Home Selling in Nevada>Question Details

Dawn, Home Seller in Henderson, NV

Advice on Home Tending Services?? I currently own a vacant home in the Vegas area that I am trying to sell

Asked by Dawn, Henderson, NV Wed Feb 20, 2008

while living out of state. I have read that staging homes can often help them to sell more quickly and for more money and have checked into various staging options, including a home tending service. This service puts temporary residents (home tenders) in vacant homes with a contractual obligation to keep the property in sale condition at all times. The home tender is required to furnish the home with attractive furniture and artwork, maintain the home and property, keep property insurance, and vacate the home during showings. In return, the tender receives a short-term lease with substantially reduced rent. A representative from the company also checks in on the property every week at random days/times to make sure the tender is keeping the home in show condition. This service is free to the homeowner. What I'm wondering is, do you think that in the current market this service would be beneficial in selling my home? My home is mid-priced (not for 1st time buyers but not luxury).

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DHTLA... I can confirm that even the best of Home Tending Companies have snags, i.e. your Las Vegas market to name only ONE. This is a service to HELP victims of the present economy not to cash in and leave. Dozens of very well run Home Tending Companies have been around for a very long time and have not been in the news. Again PR and promotion does not make a good company. A good company grows by word of mouth, which is the most influential form of advertising known at the present time.
Let me ask you, philanthropists, do they fight over starving children or bash others publicly? Helping the public as a whole is a VERY large responsibility and is not to be taken lightly. Home Tending is neither glamorous nor easy but we do it to better our communities and keep the children in devastated areas safe. Did you know that in many areas realtors are being stabbed to death and beaten when they enter vacant homes alone? I implore you to see the bigger picture and think about the small children of so many families that can no longer stay in school with their lifelong friends because the parents have lost their home. Who is suffering now?
Do your best and hope that others do their best and maybe, together, we will all make a dent in a society that has been severely wounded.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 8, 2009
Hi Letsbuy,
You nailed it when you remarked about how many homes are on the market. And with the banks releasing
another 75000 properties (both commercial and residential) in the next 6 months, it will be worse.
With vacant homes sitting, comes crime. Unsafe neighborhoods, damaged homes, and homes that have a lot of cost to maintain, especially in the summer. Home Tending is new to Las Vegas yes, we never saw a need for it before. I see it more of a demand now. And to answer your statement about "what kind of people would live like that"?, I have very professional and caring home tenders. They are Realtors, Escrow Officers, Entertainers that are constantly on the road, and they love it. Some are waiting for their property to sell before they buy...this is perfect for them.
Do you remember when microwave ovens first came out? I remember my parents thinking they were dangerous in the house. With everything new, there are always doubts, skepticism, but when a solid company that stands behind its service shows proven results...well there becomes the success.
And no one is doing this business to get rich. It is because we care, alot. If you knew you were helping people and were rewarded by that, wouldn't you?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 9, 2009
Dear Dawn or whoever is reading this now,

Justice is right. There ar alot of scam companies out there right now. I call them "Home Tending Pirates". They see a company like mine being talked about on national and local news shows. It seems like a simple concept so it must be an easy business to run, right? So they give it a try and fail miserably. It's not, simple to run and there are all kinds of things that only an experienced home tending company can provide and manage well. If your considering this kind of a service, you should. It's the safest, most cost effective way to sell and protect a vacant home. But it must be done properly. Do your homework, look carefully at the web-site content. Ask alot of questions, like how long have they been in business? How did they get the idea to start this business.? If they say they were recent hometenders, beware. This is a good indication that they are "Pirates". Do they have numerous references from Realtors and homeowners? Have they been covered by the press favorably? Do they have any complaints against them in your area.? Read your contract carefully. Any company that does not allow you or your agent complete access to your property, then something is very wrong. Reputable home tending companies and hometenders are there to work for you, show your home in the best light, give you peace of mind that your home is being well cared for and to help your home sell quickly and at the best possible price.

Good luck everyone.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 8, 2009
Dear Dawn,
My advice is DON'T DO IT! Now let me back that statement up. First of all I hired one of these home tending business's and from day I had issue's. No-one did weekly, monthly inspections had they --they would of noticed one of their employee's -renters-tenants-home tenders whichever was indeed breaking the rules...in several ways!!!! Model home furniture was not placed in my home ( I heard this from a realtor who showed my house to a potential buyer AND Which Whom did not make an offer on my house) Curb appeal --my yard is trashed. Weeds 5 feet high, leaves from last fall, dead grass overgrown trees and shrubs. Again all verified by my neighbors. Utilities, well this might be the only plus but make sure that YOU are not responsible one dime. But think about how much those utilities really cost you if you left your home vacant. Minor repair & maintenance---never happened. Things were in worse working condition than when I signed a contract. Repair of property damage. This only applies IF the tending company A) tells you and/or B) if the employee's -renters-tenants-home tenders report it to the tending company. Once you sign a contract YOU are not allowed on the property without being escorted by the tending company it's self. Once you sign a contract you are basically giving that employee's -renters-tenants-home tenders more rights to your place than you the owner.

Please please please read up about the home tending company you intend to use. Check with BBB of your community. Do internet research.Ask friends and neighbors. We went against all our friends pleas. We thought we were being crafty and utilizing a 'new' service. Trust me Scamming has been around a long time and I fell prey. I only hope my story saves the next family from destruction. Not only did my house NOT sell, but you should see the nasty mess they left for me, smell the stench within my home, view the destroyed yard(from the pet),and lets not forget the stolen items from my property as well as unpaid utility bills. No proof of insurance was provided to us and the tending company has the contract written so tight that they are NOT responsible for anything that happens to your place. You must sue the employee's -renters-tenants-home tenders which of whom you will never get their name and/or phone number much less forwarding address.

This home tending company took me from a 'bad' situation to a worse situation!!
Second piece of advice that has worked for a friend of ours, stage the house with rental furniture. Avoid tenants.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 30, 2009
Hi Dawn,

My name is Alison, and I am responding to your post, with very valid questions. I posted some information below that may help answer your questions. I am the Director of Nevada, Exquisite Home Tending Inc. and will be happy to answer any questions you may have. My contact information is listed below.

What would you say if I told you we would furnish and stage your vacant home listings FOR FREE, covered all the utility costs, pool maintenance costs, landscaping costs and even paid for the liability and contents insurance for up to the list price of the property? Who isn't trying to save money these days?
Take a minute and read the following, and if you have a vacant listing that you would like to discuss, I would be happy to speak with you at your convenience.

Real estate professionals agree that a well furnished, decorated home sells faster and at a better price than vacant. (Our statistics support this-homes on our program across the country consistently sell 20-40% faster than area "norms".)

Better showings lead to better offers and quicker sales. Our program ensures better showings:

* quality decor -hometenders are matched to your home according to the style, colors, and amounts of furniture for a "model home look".
* curb appeal -yard maintenance is included on our routine, unannounced inspections
* housekeeping -we inspect your home as often as once a week to be sure it's kept sparkling clean.
* temperature control - air conditioners/heaters are left on for comfortable (longer) showings
* light, open look -lights are left on, and curtains open
* pleasant smell - an important part of a good showing. Much nicer than the stale odor normally associated with a vacant home.
* cooperation -unlike renters "hometenders" are contractually obligated to be cooperative with showings, open houses and eventually - move out.

In this competitive market, shouldn't you take advantage of every available tool to ensure the quickest and most profitable sale possible?

* utility bills - with a hometender your bills are paid and utilities left on for light, air conditioned showings at NO-COST to you.
* yard & pool maintenance - yard & pool care can cost hundreds of dollars each month; or worse - be left unattended for poor curb appeal and less showings. With hometenders your yard and pool are kept looking great at NO-COST to you.
* minor repair & maintenance - keep the house looking "well kept" at NO-COST to you.
* insurance premiums - homeowner's insurance is almost always MUCH higher in a vacant home (if it's available at all).
* vandalism repair - much less likely to be necessary with a hometender.
* repair of property damage - often a simple situation, when quickly detected and remedied can prevent a much larger repair later. (example: small leak may damage walls, and carpet, and short out electrical circuits).
* mortgage payments - probably the biggest expense! That's the #1 reason many sellers turn to us to help their home show better and sell QUICKER!

* Your homeowner's insurance may get very expensive if your home is left vacant. The policy may even be canceled (or claims denied) when the insurance company learns that the house was left vacant.
* Our "hometenders" maintain contents insurance and a liability policy in the amount of $300,000 - or the list price of your home - whichever is greater.

* A live in hometender greatly reduces the chance of vandalism. Even excellent neighborhoods are no longer exempt from this threat.
* In our program your home will also be protected from many other potential problems. You'll know about roof leaks, plumbing and electrical problems, etc. before they cause extensive damage.

Alison Gerstein
Director of Nevada
Exquisite Home Tending Inc.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 29, 2009
Caring for your home is really important. It can do a lot to improve your quality of life. I think that anyone who is serious about it has regretted it. It's well worth the cost.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 10, 2014
Hi I have been a Hometender and believe in the service and also have sold my home while out of state and used a Hometending service company. The program really works. My home was on the market empty for over a year and after i put a Hometender in it the property sold in 90-days. It was also really nice to know the property was protected from Squatters and Vandals while being maintained. This service saved me from foreclosure and gave me some peace of mind while in another state. I would STRONGLY recommend Hometending. Its a win win for everyone and its FREE.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 22, 2012
Yes, Hometending your home not only will help sell it but it will usually bring a higher price because the property does not look distressed and the buyer usually does not know it is a Hometender or really care. I have been in the Hometending Business as a Realtor for the last seven years and have several offices across the western US. If you would like more information go to our website and talk to some of our customers and Realtor's. We sold 18- properties last year to Hometenders and other buyers. realtorhometendingservices.com or call me at 208-863-4205. This service really works and its FREE. I have been a Realtor for over 30-years and started Hometending because of it's POSITIVE impact on all involved.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 28, 2012
Hi Justice,

First and foremost, it’s unacceptable you endured a horrible experience. Home Tending is an exceptional concept and a results driven business model when you are working with a reputable establishment. Your complaints, along with similar ones I’ve heard, have concurrently been directed towards one company. Unfortunately, the several other Home Tending companies performing excellent service and receiving optimal results get punished for that “one bad egg”. Again, I'm sorry you had a bad experience. I implore all people curious about using Home Tending to check the BBB, get referrals and check the BBB!

Again, Home Tending is an exceptional concept and a results driven business model when you are working with a reputable established network. Through our connections, referrals and contractors I’m excited and proud of Malibu Home Tending’s participation in helping the community.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 5, 2010
Overall I think staging is a good idea, but not sure about home tending. There are so much in the mix and so many homes available. Seems like a good way to a service to make money. Not sure how much care they would really put into the home. Clean and empty is good and so is a properly staged home. What kind of people have no where to live and go from home to home like this??
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 30, 2009
I believe I am familiar with the hometending company you are referring to, and in response to what John said about tenants being more difficult, I want to share what I've seen.

First of all, the hometenders are not tenants. They have no such rights or expectations as they treat it like a job. It's like having an extra team of people helping you sell your home. They cooperate very well with showings by leaving the premises and leaving it in immaculate condition, warm and inviting for the showings. You don't feel like you're intruding at all, as it's sometimes not even apparent someone actually lives there. These homes show incredibly well. Another point is that with tenants you could have issues with "notice" to move when a home goes under contract, but with hometenders, they are out very quickly and understand this is part of the program.

Secondly I'd like to point out that it is free. But it's really better than free. Your insurance premiums will go way down if the home is occupied versus vacant. (And as you pointed out, hometenders and the company both carry policies that more than cover you). Then the hometenders will take care of all utilities and maintenance costs, which can be significant if you have a lawn or pool. Those two added values alone make it a compelling deal. But add on top of it that having people in the home will prevent theft, vandalism and squatting, which are all huge problems with vacant homes in Las Vegas. I would strongly consider doing it if I were you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
Dawn, in a nutshell, "yes," some are spoiled. But the market is the market so being competitive doesn't only mean price. Let me give you a slightly extreme example. I have one well-priced home that has had 23 or so showings in the past 60 days and two offers---it is vacant. I have another home priced even better (a super deal, in fact) but the owner has big dogs so agents must make an appointment with him or me. We've had 7 showings total in the last 60 days. Even clients sometimes don't want to "bother" tenants/occupants when they can see vacant homes all day long. I'm not saying don't use a home-tending service if the benefits for you are there--i.e., some kind of staging and rent; Just make sure you weigh the detriments of it too.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 21, 2008
In regards to John's answer, why would agents and clients be resistant to looking at a home under these circumstances if the home is available whenever they want to come look at it, just like an occupied home would be? Is it just that agents and clients have become spoiled with all of the vacant homes on the market that they can see without having to make a phone call to schedule first? Also, in regards to liability, the home tenders are required to maintain a contents insurance and a liability policy in the amount of $300,000 - or the list price of the home - whichever is greater. The company also maintains a $1,000,000 contractual liability policy.

Regarding Keith's questions, my home was put on the market back in May of 2007 due to corporate relocation to another state. Unfortunately, due to the terms of the relocation, we were unable to price the home as competitively as it needed to be once we saw that it clearly was not going to sell at the price it was listed at. After having the home on the market for 4 months, we decided to take it off of the market and try to rent it out. We were unable to find renters and decided we'd rather sell the home since we are located in a different state and have no reason to regularly visit NV anymore due to our relocation. So, about 3 weeks ago we decided to put the home back on the market. Fortunately, this time around the pricing stipulations don't apply and we are able to list the home for whatever price we want. Before listing the home, I consulted 4 different agents to try to find one who would work best for our needs and to determine how we should price the home. The suggested listing prices varied as much as $50,000, though I believe the agent suggesting the top price was just doing so to get the listing so the spread was really more like $30,000.

Unfortunately, no homes of the exact size as ours have sold in our subdivision in the past year. There have been some larger homes that sold and some smaller ones, and, if we widened the search a few miles, there were some similarly sized homes that have sold, but no directly comparable homes in our subdivision or very close proximity so it was hard to figure out where to price our home. We finally selected an agent and decided to priced the home close to the middle of the recommended listing prices we received from all 4 agents. We have received around 7 showings so far which I think is a good sign based on the current market. Feedback has been varied. Two of the agents said they thought the home was priced a bit high, even though it is priced less than all of the comparable homes in our neighborhood, even a foreclosure property. The majority of the other feedback has just been that the buyers were noncommital and still looking - I think the result of the current enormous inventory of homes where buyers can have their pick of the litter. That's why I was thinking that staging might help sell our home. There are tons of vacant homes so I thought that having the home staged or having a home tender in it might make it feel more homey and thus make it more appealing to potential home buyers. But I have heard from two agents now (after John's response) that a home tending service is a bad idea and that realtors would be resistant to it so I'm not sure what to think.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 21, 2008
I think it is ia GREAT idea if you are going to be away for an extended time and prefer someone to monitor the home. I agree with the first post, it would be better to have the homes staged.

That being said, I know that your market is very soft. However, I am drawn to the sales side of your question, since that's what I do.
How long has your home been on the market?
During that time have any homes like yours been sold?
Given the carrying costs (mortgagein utilties, insurance, etc.) and the market shift (trending downwards) I suggest you consider a post about getting your home sold more quickly. Just a thought.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 21, 2008
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
I don't think it would be beneficial. Staging is definitely a huge plus but tenants aren't. Homes where there are tenants, no matter how "sale-friendly," are more difficult to show and may even be overlooked by agents and clients, unfortunately. Also, of course, you have the liability issues.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 20, 2008
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