Compiled By Jodi La Marco
Liz Harrington launched Local Home Check last year to give second home residents a way to protect their investment, minimize damage from the unexpected, and deepen their connections to the Hudson Valley. We checked in with her to learn about her services and why she uses our region’s local currency, the Current, as part of her business.
What’s your background?
We’ve lived in the area for almost 10 years, but it’s only been in the last two that we’ve tried to make our entire living locally. I had a career for over 20 years in the for-profit world, mostly for major media companies, but also for digital startups and interactive video. I did business development and managed key relationships. That’s where I’ve always found my niche. I look at industries to figure out how to make a business more efficient or grow a product in a particular area. I studied anthropology 1,000 years ago, so I was looking at the culture and ecosystem. I was figuring out where there were synergies and opportunities, as well as areas we might want to shy away from. Doing this sort of strategic business development was very successful in the for-profit world, but on a local level, it was a little tricky. I had these great skills, but where could I apply them in a way that could sustain my family financially?
Why did you decide to launch Local Home Check?
Over the years, I’ve met this incredible network of Hudson Valley talent. That’s when I started to see an opportunity. We have all of these wonderful services in the area, but we also have a major issue happening here: the movement of New York City money coming from second home owners. They’re sitting on our economy, but are they contributing to it in a way that gives it long-term economic stability? I really feel that this is about embracing the shift that’s happening in our economy, and finding a way to thread a nice line between our local businesses and the new money coming in. The world is changing quickly here in the Hudson Valley. How do we do this in a way that’s productive for all involved?
How does Local Home Check work?
We perform a weekly home check based on a custom checklist, involving an interior and exterior search. Homeowners get reports emailed to them with photographs, and any issues are flagged. When something goes wrong, they have real proof for their insurance companies that someone was there looking out for their house. To complement the report we offer concierge services, like research on vendors such as plumbers, landscape architects, and poison ivy control. And we don’t just find service providers for common problems. For example, I have a client who will be coming up for two or three bursts over the summer and wanted to know what local summer camps are available.
What happens if you find a problem?
When we find a problem—say, an insect infestation—we can get an exterminator in for them right away. Some homeowners don’t want to deal with problems that arise, and they pay us a monthly fee to handle things for them. Others want to be a little more hands-on. We’re also insured and bonded. So, if something were to go wrong because of something that Local Home Check did, homeowners are covered.
What other services do you provide?
We offer keyholder services. We can greet guests, and when they leave, we make sure things are locked up correctly. We can also be present to meet a service professional or receive deliveries.
What do you love most about the Hudson Valley Current?|
As a new economy pollinator with the Current, I was already working to nurture local connections, find synergies between local businesses and vet service providers. I’m a business pollinator, so I engage with local business owners. Before long, I saw that service gap, pulled together a team, and now I have this wonderful network. And that’s what the Current gave me: this great network of local experts, producers, and service providers.
How does your business support the local economy, and how does your business help with the movement to revitalize the Hudson Valley?
In my work with the Hudson Valley Current, I was already working to nurture connections between local businesses. Currents were a foot in the door for me to work with many local businesses. Now I’m fully focused on what I call “boots on the ground” economic development.
We launched Local Home Check only a few months ago, but we already have clients, and we’re already bringing business to this wonderful community. Now I’m putting my money where my mouth is for economic development because I’m bringing real work, real jobs, and real income to local business owners.