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.

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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 March 29, 2011 in Disasters, Spring, Winter by ShannonNo Comments »

A wise women said this to me the other day.  Never has a truer statement been uttered.  When it is your beautiful floors, your walls and your furniture versus the water from an appliance or an outdoor source – your home doesn’t stand a chance. 

 If the frozen stuff is on the roof – it will work its way down and sometimes that means into your house.  If the water heater is expiring (rusting out on the bottom or through a hose) – then it will flood the room and often keep pumping in more water.  If the ice maker goes, it just pumps water into the house and your kitchen floors are a thing of the past.  A little leaky faucet will become a big leaky faucet.  Hopefully a running toilet just runs up your water bill and doesn’t create the need for a new floor. 

So with all this doom and gloom – what is the silver lining?   Prevention is the best answer.  Be proactive in maintaining the water heater, the toilet seals and managing the icy roofs.  Water heaters have an identified life – keep an eye on the bottom and look for rust.  Most leaks start with a small bit of water.   Leaking faucets typically start off with a small leak.  An empty house may develop issues and no one is there to see.  Having weekly house checks is a great solution.  Get someone inside and outside watching the house.  Look for problems before they become significant – focused on any water sources or potential water sources.  Keep an eye on anything that has been trouble in the past such as a leaky skylight or a set of doors that tends to have puddles outside.  Watch the water heater for any signs of wear and tear.  The washing machine hose should always be dry – any moisture indicates the start of a leak.  The supply line on the toilet is another one that should be checked to see if it is dry. 

 Taking care of the small things can seem to add up — but compared to significance water restoration jobs, they are nothing.  And remember if the damage occurred over time and the house was vacant – insurance might not cover it.  The insurance companies often classify a house empty for 30 days consecutively as ‘vacant’ and therefore not covered.  So be vigilant.

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