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.

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail
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.

 

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail
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.

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail
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!

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Painting a home is a big investment and not something anyone wants to take lightly. An exterior paint job might hold up for 10 years or more in some parts of the country, but in Central Oregon that is not the case. With our extreme temperature swings we are lucky to get 5 years out of a really great paint job. As a result of the temperature changes the siding and trim are constantly expanding and contracting. Failing paint and exposed wood is often the result. Wood left exposed will rot, warp or cup. Once the damage is done, the only recourse is replacing the boards. The best prevention is a good paint job and regular maintenance.

The condition of the house is the best guide for when you need to paint. “The intense sun exposure Central Oregon homes receive is the main reason for paint fading. This is seen predominantly on the western and southern exposures and most noticeable with darker colors” according to Gavin Hepp of Webfoot Painting. When paint is applied during cold weather, wet conditions or with the wrong product it will fail more quickly. A single coat may have looked great when the house was first painted, but will not hold up for long and may expose the wood below to potential damage. The key to protecting your home is to find a good painting contractor and keep the exterior in tip-top shape.

Signs that it is time to paint your home;

  • Fading and discoloration
  • Bubbling and cracking of paint
  • Heavy traffic areas with peeling and chipping paint
  • Cracking and shrinking caulk leaving exposed areas around the trim and siding
  • Exposed areas of wood trim or siding

Finding the right contractor;

While price is a determining factor, it clearly should not be the only criteria. Getting recommendations from neighbors and the SROA vendor list are a great place to start. The following steps will help evaluate your painting contractors;

  1. Confirm the painter is licensed and insured. You can look up the status of a Construction Contractors Board (CCB) license and confirm no complaints have been filed against the contractor using www.Oregon.gov.
  2. How much time does the contractor spend in evaluating your job and getting to know what you are looking for?  By spending time with the painter you can make sure you have a mutual understanding on the scope. Rushing through a bid process will lead to misunderstandings in the future and possibly a ‘rushed’ painting job as well.
  3. Look at their portfolio and talk to other customers. Make sure you are comfortable with the work they have done in the past and other owners are happy.
  4. The bid should spell out the products used, the preparation process, number of paint coats, timing, cleanup and protection of your property. You don’t want to come home to a yard full of cigarette butts and trampled bushes.
  5. Confirm the warranty time frame with the painter. It won’t be the life of the paint, but you do want someone to come back and do touch-ups and finish the job within a reasonable time frame. Webfoot Painting offers a 2 year warranty on all jobs which is pretty consistent in the industry.
  6. Find out about the job completion process. The best practice is to walk through the job with the painter and identify any issues or questions to be resolved.
  7. Quality paint is very important. The cost of the materials is typically 15% of the job, while the most expensive part is the labor. Painters should be using the very best materials on your job that work with our climate. Don’t even think of scrimping on the paint materials or number of coats when protecting your investment. Webfoot Painting recommends Sherwin Williams Super Paint combined with XIM a Peel Bond Primer for our climate.
  8. Confirm you painter is covered by workers compensation insurance. If someone falls off a ladder or roof while painting your home, you don’t want that coming back as your responsibility. If a contractor has employees, then he will be covered. If he is using contractors, the responsibility for injured workers could come back to you as the homeowner.
  9. Define the timing from start to finish and coordinate something that fits with your schedule. Having all the windows covered in plastic and no access to the front door over a holiday weekend might not be ideal. The painting season is short, so be sure to get in before the weather turns.
  10. Deposits are not uncommon, but should not be excessive. Asking for more than 20% or any additional deposits is a signal the contractor does not have a healthy business. Typically a small deposit when booking the job and the remaining balance due upon completion of the paint job.

Always put quality first. Putting a little extra time into qualifying your painting contractor will pay off handsomely. You will have fewer headaches during the project and a paint job that protects your home for the long run.

 

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

 

 

 

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail
Posted on April 12, 2013 in A La Carte Services, Disasters, Spring by ShannonNo Comments »

It is a busy time of year at HF – of course I always say that.  You just never know what will need attention next!

Snow Tires -We are trying to get all the snow tires changed over to summer tires on the cars.  Yes I missed the date again – and I always do that on purpose.  It seems we have the best snow storms right before the deadline to get the tires off.  Then the madness ensues with everyone in town trying to get their tires changed over on the same day.  April 1st is the deadline, so I always wait a week or two to start switching over the tires.

Spring Yard Cleanup – It is time to start undoing the winter damage to the lawns.  That means thatching, clearing leaves and the dreaded pine needles.  Aeration is a great idea to bring back the health of the lawn and of course spirnklers will go back soon.  We also have a few owners with bigger projects – removing grass and putting in Xeriscape (refer to landscaping and gardening in ways that reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water from irrigation.)  While costly for the initial installation, it can really save in the long run and is more consistent with our desert environment.  Of course weeds are getting cleaned up at other homes, bark mulch put down and next week the sprinklers may get turned on (weather dependent of course).  NEWS FLASH – The City of Bend has moved up the timing on the Annual Backflow testing.  Typically the paperworks was due at the end of the summer, this year they are requiring at the beginning of the season.  Here is a link to more information http://www.bend.or.us/index.aspx?page=182     Be sure to schedule your test!

Failing Fridges – We had a clients refrigerator fail this week.  All the food was a total loss.  The house had a nice aroma as well.  Of course all appliances have a life cycle and nothing lasts forever.  Thankfully we were able to toss out the food, clean out the fridge and air out the house.  We have measured the fridge and the owners are shopping remotely for a replacements.  By the time they arrive, the new fridge will be in place.  While failing appliances are not ideal – at least this problem was caught and cleaned up before the owners arrive.  Can you imagine opening up your home after a long absence to the smell and rot of a dead refrigerator and freezer?  And just think of the amount of your vacation that would be dedicated to fixing the issue.  Once again, it is nice to have someone there to find the problems and keep an eye on the house!

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail
Posted on April 3, 2013 in A La Carte Services, Disasters, Spring by ShannonNo Comments »

An interesting article ran in the Bend Bulletin last weekend about cleaning out the dryer hoses.  For most second homes, not that much laundry is done.  But for large houses, in a busy rental pool.  The dryers are working overtime!

Check out the article for great information on the preventing vent fires http://www.bendbulletin.com/article/20130326/NEWS0107/303260313/

If you use your dryer a great deal – be safe and get your vents and flex hoses cleaned out.

 

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail
Posted on March 21, 2013 in A La Carte Services, Spring, Tips by ShannonNo Comments »

Tanya Carlsen of Carlseng Design is our guest blogger this week.  She is a Landscape designer who has done some beautiful work for friends and clients.  Check out her advice on what to do in the garden now that we have Spring Fever!

 

Happy Spring

What a fantastic way to begin the spring season, with a day of rain and rainbows.  In Central Oregon it is sometimes difficult to tell when spring has finally arrived, but not this year.  We will have more freezing weather so hold off on your tomatoes and such, but there are still many other things to plan and to do.

 

Some perennials and grasses are starting to leaf out and last years foliage should be cut back.  With your perennials like Catmint and Daisy, cut all the old foliage off completely.  For ornamental grasses such as Fescue, cut back to within about two to three inches depending on how big or tall they are.  For taller grasses such as Karl Foerster, cut back to about six inches or less depending on size.  You do see some grasses cut back to about one foot and that is unnecessary and unsightly, they do not need that old foliage anymore and it gets in the way of a great looking grass.

 

Get a jump start on tackling those pesky weeds before they get bigger, flower or go to seed.  Some of my favorite weeding tools are the Hula Hoe and the Dandelion Weeder stick.  For me spring weeding is a time to do a check up on the garden soil.  How loose or tough is it, how many worms are there, what is it’s condition?  Once you get the weeds out, roots and all, put down some healthy compost around your plants.  For a more sparse landscape, put down some compost just around the plants, for a more heavily planted area or your veggie bed, spread the compost all over, about one inch deep depending on the soil’s needs.  I add compost every year to my veggie bed and so one good deep one inch layer is enough.  Since my garden area is small, I use the bagged compost available at the local nurseries.  My favorite is ‘Harvest Supreme’ with chicken manure, kelp meal and other fantastic nutritious ingredients.  Healthy soil makes healthy plants so do not skimp on amendments.  I have also been using worm castings as an additional amendment and it makes the plants really pop!

 

Pruning is one of my secret passions and I was so happy when a client told me last night he wanted me to come over and prune.  Yeah!  Remember when pruning, first cut broken or diseased branches, then rubbing or crossing ones, then prune for structure and light.

 

We are lucky that there are so many wonderful local nurseries providing a great variety of product.  It is still a little early for them to order in much stock, but soon the spring blooming plants will be flowering and it is a great time to go select some spring color for your garden.  Some of my favorites are Witch Hazel (yellow flowers like Forsythia but with a really nice structure), Pasque Flower, Flowering Almond and Serviceberry shrubs or trees.

 

Plan now for landscape improvements so you can have them done to enjoy this summer.  Consider adding more edible plants, bird friendly and native plants for a more diverse, productive and alluring landscape.  Wondering what to do with all that lawn you have or that corner you haven’t ever touched?  Let’s get together and plan to make your landscape one that meets your needs and brings a smile to your face every time you see it.

 

For more gardening, design and landscape help please give me a call at 541-610-6961 or send me an email at tanya@carlsengdesigns.com and I will help you create the landscape you’ve always wanted!

 

Have a great day and a great season.

 

Tanya Carlsen
Carlseng Designs
Landscape Design, Consultation & Gardening
tanya@carlsengdesigns.com
www.carlsengdesigns.com
www.carlsengdesigns.blogspot.com
541-610-6961

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

As published in the Sunriver Scene December 2012       By Shannon Bassett – Caretaking Commander, Home Fridays

 

Crowded airports, delayed flights, congested freeways and road rage drivers! Oh sure, you love the holidays, but there is little to celebrate about holiday travel if your stress doesn’t end once you reach your destination. Here are some tips to make your holidays as festive as they are relaxing.

Holiday Décor

Deck the halls the easy way. Delegate.

Holiday lights are a simple way to bring a festive look to your home. I always like to light up a few trees in the yards as well, either with the c-7 or c-9 traditional glass bulbs or the newer more efficient LED lights. LED lights have a bigger upfront cost, but the savings on the electrical bills is 80% over traditional bulbs. LED lights also last ten to fifteen years compared to a three- to five-year life span for traditional lights. Either way, I always suggest that my clients contract with a local installation company. The cost ranges from $2 to $4 a linear foot, which is cheap compared to the cost of slipping on a frosty roof or ladder. A quality company such as Holiday Help Christmas Lighting (541.679.2459) will not only install your lights, they’ll take care of them by replacing burned bulbs, installing timers, taking everything down after the season ends and storing the bulbs for next year.

Of course, you won’t want to ignore the inside of your home. If you’re not in a total DIY mood, tree and house decorating services are available from a number of people around town. You can have your tree delivered and set up in your home ready to decorate when you arrive. A basic six-foot pine tree with lights can run about $100 for setup and removal, though the cost will vary based on the size of the tree and how many lights are requested. A 12-foot pine can cost almost $1,000 if you want to go really wild with the LED lights and that’s before any decorations have been installed. Of course, those LED lights will last you for the next ten to fifteen years and you’ll make back some of that investment with the savings on your electric bill.

For that instant holiday atmosphere, you can have the tree and entire house decorated inside and out before you even get there. Having a tree decorated runs about $50 per hour plus the cost of ornaments. Expect to pay about $150 for a six-foot decorated tree (tree height and the number of ornaments both impact cost). If you’re looking to extend the holiday theme to the rest of your home, Pamela Armstrong of Bend Furniture will finish out the rest of the interior. She can even provide custom-made ornaments.

Gift Giving

You don’t have to shop ‘til you drop. You can shop online instead and have your purchases delivered to your front door. If your home is empty, work with your management company and have the boxes delivered to their offices and then dropped off at your home. Imagine how much easier it will be to travel when you don’t have to stuff a bunch of gifts in your luggage or car.

You don’t even have to pack paper or ribbon. You can get your packages wrapped in the Old Mill at Bend Santa Land by the professionals from Wrap, Paper, Scissors. You won’t have to lift a finger and your packages will look amazing. Talk about a stress-free holiday!

Bon Appétit the Easy Way

Feasting is a quintessential part of merry making. But as far as cooking goes, sometimes less is more. So why not hit the restaurant scene? The Visit Bend website has a great list of restaurants categorized by price, and they note which ones are open for the holidays. Go to www.visitbend.com/Bend_Oregon_Activities_Recreation/Restaurants_Food.  If you want to stay close to home, the Grill at Crosswater and Meadows at the Lodge are great locations for holiday meals—reservations are recommended. (My advice: make them early so you know you won’t be waiting in line during the busy holiday season.)

You can also order pre-prepped holiday meals from one of the high-end markets or local restaurants and then just heat and serve. For a look at just some of your options, check out:

All of these places will provide a ‘to go’ holiday meal, so you can pretend you fixed it yourself. In fact, Tate and Tate has a location in Bend where you can pick up all kinds of prepared meals to take home and feed the family throughout your stay. I love their casseroles that are homemade and can easily be passed off as my cooking.

Want to do your own cooking? Shopping Assistance is a great way to save time. Send your shopping list to your home manager and have them stock the refrigerator for you. Imagine how nice it will be to wake up in the morning and have the eggs and orange juice waiting for you, to say nothing of the rest of the goodies you’ve ordered. And here’s a concept, your turkey will even have time to thaw.

If you really want to indulge, hire a chef to come into your home and fix your meals this holiday. For a little bit more than going out to a fancy restaurant, you can enjoy meals at home without the hassle of shopping, prepping or even cleaning up. I recently hosted a getaway trip for friends and family. Cheryl McIntosh, The Good Apple (541.280.0086) did all the cooking and it was fabulous. The food was wonderful. The fact that I hadn’t had to go shopping and could spend my time with my loved ones instead of in the kitchen was a true gift. I also recommend Pure Ingredients Personal Chef (541.550.9220).

Happy Holidays!

However you prefer to celebrate the season, I want to take this opportunity to wish you a very happy and safe celebration, and a wonderful new year.

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

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

As appeared in Sunriver Scene by Shannon Bassett, Caretaking Commander

 

With times continuing to be tough, everyone is looking for a good deal. One place you don’t want take shortcuts is with an unlicensed contractor or service provider. I manage three or four big construction jobs every year for my clients and loads of smaller projects, from remodels, electrical repairs to plumbing and even landscaping. There are plenty of unlicensed contractors out there these days, often with lower bids. However, what can seem like a good deal can wind up costing you in the end. As a result, I always use a licensed contractor.

 

A contractor’s license offers the homeowner some degree of protection during and after the project. An active license with the Oregon Contractors Board (CCB) indicates that someone in the company attended classes for their trade, passed a state exam and can legally work in the State of Oregon. Equally important is the insurance and bonding required by the CCB that protects the homeowner. Liability insurance covers property and bodily injury losses caused by the contractor. Surety bonds pay damages to the homeowner if the contractor fails in his or her duties. Finally, workers’ compensation covers employees who are injured on the job and ensures that those injury claims don’t come back to you, which they could if your contractor doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance. In addition through the CCB, you as the homeowner have protections, including an avenue to complain and/or recover and receive monetary compensation if problems occur.

 

How do I make sure that I am getting a licensed contractor? Or more importantly, how can you?

 

  • *First and foremost, check the CCB website for the status of the contractor. Search by name or number on the website www.hirealicensedcontractor.com. CCB provides information on the status, bankruptcy, number of years in business, fines and disciplinary actions. Confirm that the names and addresses agree to who you have met with.
  • *On the CCB website you can also make sure the contractor is not involved in any disputes. Past disciplinary actions indicate problems with past clients.
  • *Call the contractors insurance company and confirm insurance is current and will cover your type of project.
  • *Get a list of references and call to find out about the quality of the work and timeliness. Did the contractor stick to the original budget numbers?  Ask if the client was happy with the contractors work. Did the homeowner have any issues with problems after the project was over? Did the contractor come back and take care of everything? Mistakes do happen and sometimes mid-project we homeowners change our minds. In my experience the best contractors have been those who stand behind their work.

 

If your unlicensed contractor is missing in action and phone calls aren’t returned after the job completion, be prepared to pay for someone else to do the repairs. If disputes do arise with your licensed contractor, the CCB has a dispute resolution process including mediation. You can make a claim against the contractor and get the work completed or obtain a judgment for the contractor’s surety payment. The website www.oregon.gov/ccb outlines the process for filing complaints.

 

The name of the game is finding a contractor who will get the job done on time and on budget without putting you at risk. In a multiple bid situation, I rarely go with the lowest bid. Rather I look at the entire project and select the contractor who will meet the budget and be there for the long term to fix any issues. I’d much rather work with a licensed I know I can rely on. Not only do I run into fewer problems on the job, but the peace of mind provided by the additional protection should any problems arise is worth every penny of the extra expense.

 

 

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.

 

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail
Next Page »