly below market value. Also, they sometimes get to live in beautiful homes that are show quality. Occasionally owners strike private arrangements with housesitters for even less or no rent, provided the housesitter keeps up the grounds of the home and pays for utilities.
With many homes staying on the market for longer periods of time, sellers are obviously interested in the pros and cons of a home tending service. One negative that has been noted is that buyers may be impatient about seeing homes that are still occupied. Since the late 2000s, buyers have become used to being able to see a number of homes at little notice that are not occupied. Some argue that real estate agents are more likely to pass up tended homes in favor of showing those that are completely empty and don’t require any time arrangements to see.
In contrast, some pros to home tending include its cheapness to the owner, and the fact that a home may remain in much better shape when it is occupied. A freshly cleaned home that is beautifully furnished may be more attractive ultimately to a buyer, and clearly prices will start to degrade if serious problems begin to occur in the home and it is not regularly maintained. Since there are many home tending services, it’s a good idea to investigate a few prior to determining if this service is appropriate. Look extensively at obligations of the tenants and the company, and services offered by each company prior to signing any contracts. Clearly the main intent is to keep a home beautiful so that it will sell quickly; if a company can’t guarantee keeping the home in excellent condition, look elsewhere for one that can.
People who want to become home tenders may have greater renting restrictions. Pets might not be acceptable, people may need to provide beautiful furniture for each room, and there is the disadvantage of having to leave the home anytime someone wants to see it. Additionally, home tenders may need to be prepared to move quickly when homes sell. Though they may get a job tending another home, they might have to rent a place quickly with little time to choose an ideal place to live.