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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Posted on June 6, 2012 in Disasters, Published Articles, Sunriver Scene by ShannonNo Comments »

Published in the June 2012 Sunriver Scene

 

Clients often ask me if they should install a security system in their vacation home. Over the last 7 years I have increasingly answered yes. Then I explain that according to neighborhoodscout. com, 1 out of every 31 Central Oregon homes will be burglarized this year. That translates to an estimated 136 homes hit in Sunriver. With the developments of the security systems and the increase in crime against property protecting your investment and investing in your peace of mind while away from your home for extended time periods just makes good sense.
Monitoring the safety and condition of your home from afar has never been easier. Cameras, temperature and water sensors, even turning your lights on and off, are just a few of the new bells and whistles that alarm systems offer. If you are not using your home every week, would you even know if someone was in there? Several years ago some not so neighborly-neighbors cleaned out everything of value in a Sunriver area house a few pieces of furniture at a time. By the time the homeowner came to visit, the place was empty. The best idea is to have someone checking on the house. The second best idea is to have an alarm.
So what does an alarm do? One, it creates an inconvenience for the burglar. When figuring out what home to break into, an alarmed home will be bypassed for the easier one down the street with no alarm. Two, the loud and uncomfortable sirens that sound when an incorrect code is entered will scare off the intruder and alert your neighbors. Once the alarm is set off a monitoring station will first call the house to make sure the alarm was not inadvertently triggered. With no answer, the alarm company will report the activity to the police and request that officers be sent out to the house.
Some of the newer available features include cold alerts where the owner receives a call if the house temperature dips below a preset number. Every year several furnaces in the homes I manage go on strike. If the homes had been left unattended with no heat, those homeowners would be looking at everything from frozen pipes to severe water damage. Luckily with alarm alerts and the regular house checking I do, all problems have been averted.
Water alerts work the same way; you’ll receive a call if a specific area is wet or a higher than normal amount of water is flowing into the home. If you don’t have a person lined up to deal with the problem, you’ll have to revamp your plans and start driving immediately. Do you really want to deal with the soggy wet carpet once you arrive at your troubled home? A double layer of protection, an alarm and a local caretaker, will help secure your asset from crime and system mishaps.
I can’t stress how important it is to have a reliable local looking after your home. Recently I arrived at a home after the alarm had been triggered and the police had declared the house safe and departed. All was well except for the fact that the sliding door had been left wide open. With the original alarm having been cleared, the welcome mat had now been thrown out for intruders. This may sound unusual to you, but it’s not. In over six years of managing property across Central Oregon, that has happened 3 times on my watch. Not to mention what the heating bill would have been with a door left open during the cold winter.
When selecting an alarm company look for a one with local presence, local repairman and a reliable central station. I had one home where a remodel with new windows meant a small change to the security system. The company had no local repairmen; consequently the house went unprotected for over two weeks while waiting for a technician to come over from Portland.
Make sure you feel confident and secure with your selected security company and their employees. You want to know who you are inviting into your home since they will be installing your system and privy to all the alarm codes. Referrals from a reliable source such as your caretaker, neighbor or realtor are best.
When choosing an alarm system, other features to look for include remote access for viewing the house or turning the alarm on and off for guests. Logging on and seeing the house temperature and adjusting remotely is great with our variable weather in Central Oregon.
Don’t be put off by price. In addition to saving money on potential replacement of stolen items and/or repairs, many insurance companies give discounts for homes with monitored alarm systems. Be sure to take advantage of this savings with your homeowners insurance and check the requirements prior to installation. Once you’ve got your alarm system installed and activated and your caretaker at the helm, you can relax almost as much as you would if you were actually here in Sunriver.

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 23, 2012 in Disasters, VRBO by ShannonNo Comments »

The latest buzz heard around Bend and Sunriver is about break-ins to unoccupied homes. A group of squatters actually moved into a Sunriver home for the winter, rearranged the furniture, took out some walls and made themselves at home. The unwanted guests moved the ping pong table from downstairs to the upstairs and couches outside. The owners arrived for vacation and found a trashed and damaged home as they watched the squatters run out the back door!

Another home in Bend was damaged when someone broke in and left the hot water running full blast in the sinks. Yikes on that heating bill and water damage repair.

Both homes have near-by neighbors and still nothing was reported or even looked amiss.

Just a few more reasons you really want to have someone reliable watching over your home and a good security system never hurts. A weekly home check would easily have prevented the amount of damage to the Sunriver home. The Bend home is under surveillance and the promblems were caught and quickly contained. Keep an eye out for my next column in the Sunriver Scene – To Arm or Not To Arm. Give me a call if you need help with your Central Oregon home.

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Posted on April 17, 2012 in A La Carte Services, Disasters by ShannonNo Comments »

It is hard to believe the audacity of some thieves.   Having Champagne and taking a shower while burglarizing a home?   Check out this link; http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/the-other-side/california-burglar-caught-naked-in-shower-after-helping-himself-to-champagne/story-e6frfhk6-1226329753900

 

Meanwhile in a Central Oregon gated community we had a rash of thefts ust last week.   A screwdriver to the back door lock was all it took to break open the man doors into the garages and gain access to the homes.  Notices went out to the neighborhood and everyone was on high alert.  After several nights of the same activity, he was caught.  The burglar didn’t even change neighborhoods…

 

At Home Fridays we have several precautions to prevent and minimize damage.

  1. 1. Always lock the door between the house and the garage with a deadbolt.
  2. 2. Set the alarm when no one is there, even if only out for a short time.
  3. 3. Unplug or lock the garage door so automatic openers cannot be used.
  4. 4. Have someone check the house on a regular basis.

 

For our owners in the affected neighborhood, they had great relief knowing that we had been to their homes and they were not victims.  Do you know the status of your home?   If not, give us a call…

 

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Posted on September 15, 2009 in Disasters by ShannonNo Comments »

It is a sad commentary on the area when home break-ins increase.  Recently we had a window broken on a home – the alarm went off and the intruder was scarred away.  With a quick response by local authorities (because the alarm is monitored and we knew that no one should have been in the house) significant damage or theft was averted.    This house is in a quiet area and it would have been easy access if the alarm did not exist. 

Until recently we had only a handful of homes with alarms.  But now I strongly encourage alarms.  Home Fridays is a great deterrent as we are in the house changing the lighting pattern and giving the house a more lived in feel.  But we are not there 24/7.  And that is when the alarm really comes in handy. 

We usually get the call that the alarm has gone off.  If the owners are visiting or someone is scheduled to be there – we run over to the house.  If no one is scheduled, we let the police respond and then go over.  Sorry, I am just not big and scary enough to drive anyone away from the house!  Sometimes it is a false alarm, but in this recent case it was not.  

We have heard stories about a moving van pulling up in front of a house that was for sale.  They cleaned out the entire house of furniture and everything.  It was months before anyone discovered the theft.  The neighbors – just thought they had sold the house.   Alarm service along with Home Fridays would have prevented that theft.

Another vacation home was slowly cleaned out by the thieves over a matter of weeks or even months.  The final straw – they left the door open.  So the pipes froze and the owner was alerted when he received an enormous water bill.  He drove out to his home and found the door ajar, water running through the house and the things the thief had left, out on the lawn.  A good monitored alarm system along with Home Fridays would have prevented that – our weekly visits will discover any issues and get them resolved.

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