Posted on September 24, 2012 in Fall, Published Articles, Sunriver Scene by ShannonNo Comments »

As printed in the Sunriver Scene – September 2012 Edition by Shannon Bassett

We read over and over about how important it is to do home maintenance.  What does that mean?  What will it cost and is it worth it?  The National Association of Realtors and Coldwell Banker estimate home maintenance runs 1.5-4% of the value of your home.  That might sound like a lot, but spending money on annual maintenance can increase longevity of your major appliances and systems and thus increase the value of your home in relation to one that is not maintained. The consequences of failing to maintain your home’s infrastructure negatively affect its value and typically results in increased maintenance costs.

One Central Oregonian delayed all his maintenance, never doing anything until absolutely necessary in a misguided attempt to save money.  As a result his furnace didn’t last as long as it should have, and the last minute replacement was almost a third more expensive than it would have been if he had planned ahead.  Annual professional care and filter changing could have added years to the life of his furnace.  The damage didn’t stop there. Because he didn’t take care of his sprinklers, he ended up with a flooded yard and foundation, which created not just one giant bill but two. When you add in his repair, which cost hundreds of dollars along with the sky high water bill, total cost of his negligence on this one single issue was close to a thousand dollars. Still not learning from his mistakes, he skipped annual deck maintenance and wound up having to replace a significant portion of the rotted boards, which cost him several thousand dollars.  His attempts to save money ended up costing him more than four times what a proactive owner would have paid.

With the guidance of Home Fridays, the home caretaker service I run, another owner is proactive about maintaining her home including annual maintenance on the furnace, air conditioning, regular deck maintenance, roof inspection and even replacing the water heater prior to the end of its life.  Consequently she has spent a smaller amount of money annually and escaped all the big ‘urgent disaster’ related bills. All major systems in her home work well and she is able to plan for system replacement in advance.

When looking at the dollars spent over time by the two owners, the deferred maintenance homeowner spent more than four times as much fixing and repairing problems as the diligent homeowner.  New furnaces in the dead of winter are much more expensive to replace then getting five to ten additional years out of the existing furnace and planning replacement during the off season.  The deferred home will continue to need money to repair other ignored areas including exterior damage from a neglected painting schedule.

The bad news doesn’t stop there. The overall the value of the deferred maintenance home has been negatively impacted by the large list of items in need of repair. Don’t let that happen to you.   Invest in your home’s upkeep annually to keep your total costs down and your home’s value up.

Annual Maintenance Major Systems Check List

 

  • Furnace – Fall service check by a professional and regular filter changes will keep your furnace running smoothly.  A properly maintained furnace has a lifespan of 15-20 years.  A warm house is a good thing.

 

  • Air Conditioning – Spring service check will help keep your unit going for an estimated 12-15 years.  Annual service is important to check the refrigerant levels.  If coolant levels fall low, the unit can burn out quickly and require costly replacement.

 

  • Water Heaters – Water heaters should be examined for leaks or rusting on a regular basis. Lifespan is estimated at 10-11 years and proactive replacement is recommended.  Water sloshing around the floors from a failed water heater is the last thing anyone wants to experience or pay for.

 

  • Roof Maintenance and Replacement – The lifespan of a roof varies by the style and materials averaging 15 years.  Inspect the roof annually for loose or broken shingles or tiles.  Simple repair can help reduce future problems such as leaks or tiles susceptible to wind damage.

 

  • Decks – Wooden decks suffer from the fluctuating temperatures, dry climate and snow.  Annual sanding and sealing will maintain the integrity of the deck and delay full replacement.  Skipping over this annual step will lead to rotting deck structures, buckling and cracking boards and eventually an unsafe deck.

 

  • Exterior Paint – Paint takes a beating in Central Oregon and rarely lasts the advertised 15 years. A low quality exterior paint used on southern exposure might last just a few years.  Review the paint annually for signs of fading, cracking and peeling.  When repainting do not take shortcuts on preparation, materials or temperature to achieve the longest possible life.  Putting off painting will expose the wood house structure to greater failure.

 

  • Caulk – Filling the cracks around your siding and windows with caulk creates a barrier between the environment and your home.  Caulking material tends to dry out, shrink and crack, however, compromising the protection barrier. Inspect the caulk around your home and replace any areas of shrinking or pulling away on the windows or exterior siding.  This will protect the wood from exposure and rot.

 

  • Driveway – Blacktop driveways crack over time with the changing temperatures.  Repairing the cracks every few years and skim coating by a professional can prevent or postpone a full replacement.

 

As Home Friday’s Caretaking Commander, I take care of many homes and preventative upkeep is a priority for all.   I have seen over and over the benefits of staying current on maintenance.  Deck maintenance is cheap in comparison to total deck replacement.  The lower overall cost as well as the reduction in ‘emergencies’ far outweighs the potential headaches, cold nights and concern.  Put a plan in place to review your home and keep the maintenance current. Sustaining the investment in your home through proactive maintenance will mean fewer expensive surprises in the repairs department down the line.

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 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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