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 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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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 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 March 8, 2012 in Disasters, Published Articles, Sunriver Scene, Winter by ShannonNo Comments »

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

No one wants to think about water emergencies. Imagine a call from a neighbor alerting you to water running down your driveway and icicles on the inside of the window. One faulty furnace caused an interior drop in temperature to a vacant home. Several months passed before the problem was discovered. Water saturated the upstairs, dripped downstairs and flowed under the front door. The house was in ‘repair’ status and unusable for over a year.
If your furnace fails you might face a similar experience. A cold house leads to broken pipes when the weather gets cold. Broken pipes thaw out and the water runs freely through the house.
While more common in the winter, water emergencies also happen in the summer. Washing machines and toilet supply lines are common sites for breaks and leaks. The most common cause of interior water damage, according to many plumbers, is the ice maker. A broken ice maker will pump hundreds of gallons of water into your kitchen, causing thousands of dollars of damage. A plastic supply line is an easy target for mice looking for a water source—just a couple nibbles and you have water running everywhere. Water heaters have a predetermined life expectancy which they rarely exceed. The bottoms rust out or the fixtures start leaking. Cracked hose bibs are another common winter water issue. The pipe breaks inside the wall due to a garden hose left attached to the bib or due to a lack of insulation. The water saturates the wall and runs inside the house continuously.
With all this doom and gloom, is there a silver lining? Prevention is the key to limiting your damage. Proactive maintenance and vigilant attention to the house will help catch the water before it becomes a big problem. Most leaks start out small, so if someone is watching your house you can prevent the big price tag that comes with a major water problem.
Regular annual maintenance to your furnace is also highly recommended. Not only will your furnace last longer and run more efficiently, you may avoid a winter breakdown. Three days without heat when the temperatures are below freezing and you will have frozen pipes, guaranteed. Every winter I have a few owners who don’t want to pay for annual furnace maintenance. Without fail at least two of three who decline the service have major furnace failures during the winter and wind up spending significantly more money than a maintenance visit would have cost.
Clearing the ice dams and making sure the snow is running off the house (instead of inside) is critical during the difficult weather. You also want to regularly check toilets, washers and ice makers to make sure the supply lines are dry and there is no water leaking in or around the area. A damp line is an indication that the part is starting to fail. Changing out supply lines to a braided type will minimize chances of toilet and washing machine leaks. Scrutinize areas that have had problems in the past such as leaky skylights and ill-fitting doors. A quick fix now will protect your home from extensive water damage in the future.
Alarm systems now exist to alert you when water is detected in the home. ‘Water Bugs’ are placed around the sensitive areas such as the water heater, and under the refrigerator or sink. When moisture is detected the alarm calls to let you know. Another type of alarm monitors water usage in the house and shuts off the water valve when too much water is flowing through the house. Easy-to-reach water controls installed by a licensed plumber make it easy to turn off all the water when you leave the house for an extended period of time.
Taking care of the small things can add up. But when compared to the significant cost and inconvenience of a major water restoration job, these prevention-related costs are minimal. Remember if damage occurs over time and the house has been vacant, it might not even be covered by insurance. Insurance companies often classify a house as vacant if no one has been there for 30 days. So be vigilant, proactive and get a second set of eyes on the place if you can’t be there yourself.
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 January 19, 2012 in A La Carte Services, Published Articles, Sunriver Scene, Winter by ShannonNo Comments »

As published in the Sunriver Scene

Every year homeowners ask about snow removal.  Many people only want to remove snow when they are going to be using their house.  While a nice idea, it just doesn’t work that way.  For starters, a snow-filled driveway indicates an empty house which can be a target for crime. That’s the least of your worries.  With the temperature swings we have in Central Oregon, the snow constantly warms up during the day and refreezes in the evenings.  This creates serious challenges:

 

 

 

Ice barricades:

 

Roads are typically plowed with every four inches of snowfall.   When they clear the roads, little consideration is given for your driveway.  The result is a snow berm at the entrance of your driveway.  Snow here in Sunriver has been known to create berms over four feet high.  Because of our warm days and cold nights, that berm turns to ice. Not only will even a small pile of ice stop all access to the home, without assistance from Mother Nature you will need an ice axe to get into the driveway.  Don’t forget that parking on the street will result in a ticket, starting at $50 and going all the way up to $250.

 

 

 

Skating rinks where walkways should be:

 

Of course the same freeze/melt cycle that turns berms into ice sculptures also occurs on your driveway and walkways creating an icy entrance.  Ice melt is sometimes recommended for taking care of the slick walkways. However, ice melt can speed up the breakdown of the driveway and damage the house when it gets tracked in on the wood floors.  I like to use sand or kitty litter in the slick spots, which adds traction without damaging asphalt, floors or your shoes.

 

 

 

Roof and Deck Overload:

 

The volume of snow in Sunriver can outweigh your roof and deck, putting your house in serious jeopardy if all that white weight is not removed. Roofs and decks are required by code to withstand 25 pounds per square foot of snow. Weight of snow varies greatly based on the temperature. Warmer, wetter snow is much heavier than fluffy, dry snow.

 

When fearing that your roof or deck might collapse it is easy to overreact.  I heard about one Sunriver homeowner who paid tons of money to have every inch of snow removed from her roof. She was called by a neighbor who told her she needed to have the roof cleared and they had seven guys in her driveway that could do it.  Were they roofers? Were they licensed? Did they even have references?

 

 

 

Removing the Snow:

 

How often do you clear snow? I clear driveways at four inches or greater to prevent ice berms and allow easy access to the house. Decks and roofs are cleared around two feet of snow accumulation. While decks in the sun often clear on their own, the shady decks pile up as the snow falls. Mounds of snow against windows or doors signal removal time has arrived.

 

Mother Nature sometimes helps with warm weather or rain melting away the white weight.  When that doesn’t work, a reliable local professional monitoring the snow situation and clearing it away provides peace of mind. Landscapers equipped with snow blowers, plows and shovels do a great job for the driveway and walkways.  Shovel smaller walkways, stairs and decks by hand to avoid damage. For the roof, I always use licensed roofers. They know what they are doing up there and won’t damage the area. On the roof I concentrate on clearing the eaves and the critical melt paths so water can run off the house.

 

The bottom line: Shoveling will have to be done by you or someone you hire to protect your home. After the driveways, roofs and decks are cleared you can enjoy winter from the comfort of 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 25, 2011 in Disasters, Winter by ShannonNo Comments »

We have had beautiful fall and weather this past 2 weeks was temperatures in the mid to high 60’s and warmer!

Tonight our temperatures will begin to drop into the low 20’s and the daily highs in low 40’s & 50’s.

At Home Fridays we are ready for it!! 

The vent covers, hose bibs are on the exterior of our homes. Our annual furnace checks are in progress and pilot’s lit in fireplaces. All exposed pipes are checked on each home inspection and we have moved patio furniture under cover or in the garage.

Sprinkler systems have been turned off and gutters cleaned.  Come on Mr. Winter – we are ready for you.

Once the snow begins to fall this is just a short list of extra inspection items:

  • If snow – inspect all around house to see if we have any areas of concentration for icecycles, ice damns (typically in roof valleys or above skylights). 

 

  • Snow should not be up against wood or glass doors.  If we find this, we make sure it gets removed.  

 

  • Heat should be set to at least 55 on all homes.  

 

  • Open cupboards under each sink and leave open – helps keep the ambient temperature consistent throughout the house.

 

  • All bedroom doors should be open – helps keep the ambient temperature consistent throughout the house.   We want to avoid cold spots in the house.

 

  • Keep a close eye on the ceiling and the skylights – winter weather will bring more leaks!

 

  • Check windows for weeping or leaking.   We like to keep the blinds up about 1” so we can quickly look at the window sills for any potential problems.

 

At Home Fridays we care for your 2nd home inside and out!  If you are having concerns about your home, give us a call at (541)317-3088 and we can get you ready for winter.

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Posted on May 23, 2011 in A La Carte Services by ShannonNo Comments »

I just could not resist posting on a recent blog post by Time Magazine all about consumers.  According to one survey it looks like the demand for handy men will be increasing.  Not a big surprise to us here at Home Fridays.  Even if you can do the repair yourself, who wants to spend the time on their vacation taking care of things?  Here is the excerpt;

If you can hold your own in the DIY department, you’re truly exceptional. An AA Home Emergency Response study shows that the number of men capable of handling home maintenance jobs has been on the decline for decades. In 1970, 71% of men had basic home DIY project skills, compared to just 44% more recently. By 2030, it’s expected that only one in five men will be able to pick up DIY skills from their fathers.

Read more:  http://ti.me/lpqAiO

Don’t  worry at Home Fridays we are ready to take on the burden.

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Posted on May 18, 2011 in A La Carte Services, Spring by ShannonNo Comments »

I ran across this article today about a woman in New Mexico who was fined for not weeding her yard.  It sounds like it was a second home that she was neglecting.  When she went to the courthouse to pay a parking ticket they arrested her and tossed her in jail.  http://bit.ly/kjtAw7    At Home Fridays we are managing the yard service and making sure we don’t get anyone tossed in jail.  Some homeowner associations are very rigid and do ticket for too many noxious weeds.  We have dealt with this in the past and worked through the issue with the Home Owners Associations.  It typically requires a visit with the HOA rep to prove the noxious weeds have been removed.  Noxious weeds can be a real issue as once your neighbor has them, you can be sure that you will be visited as well.  Regular maintenance with pulling, spraying and monitoring is the best solution.  Here is a link to Oregon Department of Agriculture Plant Division which has some great pictures and profiles of noxious weeds.  http://1.usa.gov/lbFDvN   So stay weeded and stay out of trouble!

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