If you’ve spent some time looking around our website, you have probably seen a few references to the IHWA and wondered, “What is the IHWA—and is IHWA membership really important?”
The IHWA is the International Home Watch Alliance. The IHWA is a non-profit professional association of home watch companies that are committed to maintaining higher than normal standards for home watch services. Founded in 2016, the International Home Watch Alliance has grown to a respected organization that keeps ethics at the forefront of the home watch industry.
The IHWA is the only home watch organization to have a set standardized certification process that ensures its members are knowledgeable about home watch best practices.
Why Was the IHWA Founded?
Did you know there aren’t any laws governing how home watch services conduct business? So many industries pop up and remain unregulated, and it generally takes some gross negligence for lawmakers to decide to regulate an industry.
The IHWA companies took it upon themselves to create a set of standards that keep the industry from becoming a threat to homeowners—as well as other home watch companies—BEFORE regulation became necessary due to negligence. Without a set of standards or laws, homeowners are vulnerable to companies who may be great at marketing—but not so great at background checking their employees.
By creating a set of guiding principals, the IHWA gives homeowners a standard they can trust when deciding what provider to trust with their Hawaiian Dream.
What Are the Standards Expected by the IHWA?
The International Home Watch Alliance requires its members to be certified. The certification exam covers industry knowledge, terms, and best practices to ensure that members have the foundation of understanding required to be a home watch professional.
International Home Watch Alliance members must hold a minimum of $1,000,000 General Liability coverage and $2,000,000 Aggregate.
Business owners must pass a background check and be bonded for at least $10,000.
Additionally, IHWA members are required to have contracts with their clients. This protects the client as well as the home watch company by providing a service level agreement.
Is Home Watch the Same as House Sitting?
Home watch services are not the same as “house sitting.” In fact, one of the benefits of being an IHWA member is the distinction between being recognized as a professional home watch company versus a casual house sitter.
What Is a House Sitter?
A house sitter is a person that lives in the house they are watching in exchange for not paying rent. Single individuals, couples, and even families have been house sitters. The benefit is that you have someone there watching your home all the time.
However, there are more potential negatives to house sitting than there are positives:
- While you don’t outright pay the house sitter to watch your Kona home, you can incur the expenses that come from the regular wear and tear of having someone living in your home.
- You would also want to run a background check on the house sitter, check their references, and do your due diligence to ensure that you don’t fall victim to a scam.
If you don’t do your due diligence, you might get lucky. You might also get very unlucky and end up with damage caused by partying and other sorts of terrible—or even illegal—behavior you didn’t expect in your property.
How to Hire a Home Watch Company for Your Kona Home
Hiring an accredited home watch company in Hawaii to care for your Kona home should be easy! Just look for these attributes in your home watch company:
- Membership in a trusted organization: Professional home watch companies will either be a member of the IHWA or NHWA. We encourage you to look into both organizations and choose which one—or both—you trust to regulate the company you hire.
- A documented inspection process: A professional, experienced home watch company will have a documented inspection process—and they will be happy to share the details of it with you. By using a standardized process, you’ll know that your home watch professional isn’t going to forget to check vital areas of your home. Plus, you’ll see copies of the reports that you can keep to show your insurance company if something goes wrong and you need records proving you’ve had your property looked after.
- Employee standards and documentation: A trusted home watch company won’t send just anyone into your home! Their employees will be background checked and vetted to ensure that your property is in good hands.
Not every Kona home watch company is cut from the same cloth. Hawaiian Dream Home Watch has been your trusted Kona home watch partner since 2004. Our property management professionals are also our home watch professionals—so you get double the investment care experience when you work with us.
If you would like to learn more about our Kona home watch services, contact us today! We would be happy to show you our inspection process so you can have peace of mind for your Hawaiian Dream.