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Closing up your home, and who to call

May 29, 2011
By MARIO D'ARTAGNAN, Real Estate in Perspective

Many of our Southwest Florida homeowners leave the area for extended periods of time. In many cases they head back north for a period of weeks or even months. What does a homeowner do to prepare for the long absence away? Some people ask their neighbors or friends to watch over their homes, looking for anything out of the ordinary like a pool leak, for example. They also give the neighbors a key for access to the interior just to make sure there are no plumbing leaks and that the air conditioning is in working order.

Some homeowners insist on installing the hurricane shutters for the entire summer months, where others trust friends to install them in the event of an impending storm.

There are some issues to consider prior to delegating this kind of responsibility. One problem is that with respect to hurricane shutters, proper installation is paramount. Otherwise, any warranty claims may be denied if not properly installed according to the manufacturer's guidelines.

Sometimes, even if you have forged excellent friendships with your neighbors, they may not want the responsibility. Despite the best intentions of either neighbors or friends, there are understandable, yet, crucial intrusions on Plan A and this can be to the detriment and, in some cases, destruction of property. Neighbors and friends have families and they have commitments. Many times, the best intentioned promises do not come to fruition. Plan B may include professional management and that may be the next and, in many cases the most viable solution.

These companies specialize in visiting your home on a regular basis, making sure that the property is secure. In the event something needs to be repaired or addressed, they would have all of your contact information, and could make recommendations as to who could fix the problem.

How does a homeowner choose the proper company? In many cases, word-of-mouth recommendations from a professional real estate agent, who has years of experience and long-term commitments to his customers, long after closing dates, may be the best link. Additionally, customer satisfaction spreads, readily, throughout neighborhoods and social forums. Quite often, the links intertwine.

The agent has been the catalyst to honest and fair transactions, time and time again and the resultant communication be-tween many neighborhoods, in many cases, transcends generations. Honesty begets trust and the "word" travels, rapidly.

Mario D'Artagnan is a broker associate at Paradise Realty, specializing in domestic and European clientele. Mario is a former investigator for the Florida Real Estate Commission. He is also a former real estate instructor. Mr. D'Artagnan is a published author and has been a keynote speaker on the subject of agency law. Mario is also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. For questions or comments contact Mr. D'Artagnan at: or call 239-565-4445 or visit



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