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 October 5, 2012 in Disasters, Questions When Hiring, Tips by ShannonNo Comments »

The Bend Bulletin reports new legislation will penalize home and business owners if they have false alarms . Fees will increase with the number of false alarms but the exact dollar amounts have not been defined. Avoiding the fines with no false alarms is the ideal. However, real life is not like that. At Home Fridays we have worked with our alarm providers to make sure the alarm call comes first to us. Then we can ask lots of questions – is there a motion detector going off in addition to a window or door? Does the path of movement show someone is in the house or is it a single point going off? If there is a path of movement then a response is necessary. If it is a single window alarm, a visit by Home Fridays staff can check it out. This is helping us to keep the costs of false alarms down for our clients. If you don’t have someone checking on your home, how are you going to avoid false alarm fees? Call us at 541.317.3088 and we can help you with a solution.

 

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As printed in the August 2012 Sunriver Scene

By Shannon Bassett – Caretaking Commander, Home Fridays

No one stays home all the time. Do you have a built-in system to cover you for accidents or emergencies? A guest breaks a faucet and doesn’t know how to shut off the water. A quick look at a list on the refrigerator will immediately show who to call for the repair and more importantly where the water shut off is. If you have an updated list posted that is.

Whether a caretaker is checking on the house, a guest or renter is staying there, or you and your family members are in residence, having an updated contact list can make the difference of solving the problem quickly or allowing more damage to occur while you try to identify the correct course of action. Depending on the type of problem, such as running water, waiting time could be costly. Hire a professional to take care of the details or identify all the trades and create a relationship for potential emergencies and regular maintenance.

Here is the Contact List I use for emergencies. You will want to fill in your blanks for things such as insurance, neighbor contacts, water shut-off and electrical panel locations;

 

Police Fire or Medical Emergency— 911
Sunriver Police Non-Emergency—– (541) 593-1014
Sunriver Fire Non-Emergency——- (541) 593-8622
Deschutes Sheriff Non-Emergency– (541) 693-6911
Water and Sewer (Sunriver Resort)- (541) 593-4197 or (541) 593-8034
Electric (Midstate Cooperative) —– (541) 536-2126 or (541) 536-2165
Natural Gas (Cascade)————— (888) 522-1130 or (800) 426-0242
Garbage——————————- (541) 382-6660
Sunriver Owners Association——– (541) 593-2411
Sunriver Lodge ———————- (866) 482-3909
Pest Control (Alpine Pest)———– (541) 389-4942
Plumber (Bryan Young Plumbing)— (541) 317-5852
Tree Removal (Spring River Tree)– (541) 526-7501
Snow Removal (Quality Irrigation)– (541) 593-0344
Road Conditions———————- www. tripcheck. com
Web Weather Cam——————- http://tinyurl. com/7qbz9fx
Your Insurance Agent—————-  
Your Alarm Company—————-  
House Caretaker (Home Fridays)— (541) 317-3088
Neighbor——————————  

Electrical Panel Location————–

Water Shut-Off Location————–

It is not enough to keep your personal list is up to date, you also want to make sure those people who might need to provide you with emergency or other service have the most current information related to you home. When a neighbor spots a broken window at your house and wants to let you know,  a call to Sunriver Owners Association (SROA) can quickly get a message to you as long as your contact information is current. So set your mind at ease and make sure your emergency contacts are up to date with SROA. You actually get a twofer with this update since both SROA as the Sunriver Police Department use the same database of owner information. Update your information by calling SROA (541)593-2411.

Of course there is only so much you can do when you are dealing with a vacation home from afar. How do you cover issues when you are not around?  I had one homeowner who had planned to fly over from the East Coast to take care of a ‘cold alert’ alarm. He was right to worry about the possibility of broken pipes, but I told him to sit tight and let me handle it.   The money he saved by not having to miss work or purchasing last minute plane reservations more than paid for my charges.  It is hard to handle emergencies when you are far from Sunriver but help is available.

Having a local caretaker will simplify the emergency plan for your home. A good caretaking company will have established relationships with all the vendors and be able to prioritize your emergency repairs if needed. It also simplifies the list of who to call when something happens. One simple call to your caretaker should get everything resolved. Take a little time and line up your caretaking team. Hiring a professional to take care of the details, protect your property and manage its maintenance can put the vacation back in your home.

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 October 7, 2011 in A La Carte Services, Questions When Hiring by ShannonNo Comments »

A few simple questions to help decide if Home Fridays can help make managing your vacation home a breeze.

 

1. How far do you live from your property and how frequently can you visit the property?

If you are close you may be able to make the regular visits required for maintenance, inspections, etc., otherwise the further you live the higher your travel time and expenses will be. The larger the distance the, the harder it is to keep a close eye on things.  Disasters happen when a small thing is allowed to develop into something larger.  You should plan making bi-monthly scheduled visits and there is always the potential for a middle of the night emergency call that requires your immediate attention. In the long run, is this feasible for you?  Home Fridays is at your home weekly allowing you to relax when you are away and not worry about the property.

 

2. Are you willing and able to be on-call 24/7/365?

It is important to answer this question honestly, because when an emergency happens at your property you can’t ignore it. Your special event, important meeting, vacation, or personal crisis doesn’t relieve you of an emergency. These emergencies don’t happen all the time, but when they do you have to be willing to handle them immediately. Can you handle being called at 2am in the morning to respond to a security alarm, fallen tree, electrical outage, broken window, flooding?  Home Fridays is on call 24/7 and staffed to handle all your problems.

 

3. Are you currently overwhelmed with your property(s)?

Managing a vacation home can become quickly overwhelming, even for experienced 2nd homeowners. There is always something going on that requires attention.  Are you missing out on vacation time because the ‘honey do’ list is too long?  Home Fridays completes all the honey do lists and lets you focus on your vacation.

 

4. How much experience do you have with maintenance and repairs?

If you can’t do it yourself, do you know who to call? Finding reliable handymen and contractors can take a while and in the mean time you may unknowingly hire people that are unethical, uninsured, do poor quality work, or over charge.  Home Fridays contractors are all certified, licensed, insured and bonded. 

 

5. How well do you understand the insurance risks in Oregon with a vacant house?

Many vacation home insurance policies are null and void if the home is vacant for more than 30 days.   That means the small toilet leak that ended up flooding the first floor of the house when the water ran for 45 days won’t be covered.  Home Fridays is at the house weekly, catching the small mishaps before they become a big problem.   With a regular presence in the house you can avoid the vacant house issue.

 

6. From a financial standpoint, is managing your property the best use of your time?

Ultimately, your decision to hire or not hire a home management company should hinge on whether or not it is a good fit with your lifestyle and makes sense financially.  Is your peace of mind worth the small investment?  Hiring Home Fridays home management  can ensure you peace of mind and  protect your investment!

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Posted on May 8, 2011 in Questions When Hiring by ShannonNo Comments »

Who should you trust your 2nd home too?  We created a list of questions that can help. And of course we included all the answers from Home Fridays (who scored an A+).

How long have you been in business? We started in 2005 and are the original (translates to oldest) 2nd home management company in Bend.

Is this the primary focus of your business? Yes, we are totally focused on taking care of vacation homes for absentee home owners. We are not house cleaners, handymen or real estate agents looking for supplemental income.
Why did you start this business? We owned a second home here and struggled first-hand with the difficulties of absentee ownership. There has been no other professional company offering these services. When we moved to Bend we knew it would be a great solution to use our expertise in property ownership, management and real estate to fill the void in the marketplace.
What experience do you have? Home Fridays is filled with people who are passionate about homes and properties! Shannon was in the real estate business for over 20 years, owning, operating and advising corporations around the world on how to manage their properties. David has been working as an owner, operator and renovator of residential properties for the last 10 years. Diana has over 30 years of residential and commercial property management experience and is a licensed real estate agent. Donna has 20 years of residential and commercial property management experience and is also a professional organizer.
Is the company licensed, bonded and insured? Yes, Home Fridays is licensed in Bend, and has been since its inception in 2005. Home Fridays carries $2,000,000 in liability coverage and we are bonded.
Are you available 24/7? Yes! And, we take all calls personally vs. relying on an answering service.
How often will you visit our house? We will visit your house a minimum of once per week, and more often per a homeowner’s request and/or in the event of any unusual weather situations such as wind storm, extreme cold, etc.
What do your services entail? Home Fridays creates a custom checklist for each house that typically includes windows, furnace, ice maker, faucets, toilets, doors, windows, gutters, and much more. We view your house as an asset and therefore ensure that everything is in order. We also identify any maintenance items that will need attention, such as painting, deck refinishing and other items that will protect your asset for the long run.
How will you communicate with me? Home Fridays will provide you with a monthly Home Wellness Report that details what we observed during our visit, any actions we took and anything that might need attention. We will contact you via phone or email for urgent items, depending on the urgency and your preferred method of contact.
What happens when you find a problem? If the problem is of an urgent nature such as a plumbing leak or other damage, we will immediately fix the problem. Our first call is to one of our trusted vendors (plumber or other contractor); our second call is to you, keeping you informed of the problem and communicating our solution.
Will I need to hire vendors to work on our house? No, we will take care of hiring and managing all vendors. If you already have some vendors working at the house we are happy to serve as your local contact and to act as your eyes and ears to ensure they are performing the work to your specifications. Whether it is managing a kitchen remodel or ensuring that the spa is getting cleaned on schedule, you can relax knowing it will be managed by us just as well as it will be when we hire a vendor to work on your home.
Whom will the vendors work for? We hire and pay the vendors so you won’t have to worry about it. We have found that local vendors are much more responsive to us because they want to earn business on all the homes we take care of and not just a small job on a single home.  We are also able to get better pricing and pass that on to our owners.
How do you find your vendors? We use local vendors that are licensed, insured and bonded that have been found through our referral network and extensive reference checking. We will not hire anyone for your house that we wouldn’t want in our own home.   For all the contractors we use we require current proof of insurance (updated annually), a signed contract with Home Fridays that protects your home for any work they do.
Who fixes and cleans things? Home Fridays works with several trusted local cleaning people and handymen to put your home in tip-top shape.  We have a handyman on staff to tackle the small items.  But for anything that requires a permit (electrical and plumbing) we bring in licensed contractors. 

Will you act as the local contact for our security company? Yes, we are the first phone call the security company makes when the alarm goes off in one of our clients’ homes. Because we know our owners’ schedules and we schedule any work that goes on in the home, we know if the alarm is valid. If it is clearly not a false alarm, we ask them to send someone to the house right away. Then, once the house has been cleared, we go in and make sure that art, valuables and everything else is in place. Our post-visit follow-up call to you will put you at ease, knowing we’ve been there for a first-hand look.
How many people work for you? Home Fridays is made up of 4 people and a large list of reliable, local vendors.
Do you have a payroll? Yes, we have a payroll and are current on all business and employee taxes. If you are ever audited, all payments made to Home Fridays will stand up to the rigors of an audit.
Are your employees and contractors legally permitted to work in the U.S.? Yes, Home Fridays employs only legally permitted individuals. All our vendors are required to provide proof of insurance and license to ensure they are complying with all US regulations.
How will I be billed? Home Fridays bills monthly in arrears. A detailed bill is provided along with our monthly Home Wellness Report giving our owners a comprehensive narrative on what happened during the month. Correspondence and bills are sent via email or snail mail (whatever you prefer).
Do you accept credit cards? Yes, for the ease of our owners we accept credit cards as well as checks or money orders.

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