Nancy McIlvaine

On-site Estate Managers and Property Managers

With so many clients who are second home owners here in the valley and an abundance of buyers from all over the world, I thought the topic of ‘On-site Estate Managers and Property Managers’ would be a good one. My clients are constantly asking me to help them find someone to manage their estates, so I recently interviewed Nancy McIlvaine who lives in Napa and does just that. For 18 years Nancy has recruited Personal Assistants, Executive Assistants, Estate Managers and private Chefs for executives at Apple, Facebook, Google, the SF Giants,  and many others. Nancy is a great resource and you can rely on her to find the needle in the haystack.

I work with both on-site estate managers and property managers, so I started out by asking Nancy what advice she gives property owners deciding between the two.

An Estate Manager gives the client the peace of mind that the property and the principal are being cared for 24/7 in a meticulous manner. This person is on-site, overseeing other staff or contractors. Property managers are a cost effective alternative, since they typically have multiple clients and aren’t on-site as much as an Estate Manager would be. The Estate Manager is proactive and anticipates needs, often before the principal even thinks of those needs. They have a concierge mentality and can give superior service since they are devoted to one client. Estate Managers are responsible for clients’ multiple homes and fly in a few days prior to get everything in top notch shape, making sure the exterior and interior of the property are humming along and the staff are prepared for clients’ arrival.

One of your recent blog posts was titled “Maintaining the Modern Day Downton Abbey”. Are there still people who live like lords in big castles?

Today, the “lord’s castle” is very high tech and the staff need to be extremely tech savvy to manage and troubleshoot the heating/cooling, lighting, security, and entertainment devices in the household. My clients’ homes range in size and formality. Many have multiple homes, sometimes on the same street or in the same county, and they want their lives to be seamless. This means they delegate out to staff to handle the runnings of the home from A-Z. The Chief of Staff often creates a manual that outlines the daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal and annual tasks so everything is in pristine shape when the employer arrives, whether that’s a planned visit or a spur of the moment one.

I imagine being in the SF Bay Area, many of your clients work in technology. What other industries do they come from?

My clients tend to have leadership roles in technology. I also work with people in finance, professional sports, and retail. Their lifestyles run the gamut. While one may hire a Butler for her formal, old world home, another hires an Executive Assistant for her office and has no household staff. And there are plenty who have multiple staff (nannies, housekeepers, a personal assistant, a driver, a handyman) and an Estate Manager or Chief of Staff to hire, train and supervise them all. It takes experience and finesse to achieve the lifestyle each client wants with just the right amount of staff.

If you’re thinking of moving to Napa or Sonoma and need to recruit the staff you need for the Lifestyle you Desire, call me on (707) 738 4820 and I would be delighted to introduce you to Nancy.

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