FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Home watch services give you comfort and piece of mind when you are away from your Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula home for vacation, travel, or for the “off-season” by having a trusted source check on your home. The checks included are designed to help detect and prevent common problems with homes that are vacant for long periods of time, including unauthorized entry (e.g., burglary, squatting), vandalism and theft, water problems and damage (e.g., freezing), mold and mildew, pest and rodent access/infestation, unsightly or damage-causing debris, and checking major home systems such as heating, lighting and key appliances. Home watch services from Point to Point can also include checks on your swimming pool/hot tub, your boat(s) and outbuildings. All of our plans are fully customizable – don’t see what you need? Just ask!
No, home watch services are not the same as a home inspection that you might purchase when buying or selling a home, which are designed to identify problems with a home’s systems, mechanical features and structural integrity. Conversely, home watch services are preventative in nature, helping you avoid problems by detecting and preventing them when and where possible.
We are not a security company, but our services can help you identify security-related problems. This includes things like unlocked/unsecure doors and windows, lighting problems, and any sign of attempted unauthorized entry. Plus, having someone visit your home weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or even daily while you are away can be a great crime deterrent.
This is a fairly common question. The answer is, of course, "it depends." There are times when a house sitter is needed and other times when a home watch services company is what's best. See our blog article "Should I....Hire a House Sitter?" on this topic to understand more.
When a problem is identified, we notify the home owners via the method identified in our records. If the problem or potential problem is serious or we have questions, we will attempt to contact you immediately. If the problem is just one to know about, keep an eye on, or one that we were able to easily resolve, we’ll note it. We will include photos of any problems or concerns identified and a general photo of the overall condition with each report. If the owner cannot be reached, we will take steps to mitigate the problem to the extent appropriate, but will not engage any third-party company without your express consent and approval. Fees for any third-party engagement will be the responsibility of the customer. Point to Point assumes no responsibility for engaging a third-party, making repairs, or paying third parties.
If a visit reveals anything suspicious in terms of criminal activity, potentially life-threatening problems, or something that could cause major damage, we will contact law enforcement, fire or EMS as necessary while on-site. We will also attempt to make contact with the owner immediately in these cases, once it is safe to do so.
This of course depends on what type of visit, the size of the home and what services are included, but we estimate that the typical visit takes at least 45 minutes to one hour. This does not include the report development and submission process or travel time, and doesn’t include any steps taken to address issues that may be found during the visit.
Our set up process is designed with the out of town home owner in mind. We’ve put as much of the process as possible on our website to enable us to provide you with rapid set up and services that are secure and easy to use.
Customers visiting our site and selecting a service plan will then proceed to the online payment area or checkout page. However, we recognize that there’s nothing like an in-person meeting and interview to give you additional comfort and peace of mind, so if that is preferred, just give us a call or send an email.
Once a purchase has been made, we will contact you to arrange an in-person walk-through of the home, if desired by the homeowner. During the walkthrough, we’ll cover introductions and we’ll walk through the home and the 24-point inspection process with you. If you have questions or desire additional services, those can be addressed at that time. We will also set up a process for entry into the home, reviewing any security systems or special access requirements. If you don’t require this type of orientation visit and no special security walkthroughs are needed (e.g., alarm de-activation procedures) and a key is available or mailed, the entire process can be done online.
Regardless of whether you want a walkthrough or you just want us to start your home watch services right away, we’ll ask you to complete our Property Information Sheet to help us maintain some basic but very important information about accessing your second home and staying in contact with you.
If the customer wishes to skip the orientation visit, we will offer a telephone introduction/overview and be sure to understand the access requirements.
The Terms of Service/Customer Agreement for our services is agreed to online prior to payment or downloaded, signed and returned via email.
Customers can cancel their subscriptions at any time if dissatisfied for any reason and we will refund any charges for services not yet received, minus any discounts applied. Those on a recurring payment plan will not be charged for further visits.
Our company is family owned and operated. That means that we intend to interact with our clients directly. However, our wide service area may require that, in the future, we rely on staff other than the owners to conduct the visits.
Any staff person conducting a visit on behalf of Point to Point will be carefully selected to have the experience, reliability and trustworthiness needed for us to allow them to represent us. The company will also require and pay for a background check for all employees, eliminating any candidate that has any significant background concerns.
That’s one of our top goals. Reputation is everything, and we intend to guard it closely. Any staff person conducting a visit on behalf of Point to Point will be carefully selected to have the experience, reliability and trustworthiness needed for us to allow them to represent us. The company will also require and pay for a background check for all employees, eliminating any candidate that has any significant background issues.
Any staff person conducting visits will be identified and you will know in advance via email who will be visiting your home – by name and photo – if not one of the owners themselves. Point to Point is also fully insured and bonded.
For our customers who want additional assurance and piece of mind, we’re offering a service that requires the staff person conducting the visit to wear, turn-on and record the entire visit on a body-worn camera (no audio available). Customers selecting this option will be provided a link to access this video in full from a file hosting service like Dropbox or Box. Customers will receive the link following the visit and the file will remain available for 30 days following the visit.
We are also very comfortable with arranging an in-person interview and visit to your home, if desired, prior to purchase. Please contact us to arrange such a visit.
We anticipate that in most cases, the owners or guests will not be home during the time an inspection is planned. We can contact you in advance of our home watch services, if preferred. When we arrive at a home, if it appears that the home is occupied, we will make contact with the owner first, then the occupants before entering by knocking on the door, calling the owner, etc.
We have no problem conducting the inspection while the home is occupied, if necessary. However, if we arrive to do a planned inspection and are not permitted to access the property, we will treat the visit as “completed” and provide a report on what aspects of the inspection could be completed (e.g., exterior). We can work with customers to attempt to schedule our visits around the times the home is occupied if advance notice is provided and can even skip up to 1 month of a subscription, if requested (the skipped visit is added to the end of the subscription period). Remember too, we will attempt to contact owners prior to our visits as well, to help prevent these situations.
Home watch reports include a listing of each item to be checked, a status report for that visit, notations of status where needed, description of problems or concerns noted and any action taken, and photographs of any potential problems or concerns. We will also provide at least one general condition photo of the property. If desired, owners can request additional photos of specific areas, assets or areas of concern. A drone photo of the property can be provided if requested (at no cost). A sample report can be found here.
Customers can add additional home watch services to any plan, including swimming pool/hot tub watch services, boat/cover watch services, additional outbuilding checks, house guest key drop/compliance watch services, and more. Customers can also let us know about special requests, such as watering certain house plants, notifying them when a package arrives, turning on or off certain lights in the home, etc.
Customers purchasing additional home watch services, such as a boat/cover watch add-on services, will also receive a report on these properties/assets. These reports may be in addition to or included within the home watch report. Optional or additional services that do not involve a home watch (e.g., house guest key drop/compliance, etc.) will not include a report.
Our home watch subscriptions can be for any of the following visit frequencies:
- Single Visit (48 hours advance purchase required)
- Weekly Visits
- Bi-Weekly Visits
- Monthly Visits
Customers can purchase single month, 3-month, 6-month, 9-month or 12-month subscriptions. Longer subscription terms offer the greatest discounts.
Within each service description, drop down boxes are provided to select the visit frequency and subscription length. As these terms are selected, the price is updated.
Other visit plans can be developed as needed. Contact us for additional information.
Customers have asked if Point to Point is able to provide key delivery/pick-up and spare key services, as well as home visits at the end of each rental stay.
Although Point to Point is not a property management company and does not provide rental services, we can provide key drop/pick-up services and conduct home watch visits for rental properties.
To arrange these services, which may differ from typical home watch services, please call Point to Point to allow us to develop the best service plan for you and your properties.
In addition to the subscription prices listed, each new subscription requires a $99.00 set up fee. This covers our account creation/set-up, any orientation visits needed, the cost of duplicating keys and returning originals if required, payment set up and receipt within our systems, etc.
Our 6-month, 9-month and 12-month subscription plans sometimes offer waived set-up fees on top of substantial price discounts.
In some cases (e.g., ad hoc services requested by the customer), additional hourly and trip fees may be charged. We will always let you know about these fees before they are incurred. An example of this may be a monthly plan customer requesting a special return visit to the property or a customer asking us to meet a repair person and remain in the home for more than an hour until the repair is completed.
For each subscription plan, your payments are set up on a recurring monthly basis. Payments are made and managed through PayPal or your credit card. Your services and plans can be modified through the Point to Point My Account page. Subscription plans offer the greatest discounts.
We are using PayPal payment services to allow customers to make secure payments using their own PayPal account, major credit cards, and other forms of payment allowed by PayPal.
Home watch services costs will vary by region and the variety of services included by the home watch services company you choose. In most cases, a home watch services company is substantially less expensive than a house sitter that charges anywhere from $33 to $66 per day (see our Blog, "Should I...Hire a House Sitter?) and will always be more economical than paying thousands of dollars for the repair of damages that could have been avoided by early detection and remediation.
Point to Point Home Services home watch plans are designed to accommodate almost any budget and can be customized to meet the unique needs of our customers. Our home watch services start at under $70 per visit with subscription savings available as well as adjustable visit frequencies to allow you to manage costs while maintaining peace of mind. Our add-on services provide additional value to our customers because we are already at your home for home watch purposes, so we pass along the savings to you for home cleaning services, VRBO/Airbnb support, lawn care and more.