‘Tis the season for Snow Birds and winter travelers to chart their courses due south for extended stays or quick vacations. Regardless of the excursion’s duration, one of the last things anyone wants to worry about while away is the well-being of his/her home—enter Michael Frey and Elite Home Professional.
Frey runs the business, which provides check up services on homes while the residents are away. He’ll walk through the home and look for any signs of damage along with doing some basic upkeep, like running water through the sinks and toilets to ensure there are no long-term problems, including the dreaded cold-climate hazard—frozen pipes. “We just want to give the homeowners peace of mind while they’re away,” he says.
This is Frey’s second winter running the company, and he got the idea while on a family road trip to Colorado. “We drove by these big vacation homes, and I wondered, ‘What the heck do they do with these when they’re away?’” he says. “That’s when it all clicked.”
Elite Home Professional services the Lake Minnetonka area and its surrounding communities. Snowbirds are Frey’s biggest clientele, but he’ll also service vacation rental homes.
Currently, the business just includes Frey and his wife Ann. While the workload can be heavy, there are benefits to Frey not having a larger staff. “This is better than some big property management company because you never know who’s going through your home,” he says. “We have the ability to get to know the homeowner one-on-one, and they know it’s me who’s going through their house.” (Note: The business signage is magnetic on Elite’s vehicles and is removable for property inspection as to not draw attention that a property is temporarily vacant.)
If there is ever an issue in a home, such as a leaky pipe or a freezer that decided to quit working, Frey will assess the damage and then, if necessary, contract out the project to one of his preferred companies, ensuring the project get done in a timely manner without causing too much concern on the part of the homeowner.
Concierge services are offered, as well, including rides to and from the airport and stocking up on groceries before the homeowners return. (Who wants to arrive home with an empty stomach and an empty fridge?)
Elite Home Professional is part of the National Home Watch Association, which ensures all members have necessary licensing and are insured properly.
Frey notes that, before homeowners leave for an extended period of time, they should review their homeowners insurance policies to make sure they’ll be covered should anything happen to their home while they’re out of town.
Some insurance policies won’t cover damages if they aren’t reported within a certain timeframe. This could stick homeowners with the full cost of extensive damages, which is another reason to have someone keep an eye on empty homes.
Lock once; check twice. Frey also reminds people to double check all of the locks on their exterior doors before they leave for vacation, as doors are often accidentally left unlocked.