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#208687 - 10/20/02 05:11 PM caretakers
tincup Offline
I would like to request some information from any of you who have caretakers for your property and would be willing to share your experiences with me. Please email me privately at tgraf@tampabay.rr.com Thanks.

#208688 - 10/23/02 06:34 PM Re: caretakers
BettyGib Offline
I'm curious about replies that you get, Tincup. If you're willing to share general information you receive, many of us might be interested.

#208689 - 10/23/02 07:04 PM Re: caretakers
tincup Offline
Wish I could say I was inundated with replies, but sadly no one has responded. I am soon to be in the position of hiring a caretaker and was hoping to avoid some problems by hearing what other folks have experienced. I thought it might be too sensitive a topic for the message board. Perhaps we should open it up for general discussion. I don't know if that will significantly change the response, but it's worth a try.
So, anyone with any words of wisdom regrding the hiring and keeping of a caretaker please reply with your advice.

#208690 - 10/23/02 08:00 PM Re: caretakers
kcbc Offline
We have a caretaker/friend in our home in Southern Belize. He is a single man, doesn't drink, does smoke cigarettes (has to do this outside on the verandah) He is in charge of and has access to our boat, our vehicle and all of our tools and stuff. We prepay all of the bills, the electric, the water and the phone. He has been in our home for about three years now. He is the one responsible if we show up and stuff is missing. So far this is what we have had stolen from us in Belize over the years. One hammer left outside on the verandah when we were under construction. (husband's favorite hammer in the whole world) One umbrella left downstairs, our caretaker's own personal bicycle over Christmas one year when he was taking a shower upstairs and I am missing one pair of wooden candlesticks.

Probably the most irritating thing about the situation is we show up and I go to use the shovel or the rake and it is not there. Its usually down at a brothers house or his folks etc. We have debated this before between my husband and myself and actually its okay as long as the stuff shows back up when we are there or when I ask for it.

When we decide on a trip we give him about two weeks notice. Long enough for him to arrange to have the house cleaned before we show up and also for him to supply us with a list of any things that he needs or would like to have. (Items might include some tools, usually shorts, t-shirts, fishing items etc.)

I know that we have really been lucky in having such an excellent caretaker/friend because we still hear horror reports of who got what stolen from them. Course we have been going to our village for a lot of years. The situation has worked out well for us.

Do you want a caretaker in your house? or do you plan to have seperate quarters for them? What responsiblities do you expect them to have? Are they allowed to have another job or not? You planning on paying a salary? Would you take a family?

Nobody ever heeds this advise but if it was me and I was looking for an honest person in Belize I might go to Church and ask some of the ministers if they could suggest someone as a

#208691 - 10/23/02 10:56 PM Re: caretakers
tincup Offline
Thanks kcbc for your reply.
We are presently building a caretakers house on our property. 'Our' house will be built over the next year. Our builder (a well respected local) suggested that we employ this caretaker full time with an appropriate salary so that he is not forced to work elsewhere to suppliment his income. He suggested that we go with someone "older" so that we do not end up with a big family living there.
While this makes some sense to me, initially we will only have clearing and planting work for him to do. Our property is 100 x 600. I would imagine that we would have our house completed for the tourist season next winter. We plan to have it available for rental when we are not using it.
Mostly what I would like the caretaker to do is groundskeeping, building maintenance and security.
Will I need to build a tool shed to keep equipment locked up? What kind of tools will we need to provide? I assume I will be paying for utilities for the caretaker. What about furnishings? Would someone who is given a decent house to live in (utilities included) and a reasonable salary have any reason to rip you off?

#208692 - 10/24/02 11:50 AM Re: caretakers
ckocian Offline
We chose not to have a live-in caretaker just because, as time went on and we got more familiar with Belizeans and their ways, it appeared that no matter what parameters you set up in the beginning, those lines begin to fade and the property owner became the caretaker's caretaker. Even the most right-minded and upstanding of the people you'd consider as good candidates will behave according to the culture they are familiar with. I don't mean that in a bad way....I just mean that "laid back" is an understatement where your belongings are in the care of someone else in Belize.

Strange things happen when you're not in residence. In our case, we didn't know whom to believe about a specific issue of interest because others in the community who gained our confidence began to report to us on our employee(s) in a manner not very flattering.

If you're familiar with a salt-water environment, you know that maintaining anything metal or mechanical is ongoing. You can't leave your machinery standing unused or it'll freeze up from rust. It's like a battleship, in a way, in that you start at one end and by the time you've finished at the other end, it's time to start over. Once the brand new stuff begins to stand and age a little in such a corrosive environment, it suffers from deterioration.

My intent in saying these things is not meant to discourage. You need to have your own experience and after some time passes and you've dealt with the real deal, you'll have a better handle on the drill.

#208693 - 10/26/02 01:52 PM Re: caretakers
Mexicana Offline
Have you thought of hiring a gringo? There are lots of students or americans with travel bugs that would maybe give you the best deal for your money.. My ex and I took care of a large estate with thousands of acres free for 3 months. We worked hard and played hard. It was extremely rewarding and the owner was pleased that we kept the jungle cut and fruit picked so it didn't go to waste or get stolen. Maybe post your advertisement on a christian college message board with free lodging in exchange for caretaking in beautiful belize? That would do it for me... have a contract available. GOOD LUCK!!

#208694 - 10/26/02 06:37 PM Re: caretakers
I would be careful, even of Gringos!! We had a resident taking care of our house.... things were stolen (although returned when pressed), and then we found out that parties were held at our home..... NOT GOOD!
I know that there are some very honorable Gringo's as well as Belizians, but just be aware.... I had a total inventory of every item, even down to my clothing, and my toiletries that I left there- rather than taking them back and forth.

#208695 - 10/26/02 08:33 PM Re: caretakers
tincup Offline
some very good ideas....thanks! tincup

#208696 - 10/27/02 11:43 AM Re: caretakers
Grace Offline
I'll volunteer to be your caretaker. I cook, clean, garden, vegetables and flowers....take care of animals, am very handy with tools, all that stuff. I need to bring my dog and cat though. I got rid of my horses. Oh, we can discuss pay if your interested.
Grace DeVita

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