Your second home is your haven and your asset. In order to give your home the level of care it deserves, you need an experienced professional property management service suited to your specific needs.
Choosing the best property management company for your home might seem daunting, especially if you’re a first-time vacation homeowner or new to the area… Where do you start? What does your home need? What criteria should you prioritize for evaluating a property manager?
It’s important to be as informed as possible when making your decision, but it doesn’t need to overwhelm you. With over 15 years as one of Park City’s top property management teams, Sea to Ski knows more than a thing or two about providing a premier level of care to second homeowners. Over the years, we have found that the best client relationships start with a solid understanding of their specific home management needs.
To help guide you, we’ve compiled a list of things to consider.
Property management is a broad industry, encompassing a variety of different specialties: commercial versus residential; vacation rental versus second home [non-rental] management, and so on. When it comes to residential property management, it’s important to first determine what your goals for that property will be. Is this an investment property that you intend to rent? Long-term leasing or nightly vacation rentals? Or, is this a second home for private use and not to be rented?
Vacation rentals are a popular investment in resort towns like Park City, Utah. In this case, a property is purchased with the intention of developing a business, renting out the home when the owners are not using it.
Managing the business of vacation rentals, however, is it’s own ball game entirely. There’s marketing and advertising; handling booking transactions (cancellations and refunds, too); turnover and cleaning logistics; guest services, and more – on top of the overall home management and client relations. Among the range of property management companies in Park City, many are focused on vacation home rentals and resort lodging – driven by maximizing bookings and high-volume guest turnovers.
Rental property managers sometimes also offer “management-only” services to private second homeowners. Unfortunately, management-only clients in this situation can tend to feel like a lower priority client because they are not generating bookings and rental revenue for the company.
However, this discrepancy created an opportunity for specialization within the field of property management in Park City. Fifteen years ago, disappointed with their own experience with run-of-the-mill vacation rental management companies, Sea to Ski’s founding partners recognized an opportunity to specialize in non-rental property management; to provide a better experience for second homeowners – like themselves.
‘We treat your home like our own.’ It’s more than just a motto.
This concept guides our approach to property management in every way. Sea to Ski was conceived from the idea that property owners should be able to expect a premier level of service when managing their second home. We pride ourselves on having a depth of knowledge about each of the properties we manage and want our owners to feel we treat it like our own.
Through premier services, customized care, and proven experience, our team of designated Personal Home Managers, Maintenance and Housekeeping staff help our clients enjoy their property when they are here and give them peace of mind while they are away.
When evaluating prospective property managers, identify what type of properties they specialize in managing and determine whether that aligns with your own home management needs and expectations. In addition, understand what the extent of their experience is managing homes in the Park City area. How well they know the area and are dialed in to vendors will have a significant impact on how satisfied you may be with their service.
Specialty isn’t everything though. A property management company’s capacity for care, as well as how they plan to care for your home, are also important factors to consider.
Consider the ratio of staff to properties managed, for instance. How a property management company organizes and delegates inspections, errands, housekeeping, and maintenance work can significantly impact the client experience. Does this company have the capacity (i.e., available staff and resources relative to the number of properties they manage) to provide high-quality service and accommodate a client’s needs?
An integral part of the client relationship is effective communication. Open lines of communication with clients, staff, and vendor partners is pivotal to providing the best possible service.
At Sea to Ski, we believe in providing high-touch client communications, personalized care, and streamlined service. We assign a designated Personal Home Manager (PHM) to each client. The PHM is responsible for all home inspections, vendor management, coordination of maintenance and housekeeping services, and client communications. They are your direct line to all matters regarding your second home. With hands-on support from our Managing Partners and direct collaboration with our in-house Maintenance and Housekeeping teams, our Personal Home Managers provide each home with a high level of care.
A professional property manager knows the importance of acquiring appropriate licenses and insurance to protect their clients, as well as their business and employees.
Make sure the property management company you choose to work with has appropriate business licensing and/or certifications and holds adequate general liability insurance for their operation. In addition to their own, it’s important to also ensure the subcontractors or vendors that a property management company uses are also properly licensed and insured.
For example, Sea to Ski Property Management, LLC is a licensed property management business, members of the Park City Chamber of Commerce, and Affiliate Members of the Park City Board of Realtors. Sea to Ski carries $2,000,000 in general liability insurance coverage and all of our vendors and subcontractors carry their own general liability insurance (which we verify annually).
What are people saying about this business?
Today, one of the best ways to size up a business’s reputation is to read reviews and talk to references. Prior to taking time to meet with a property management company, check out it’s Google Reviews, the followings and feedback they might have received on social media (i.e., Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.), and any client testimonials. The general consensus of responses on these platforms can illuminate how their clients, vendors, and community members feel about their experience with the company and the quality of their services.
Ask for client or vendor references, check the Park City Chamber of Commerce, as well as local business networks and professional trade associations to hear about the company from a variety of perspectives. Reviews and references can be an effective means of assessing whether you’ll have a positive client experience with that property management company.
Sea to Ski is proud of the overwhelmingly positive reviews and recommendations we receive from our current and past clients, from the vendors we work with, and from Park City community partners. We have been featured in The Scout Guide Park City (Volume I) and are listed in the Park City Chamber directory.
At Sea to Ski, we believe it’s not only about what the community can do for us, but what we can do to help the community. We make it a priority to support local non-profit organizations via sponsorships and volunteer opportunities, with organizations like Park City Community Foundation, Peace House Park City, The Egyptian Theatre, and People’s Health Clinic.
Be sure to get a clear understanding of what will or will not be handled by the property management company, as part of your service agreement. Oftentimes companies will offer both on-site management services and optional concierge services.
If the property manager offers different levels of service, it is important to determine which package and price point best fit your home management needs. Additionally, ask whether there is an opportunity to customize services beyond the basic terms of your chosen service package.
Sea to Ski has found that providing a clear outline of our tiered service packages and aligning with homeowner expectations from the very start, is vital to a successful and positive property manager – client relationship. This helps set a positive tone, a mutual understanding of what to expect, and starts the dialogue for open communication regarding their property management service. We will always work with our clients to customize their services beyond the basics, to best accommodate their unique needs.
Sea to Ski Premier Home Management // ON-SITE SERVICES:
- Weekly Home Inspections
- Vendor Management
- Handyman Services
- Spa/Hot Tub Maintenance
- Snow Removal
Sea to Ski Premier Home Management // CONCIERGE SERVICES:
- Vehicle Service & Transportation
- Private Aviation Arrangement
- Grocery & Beverage Delivery
- Secure Package Delivery
- Restaurant Reservations
- Recreation Coordination
- And, more…
No detail is too small. The services provided and associated fees should be clearly outlined in the property management service agreement.
Make certain that the terms include everything you had previously discussed and agreed to, and that there are no clauses to which you object. This applies not only to the services provided and fees incurred but also clauses like the term length.
As discussed in the previous section, it’s important to fully understand different service packages, where applicable. For each package, what is included in the monthly management fee? The details of your chosen service package should be defined in the property management agreement, as well as the cost of any additional or a la carte services. If you have amended the standard service agreement for that package, those amendments and any adjusted pricing should also be defined in the terms and conditions.
In addition to services provided and fees, the agreement should detail the term duration and any termination clauses. Are you signing on to a 12-month term? 6 months? 30-day term? If you have a change of plans, sell your home, or have a change of heart, it’s best to know how long you are committed to this service agreement. In that event, what termination fees and timelines are required of the client?
Sea to Ski offers three tiers of service packages from which to determine the conditions of the property management agreement – Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Each package outlines the services to be included in the monthly management fee. However, we present each client with the opportunity to customize services beyond the standard package and note the structure for any additional fees in the final service agreement. Sea to Ski’s management agreement is a 30-day term. We do not believe in forcing our clients to sign an annual or long-term commitment. We do not want our clients feeling “locked in” to a relationship that is not beneficial to/for them.
While the importance of finding a property management company best suited to your unique needs can’t be understated, it doesn’t need to be overwhelming. We’re here to lend a helping hand – feel free to reach out!