For decades homeownership was the ultimate goal of most Americans, who viewed it not only as a sign of financial stability but an important milestone like getting married and starting a family. More recently, especially after the Great Recession, people started to wonder if owning a home was more of an albatross than a life raft. There are good arguments on both sides, but one thing is clear: like most things in life, homeownership is a tradeoff. You have dominion over your space, until the Home Owners Association gripes about the non-native shrubs you planted in the yard. You love the original eighteen-century fireplace, until an obstruction of the chimney draws smoke into the living room on frigid winter night. No matter what else is going on in your life, if there is a problem at home you have to drop everything to deal with it, even if that means dealing with your property or estate manager. Of course, these issues increase exponentially with each additional residence you buy. Here are some ways in which property management solutions benefiting homeowners can help ease your own headaches.
- Missed Payments. One of the “cons” of homeownership is the never-ending expenses, from the mortgage and property taxes to winterization and repairs of the roof and electrical system. These can be easy to forget about, especially when an expected bill crops up or you own more than one home. An all-in-one solution will help you keep track of your bills and prevent those embarrassing reminders from your landscaper or HOA.
- DIYs Gone Awry. During the pandemic more people have been undertaking more home improvement projects on their own, either because they didn’t want workers in their space or they simply needed something to do. Most DIYers can recall the time they were halfway through the project before realizing they had forgotten an important step or didn’t have a necessary tool or material. Keeping a digital checklist of tasks and supplies will keep things running smoothly. Most all-in-one solutions will also allow you to store videos so you can keep a record of your progress in one place and share it with others.
- Managing Home Improvement Professionals. Ask any of the DIYers mentioned above and they will (grudgingly) admit that it usually takes a lot more than a YouTube tutorial to get a project done right. In fact, for anything more complicated than a paint job you will likely have to hire professionals, which puts you in the unfortunate position of managing work schedules (including your own), delays, and design decisions – sometimes from a distance. Having one secure space for everyone to communicate will help prevent missed messages, not to mention the frustration of jumping from texts to emails and/or other apps to cull together necessary information.
- Clutter. One of the reasons you bought your home is for the space and the freedom to do whatever you want with it. These days, however, it may seem like your possessions are making room for you rather than the other way around. If your New Year’s resolution was to clean out the basement, attic or “junk room,” the last thing you want to do is go in with a wrecking ball and some garbage bags. Most of the items are likely not junk at all, but a mix of things you forgot you loved; don’t want but can benefit someone else; and even honest-to-goodness treasures you want to leave your heirs. The trick is to go through them methodically, giving yourself the time to assess their place, not only in your home but in your life. This is where property management solutions benefiting homeowners can be especially useful. You can store pictures with a detailed description of each item, then create separate categories for things to be sold, donated or appraised as part of your financial portfolio.
- Security Breaches. One of the few things the pandemic didn’t disrupt was package theft; in fact, it increased significantly, even at the height of the lockdown when most people were home. Many also reported being victimized more than once. Fortunately, there are several hi-tech solutions that can deter “porch pirates,” including motion-activated cameras with lights and doorbells that send real-time alerts to your smart phone and video anyone who rings them.
A part of you may always miss that rental where a doorman or property manager took care of all the incidentals. Owning a home is a colossal responsibility, and the challenges can be as much as a part of the package as the benefits. Luckily, we now have a number of easy-to-use digital tools to make our living space a place of comfort, safety and productivity for as long as we live there.