Posted on April 28, 2015 in A La Carte Services, Disasters, Tips by ShannonNo Comments »

Over and over we end up with expensive maintenance issues that are the result of prior short cuts taken. Over the years we have had several issues with hose bibs and other areas where shortcuts have been taken.

The most recent one is a very expensive repair to a dripping exterior hose bib. Typically an old bib is just removed, a new one installed and the job is done in under an hour. For this one, a remodel was the cause of a future giant plumbing bill. The contractor put the remodeled cabinets on top of the plumbing, with no easy access to the back of the hose bib. In order to change out the hose bib, cutting into the cabinets is necessary. Stupid, costly and expensive! If just ignored, it will freeze during the cold temps, crack and probably flood the house (starting with the kitchen of course).

Leaky Exterior Hose Bib

Painting is one area that we occasionally see – a cheap painting job that takes shortcuts on quality paint products and too few coats, won’t last as long. Cheap materials do not hold up and we are happy to see the recently built homes appear to be using better materials.

The list of issues we have seen in the past decade covers every facet of a home from poor design, poor roofing materials, ventilation and lack of proper drainage. The stories are endless. The most important part is to take care, do the right thing and make the repair and maintenance in a timely fashion.

At Home Fridays we are huge proponents of doing it correctly the first time and taking care of regular maintenance. It is so much easier to pay in the front end, rather than the VERY costly repairs and potential floods! Central Oregon weather is extreme with major temperature swings that are hard on all the homes. With regular maintenance and oversight the problems can be taken care of.

Need help with your home? Give us a call to discuss how Home Fridays can help you 541/317-3088.

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Posted on March 30, 2015 in Disasters by ShannonNo Comments »

We often talk of all the issues that happen in the winter from the furnace failure to pipes bursting.  But often times we forget how many things can happen any time of the year.  Recently we had a house get ‘skunked’.  That is right, a skunk let loose under the deck and stunk up the entire house.

Imagine if the owners had come in late one night and arrived to a house full of skunk smell.  So much for your nice holiday!  Because the smell was identified early and a series of steps taken.  The house will be aired out before the owners and guests arrive.

We had pest control over right away to make sure the skunk was gone – and assist him in moving on if necessary.  Because he stunk up the crawl space in the house we had issues with the skunk smell in the furnace and duct work.  Contact with the furnace company and discussions on how best to get rid of the smell ensued.

With daily trips to the house for airing out we have almost eliminated the smell.  Laundering of bedding and some clothes was necessary to eliminate the smell.  But with a little elbow grease, time and patience the smell will be eliminated.

So when the owners arrive next week, all should be good.  Just another disaster that was avoided with regular home wellness checks.  It is nice to know that our clients will have a relaxing stink-free vacation.

If you don’t want to worry about your Central Oregon home when you are away, contact Home Fridays and we can take care of you as well.

Skunk!

Skunk!

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Posted on March 24, 2015 in A La Carte Services, Spring, Summer, Tips by ShannonNo Comments »

While the snow might be falling today, it is a good bet it won’t last for long.  It is time to start thinking about and getting scheduled for all the spring and summer repair work.  Winter takes a toll on homes and we have such a short time to get all the repairs done before the cold will be back.

 

A few things we like to focus on at Home Fridays are a full interior spring clean.  This includes carpets, windows (inside and out) and a deep cleaning that includes everything from the baseboards, the fridge to the barely used and dust filled guest room.

 

For the exterior we are looking at how the paints and decks look.  Seasonal maintenance work allows you to get the most out of your investment.  Annual deck maintenance is far less expensive then regularly replacing the deck.

 

Yard maintenance has been a big one this year.  With the light snow fall and a season of crazy wind, most yards are looking pretty bad.  The needles and leaves need to be cleaned up, the gutters cleaned, everything trimmed up and brought back to life.  Grass might need overseeing and definitely needs some fertilizer.  This is also a great time to think about replacing any plants that might not have made it through the winter.   Sprinkler startup is not that far away and with that weekly mowing and yard maintenance.  A new layer of bark dust or compost is a great way to punch up the yard and make it shine.

 

With the inside clean and the outside getting back in shape, time to start thinking about anything structural that might need attention.  Gutters falling, warped siding or trim boards  or roof inspections for anything else that may have failed during the winter.

 

So don’t delay – get a start on the season and don’t be left behind.  Some might call this summer, but we call it ‘repair season’.   If you need help with any of these items on your home please give us a call to schedule  (541)317-3088.

 

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Posted on October 24, 2014 in Disasters, Fall, Tips, Winter by ShannonNo Comments »

Things that will likely be on your home’s winterization to do list:  Store the patio furniture, cover the foundation vents and hose bibs, have the furnace serviced and blow out those sprinklers!  What you don’t want in the middle of your winter is a spouting sprinkler line-river running through your yard-full of snow, covering your bushes with a thick layer of ice.  Protecting your sprinkler lines from freeze damage is an easy process, best handled by a professional landscaper that has the proper tools and experience.  The landscapers hook up their commercial air compressors to the irrigation system and blow out any water in the lines.  If water is left in the system it will freeze and expand, cracking the lines, causing expensive repairs.  Save yourself the headache and expense by getting it done, and get on to pumpkin carving.  November and freezing temperatures are right around the corner ushering us closer to winter!

Home Fridays offers professional home management and concierge services to second homeowners in Central Oregon. If you need help managing your second home call me! Danielle Little, Caretaking Lieutenant at Home Fridays – 541-318-3088 or send me an email at Danielle@homefridays.com

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Posted on October 10, 2014 in Disasters, Tips by ShannonNo Comments »

The smell of gas….

Upon entering two client homes during our weekly inspections this week,  I was struck by the strong odor of natural gas.  

After a quick call, the gas company came right out and in both cases the test came back positive.  One leak was from a gas fireplace with a leaky valve, the other from a dryer connection…both were easily fixed but dangerous! 

The gas company was very easy to work with and gave great recommendations on what to do, who to call and what it would take to solve the problem. 

Just like that…in no time we had both homes back up and running again and safe from the gas leak.

This brings to mind the question about furnaces, gas stoves, dryers, and water heaters aging out.  How old are your appliances and their connections to gas lines?  How often are they checked?  It is always a good idea to have all gas connections and appliances checked regularly.

 

Home Fridays offers professional home management and concierge services to second homeowners in Central Oregon.If you need help managing your second home call me! Danielle Little, Caretaking Lieutenant at Home Fridays – 541-318-3088 or Danielle@homefridays.com

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Posted on June 9, 2014 in A La Carte Services by ShannonNo Comments »

Bend is currently threatened by the Two Bulls Fire burning just a few miles West of town.  We are keeping close track of the fire status and you can follow along on our Home Fridays FaceBook page.  The link is up above.

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In 2004, we were living in Seattle when we bought a “get-away” in Bend. The plan was to move here in eight years but our schedule quickly accelerated.  The wonderful people, beautiful scenery, sunshine and the Fourth of July Pet Parade won me over.  Our second home became our primary residence within the year.

We quickly learned that homes in Central Oregon endure harsh weather conditions all year – hot and arid in the summer, cold, snowy and windy in the winter and all of the variations of rain for which Oregon is famous.

As our concern for our vacation house grew, I called all the area property management companies to see if they could help us maintain it. No one was interested unless we joined a rental program. We didn’t want other people in the house. We just wanted to be sure that nothing was leaking, that our yard was maintained, and that all of our stuff was still there.

In the course of searching for a caretaker for our second home in Bend, I spoke to friends and co-workers. I began to see that there are a lot of busy professional people wanting to enjoy Central Oregon with not enough time to maintain their vacation property. Thus was a business idea inspired. Why not offer to do the weekend job list for clients? This would allow us to stay in Bend and keep our house.

My job at that time (mergers and acquisitions in the homebuilding and REIT industry) involved a ridiculous amount of travel. One day I called home from a hotel room and literally had no idea where I was. That’s when I decided to pursue my own business. My professional experience included owning commercial investment properties, residential rentals and second homes. I have also lived out of state and out of the country while maintaining my residence and second homes, so I understand remote home ownership. Combined with my project management it was a natural fit to start a home management business.

We considered several names for the business but didn’t want to sound like a security, cleaning or rental agency.  Our services were unique in the market and we needed something a little different.  “I will be Home Friday” (a happy idea in and of itself) evolved into Home Fridays.

By 2006 we were both in Central Oregon full time and Home Fridays had taken off. In the early years we focused on weekly house checks, security and prepping for homeowners’ arrivals. I was a sole business owner doing it all myself.

I began searching for a team of vendors who I could trust to be available on demand. They had to be top notch, reliable and talented. In 2005 the building industry was booming. Contractors were a dime a dozen and quality work was not a requirement for being successful. By doing the research and testing most of the vendors on my own remodel and house projects, I found the best of the best. By creating ongoing rewarding relationships, I was able to get great response times and high-caliber services for my clients and steady work for the vendors. I set out to create a win-win situation for the contractors and the homeowners.

Time and again my vendor network has come through in clutch situations. Twice in the last 10 years a furnace has gone out on Christmas, and both times my vendor has been available and shown up to warm up my clients. I can get a response to a water leak in 30 minutes.  I have priority appointments for all my clients with my vendor network.  They answer my calls 24/7 and always make time for my clients. When the economy took a downturn, my vendors continued providing great service. We all worked together and the clients benefited.

From my own need and experience, a business was born to help owners – who are not local – take care of their homes. We have grown over the years and take care of some rentals as well as homes that are not rented. Almost 10 years later, Home Fridays thrives and our presence can be seen in Sunriver, Caldera, Crosswater, Bend and Eagle Crest.  Creating a win-win situation for owners and Home Fridays has created a lasting success.

In thinking of my own experiences, keeping a second home really is kind of a pain in the neck.  For me, however, investment in a second home set in motion a sequence of events that changed my life in many ways. I stand as proof that a good idea combined with a lot of hard work can bring success. The best part is that I get to deal with different people every day, make new friends and am having a lot of fun.

 

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Posted on December 19, 2013 in Disasters, Tips, Winter by ShannonNo Comments »

It was a rough one this last week with temperatures at -29 in Central Oregon.  We had days without anything above freezing.   The weather did not come without warning – and we had all the houses prepped and ready for the cold.  But you never know how they will do.  Thankfully all our homes made it through with zero issues.  We are relieved and happy about that.  If you don’t have anyone lined up — well it might be about time!

 

We heard from a number of concerned owners after they received this email from Sunriver Home Owners Assocation;

 

“It’s the Ice Queen here getting back to you with an update on the impact of our 20 degrees below zero temperatures Sunday morning.
If you’re a non-resident owner or away from Sunriver and you chose to ignore our previous warnings about the potential for frozen pipes at your Sunriver home, here’s a reality check for you: The Sunriver water utility called us this morning to report that in the past 24 hours they have turned off the water at the main for well over a hundred homes with burst pipes!

It’s warming up now and those frozen pipes are thawing. Pressurized water is spewing into walls, ceilings and crawl spaces, under sinks and behind tubs, showers and washing machines. It’s flooding second story rooms and running down stairways. It’s seeping out from under entry doors and spilling from porches. We don’t want this to be what awaits you at your home.
SROA is not able to conduct property checks for 4200 properties.”

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Posted on May 23, 2013 in Published Articles, Spring, Sunriver Scene, Tips by ShannonNo Comments »

A recent column from the Sunriver Scene on deck maintenance by Shannon Bassett.

 

It is time to think about those decks! The sun is already out and the damage is evident fro a year or two of harsh weather. Snow, ice, freeze and heat; the weather cycle of Central Oregon does a number on our decks.  The best solution is to take care of the decks every year.

In one home the owner really does not want to spend the money on taking care of his deck.  As a result of ignoring the deck the boards are warping, the understructure is rotting and the entire thing will need to be replaced.  The cost of his annual ‘money saving’ will end up with a very expensive full deck replacement.

Another home owners decks looks great on the surface. But an inspection revealed a woodpecker home in the structure beneath.  Without an inspection, the entire deck could have collapsed at an inopportune time.  With the support beam replace, the deck is once again safe and ready for a summer of fun.

Steps for deck maintenance;

  1. Annual Inspection – Look at the surface for signs of rough wear ad tear. Inspect underneath the deck if accessible. Confirm the supports are in good conditions with no signs of rot or shifting. If boards are warping or cupping and the overall condition is poor, sanding is in order.  If the deck looks like it did last year and no signs of peeling stain or raw wood, you are in luck and can skp maintenance this year. Fading, peeling and signs of wear around heavy traffic areas?  Plan to wash the deck and apply stain. Compromised structure due to bird activity, rot or shifting should be looked at by a contractor for replacement.
  2. Timing – It is important to plan your deck projects when we are above freezing. While some of the stains are rated for colder temperatures, for the best results apply in warm but not hot or freezing weather. The second and MOST important timing is around the pollen bloom. It is critical to complete the deck project before or after the pollen bloom. If pollen is left on the deck and sealed (or get into the stain during application) it will create black dots throughout the deck.  This is pollen bloom and can only be removed through sanding.
  3. Wash – Remove the dirt, leaves and sap with a good scrubbing.  Many companies out there like to use a power washer.  This causes splintering in the wood and removes all the soft parts of the wood. You end up with an uneven rough surface.  This will cause issues when the stain is applied as the hard areas do not absorb the product as well and the finish will not last as long. The ‘less is more’ phrase can be used as a guideline when washing your deck.  Less harsh cleaners, less concentrated chemicals and less pressure washing.  Use Oxi-Clean or another good scrubbing cleaner, a brush and some elbow grease.  Then let the deck cry completely before moving on, typically 24-48 hours.
  4. Sanding – Remove any bad stain or peeling paint applications with a good sanding job across the entire deck. Sanding will also smooth out the surface by removing a small layer of the old gray wood of the deck. This process is often necessary when trying to bring back a neglected deck. I love the system used by Webfoot Painting which sucks in all the dust and doesn’t leave a mess behind in the yard or on the house.  Without a dustless sanding system you will need to plan a cleaning of the house after the decks are completed. Sanding is not necessary annually and wit a good annual or bi-annual stain application the sanding process can be eliminated.
  5. Apply Stain– The product used is key and to hold up you want something that penetrates the wood.  Anything that builds a film on the wood such as Thomas Water Sealer will not hold up in Central Oregon. They tend to chip, peel and dry out in our tough climate. A penetrating product such as Messmer’s UV Stain or Flood CWF-UV 5 Oil work well in our climate. The penetrating products are easier to maintain and with many decks are only necessary to apply every other year.  Of course location and sun exposure on the deck will be the deciding factor.

The secret to a successful and good looking deck is annual attention.  If ignored you will be facing a much bigger and more expensive problem.  So keep your annual maintenance up, the cost down and enjoy wonderful summers on your beautiful deck for years to come.

To get help with your home call me, the Caretaking Commander, at Home Fridays. I have been buying, renovating and managing residential and commercial properties for over 20 years. My locally-based company, Home Fridays (homefridays. com), offers professional home management and concierge services to vacation home owners. You can reach me at 541/317-3088 or shannon@homefridays. com

 

 

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Posted on May 21, 2013 in A La Carte Services, Spring by ShannonNo Comments »

It seems we are hunting for working internet around these parts…

It has been a crazy month around Home Fridays as we try and fix everything that is broken and get ready for the first big weekend of the season.

One entire area of town has been getting an internet and cable television overhaul.  So each and every home  that has cable tv or internet needs a 2 hour service visit.  To top it off they will only schedule 4 appointments a day.  We have been rushing around town getting that taken care of.

Meanwhile in another area the phone lines are down due to construction or… who knows.  What happens when you loose a phone line? For starters your alarm will start going off, sending alerts about the trouble.  So now we have the phone company out trying to fix all the phones in that area.

Hot tubs – now is the time to start them up for that first weekend.  Oh, wait did the forecaster really say snow?  Now the calls start coming in about what we are going to do about the snow since the sprinklers are already running…never fear we will get it handled!

Imagine coming here for the first big weekend of the summer and having your entire weekend ruined with no tv or internet and nothing but cold bad weather.  While we can’t fix the weather, we can take care of all the other items!

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