The Emerging Home Watch Industry with Matt Rooks
Asheville is a beautiful place – we have a fascinating history, vibrant contemporary culture, amazing wildlife, and stunning mountain landscapes. These factors, coupled with a comfortable climate and accessible location, have made our city a popular place for both short- and long-term vacationers, as well as for those lucky and adventurous enough to own a second home for getaways or for frequent or longer visits. While it might be difficult to see a downside to having a second home or taking a long vacation in a wonderful area like ours, owning a property that isn’t always occupied does present major challenges. How do you know if something goes wrong, for example, and how can you fix it from afar? What if the property is broken into, and you can’t be there to handle the aftermath? With his new home watch company Roost Home Watch, Matthew Rooks hopes to answer those questions and provide viable solutions to homeowners in Asheville and the surrounding areas of Western North Carolina.
Roost brands itself as a home watch company – but what exactly is that? At present, home watch is a budding industry and one that is largely unregulated. Still, there are some constants and general definitions, and, as the industry continues to grow in the United States, Europe, and Australia, it’s becoming clear that it is a very real service that people are realizing they need. At its most basic, a home watch company is a visual inspection of a property for obvious issues. Home watch is neither a home inspection nor home security – it seeks instead to fill the gap between those two services in order to provide coverage, as it were, that homeowners both want and need. “In essence,” Rooks says, the home watch companies “become the steward or the caretaker while the homeowner is away.”
Before starting his company, Rooks had never heard of home watch. He was living in Seattle and had purchased a property, then chose to keep it rather than selling when he moved to Chicago. He attempted to manage it on his own from 2,000 miles away, which he soon discovered was a huge undertaking. When he eventually moved to Asheville, he began to notice a lot of other people in a similar position. This observation led him to wonder whether a service existed to help manage properties in which the owners did not primarily reside; through extensive research and a few lucky connections, he eventually stumbled across home watch as an industry and decided to start his own business in that vein.
In doing so, Rooks discovered the National Home Watch Association. While the industry as a whole is unregulated, it does self-govern to a certain extent through the NHWA, which is both educational and governing. Its mission is to “put arms around the industry” to create certifications and education opportunities in lieu of licensure requirements. In addition, it performs background checks, provides insurance policies, acts as a guide, and more.
Its position as a guide is particularly helpful for business owners just getting started, as it enables them to create a foundation that is well aligned with the NHWA’s principles and that serves its customers most effectively. For Rooks and Roost Home Watch, the basis of that service is a customizable checklist. The checklist, Rooks says, is “a list of all the different things that you can think of that might need to be looked at.” Together, he and the homeowner walk through the house and take notes of things that need to be added or removed from the standard checklist, in order to make it perfectly suited to the specific home in question.
Furthermore, the services that Rooks provides can be determined on a per-home basis, such that each homeowner has the opportunity to help determine exactly how they want the home watch experience to work. For example, Rooks will address the question of what to do if something in the home needs to be fixed or repaired in the owner’s absence. He will have this conversation with them up front, before it ever becomes an issue, to determine what the homeowner wants to leave to his discretion and what they would want to be contacted about. Regardless, if he finds something that needs to be addressed when completing a walk-through and checklist, he will take a picture and document it, then follow the homeowner’s agreed upon protocol to address the issue.
As a whole, Roost Home Watch and other companies like it are designed to help ease the burden on homeowners who may be away from their properties for extended periods of time. Whether they own a second residence, are taking an extended vacation, or are absent for another reason, a home watch company like Roost can offer peace of mind and very real security.
To find out more about the home watch industry and Roost Home Watch, or to set up a free in-person consultation for your home, visit RoostHomeWatch.com or call 828-505-1003.