I need an executive vp for my house.
March 27, 2016 1:03 PM   Subscribe

Does this service exist -- an executive vice president for your house? Someone that you hire, and say to them, "I will give you $1000 a month, and you come in and do stuff to my house. Repairs, gardening, decorating, etc. I don't have to direct you, because you are making all of these choices yourself. Do you think the back bedroom needs to be painted? Then you do it, as long as you stay inside the monthly budget."

Note that I am not asking for a maid or a handyman. I am asking for a creative individual to evaluate the house, make decisions, and independently put them into action.

"Do you think that picture would look better hanging in the hallway? Do it. Do you think I need some flowers in the backyard? Do it."
posted by Cool Papa Bell to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
A household manager? You might need more than $1k/month, though. Is that budget for both updates and wage?
posted by amanda at 1:06 PM on March 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

I bet there are property management companies that do this; what you're looking for is basically a part-time butler who never answers the front door and that's what property management is at its most extreme end.

I'd look for this kind of thing via local realtors, because a lot of those things need to be taken care of before a house gets sold, and in many cases literally no one cares about the details beyond "it has to look good." Like for properties that reverted back to the bank. Not all property managers do that: some do little more than pay the electric bills and collect rent.
posted by SMPA at 1:12 PM on March 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

If you live in a city with a theater scene, you could try looking for a theatrical set designer to employ part-time (perhaps try posting on Craigslist as a start?). Set designers typically have a wide variety of skills that would make them well-suited for both the creative and the practical parts of the job you describe.
posted by ourobouros at 1:15 PM on March 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

When I worked in commercial real estate this was basically my job. My title was Facilities Manager. I managed a mix of office space and retail space for one corporate customer. Not sure if it exists on a residential scale but if so I would suspect it's primarily marketed to higher income households.
posted by vignettist at 1:15 PM on March 27, 2016 [4 favorites]

I have a couple of acquaintances who have an assistant/house manager at each of their properties who deal with all of this kind of stuff (including overseeing the gardeners, housekeepers, and other staff). But these are very wealthy people with multiple homes, and the staff are full-time (and paid accordingly), so the payroll alone is far more than $1k/mo.

I also know some people who have personal assistants who deal with some of this stuff, but it's in addition to the normal PA stuff (and again, these tend to be full-time employees).
posted by primethyme at 1:16 PM on March 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

It shouldn't be for both project costs and wages; if so, the person has an incentive not to do any work. I read it as just being project costs.

Property managers will look after a property and do repairs, but (a) you have to stay on top of them, in my experience, and (b) they really are generally taking clients who have multiple properties, commercial properties, etc.

I think you might have to get creative with this one.

(And also, not expect to wash your hands of it. How are you going to ensure they do the work to your standard? How will they know? What is the minimum amount of work you'd expect and how would this set-up encourage them to meet it?)
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 1:21 PM on March 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

If you live in Fallas, my sister will do it.

Try Craigslist and ask to see a portfolio.

Seriously though, if you live in Dallas
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:28 PM on March 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

I would loooooove this job. Who knew it could exist??? Wow! So, yes, I'm sure you could find someone to do this, and that the web is your friend.
posted by Capri at 1:43 PM on March 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

I would find someone who flips houses for a living. They need to know how to get a house liveable and looking good for sale and on a budget. This wouldn't be a full time thing for them and they could do it in between doing up their own houses. The best ones have builder/tradesman backgrounds as well so come with a really handy set of skills you can utilise.
posted by Jubey at 1:57 PM on March 27, 2016

Yes and no. These people exist but not what you are willing to pay for them. Rich people have them. Which doesn't mean that you can't find a way to make it work but you just need to know that you are asking for something unusual and likely going to find someone who does not, say, do this for a career.

Ways to make this work that I know of...

- Make it into an hourly job with specific "on site" times and have all the materials costs be extra but budgeted. So say you have $1K for this, budget maybe 500/mo for salary (so let's say four hours per week, ish) and then the rest is budgeted for materials with a rollover budget. Keep in mind at those wages, you're looking more at "handyman" and not "contractor" level of work but there's maybe nothing wrong with that
- Keep in mind that this arrangement mostly works if you can trust the person to do the stuff AND if you are okay with someone else basically running the show. It falls apart if you have oversight into everything "Um I like that picture but it should hang somewhere else" or "I don't like daffodils" is not going to work. And even in a best case scenario, you'll probably need to spend an hour every other week (paying them for the time) going over the stuff. And you'd be paying them for shopping time whether it's online or offline.
- The way some people make this work is they have someone who lives in and has duties "as assigned" instead of paying rent. This is a huge difference from what you are talking about but caretaker types might do something like this. There's other issues to take into account ($$ stuff gets complicated, legal issues etc) but if you have some giant house and other Shit to Do that is not running it, it might work.

Put another way, in most part of the US an executive vice president is someone getting paid six figures to make important decisions. You don't have that sort of money which is fine, but you need to find a way to communicate the important parts of what you need and also the realistic parts of what you will settle for to make it work.
posted by jessamyn at 1:58 PM on March 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

This type of work falls under the category of "personal assistant."
posted by samthemander at 2:03 PM on March 27, 2016

Post this in jobs. I wouldn't be surprised if there's someone on this site in your area that could do this job or lead you to the person who can.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 2:35 PM on March 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sure they exist. But your salary would need a considerable bump.
posted by MsMolly at 2:47 PM on March 27, 2016

Not quite what you're probably looking for, but there's professional house stagers that do some of this. I hired one on a one-off basis when I was trying to sell a house several years ago - for a nominal fee, she gave suggestions on what would make my house look better (neutral paint colors, furniture style/layout, landscaping, etc). The realtor I had at the time wasn't the best at these sorts of things, so getting a second opinion was very much welcome.

As mentioned upthread, property management companies also provide some of these services for leased properties, although as a former landlord my experience was that they still require very close direction/supervision.
posted by photo guy at 4:23 PM on March 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

I would combine the role with a professional cleaner. Depending on where you live, there will be people working as cleaners who have a real eye for this stuff. Plus, if they are cleaning your place, they are getting close and personal with the details. If you already budget for a cleaner, try finding someone who can combine (or be paired up with) the roles so $500 a month goes on extra to their cleaning wage, and $500 per month gets budgeted to design (allowing for advances and rollovers).
posted by Thella at 4:47 PM on March 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

A majordomo!
posted by kmennie at 4:54 PM on March 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

Why not save up the cash you want to spend on improvements monthly for a while, and hire an interior decorator or a stylist?

You'll need more cash up front, but I think it may work out better than an on-going monthly arrangement: you can have fewer conversations about what you like/don't like after you've hired a person, you can evaluate their portfolio in advance to make sure your aesthetics jibe, upgrades will be less disruptive (e.g. paint and art and a new couch/layout all at once, rather than piecemeal), and it will probably require less hours of their time ($$) to make one larger decor plan rather than decide each month what upgrade(s) to do. You can even do several rounds, e.g. upstairs, downstairs, outside, as funds allow.
posted by foodmapper at 5:52 PM on March 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

I have this person, kinda.

When I moved to a new home recently, I wanted someone to help me make decorating decisions, but didn't need/couldn't afford a high-end interior designer - I just wanted someone to help me pick which shade of blue to paint the walls and help me find decent ceiling fans, etc.

I went to West Elm, where I'd been looking to buy something anyway, and talked to a salesperson I liked. That store, along with others like Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel, have "complimentary" design services where they'll send someone to your house for an hour to make floor plans and suggest things (& obviously try to sell you things). I asked the person I worked with if I could hire him on an hourly basis to help me, and he agreed - at an hourly rate that was much higher than he made in the store and much lower than an interior designer.

He doesn't do repairs or garden, but he's found both repair people and gardeners for me as needed, and helps me with things like hanging pictures and replacing doorknobs. It's been a really great arrangement for both of us, and I think you might have similar luck finding someone this way with the right set of skills and a good design sense.
posted by judith at 6:01 PM on March 27, 2016 [14 favorites]

I live near a lake where there are lots of vacation homes. There are lots of Property Managers who open/ close the house seasonally and so the maintenance.

I would ask any Property Manager to do a walk-through, describe any obvious issues, and have a 12-month plan for seasonal stuff, with plans for any painting, renovations, etc, and some leeway for things that break.
posted by theora55 at 5:03 AM on March 28, 2016

I know two people who employ such a person. Both have multiple homes and own commercial properties. In both cases, the hired person has fantastic handyman skills (although that is by no means the extent of their talents). If he can't do the work, he is capable of finding someone who can without involving the owners too much. In both cases, the hired person has been working for the respective families for decades and are very much trusted and respected by their employers. Not surprisingly, both families are quite wealthy and able to provide their staff with full-time work.

I think you're looking for something in between a property management company and an interior designer.
posted by futureisunwritten at 11:46 AM on March 28, 2016

« Older Help me explore the Batman-and Superman-related DC...   |   What is this plant in my back garden? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.