A Problem Waiting To Happen – An Untended Home!

Who’s Watching Your Home and Property

While You’re Out-of-Town?

 The Problem. When you are out-of-town for any length of time, your home and property is at risk – not just from burglary!

Bad things can happen in a home while you are away, problems home watch services, home visitation, home careinclude: heating and cooling failures; water leaks and damage; insect or rodent infestations; storm damage; mold; plumbing problems; electrical problems; water heater failures; etc. Imagine these problems going undiscovered for days, weeks, or even months! It happens more often than you think!

Precautions like security systems, cameras, and other detection devices -while recommended – have their limitations. Regular human visitations can add an important dimension to providing the home owner with peace-of-mind! This is where a house watcher service comes in.

Note – House watchers are different from House Sitters. House watcher professionals visit your home/property on a scheduled basis to check on its status. House sitters live in your home while you are out-of-town!  

The Solution. A home watcher service that visits and inspects the property on a scheduled basis to make sure that everything is in order and working properly. The service inform their client about all issues and generally will be capable of coordinating the required “fix”. A proper home watch visit takes time and expertise.  The professional is trained to detect the early signs of damage and catch it before it becomes an expensive disaster. Even the most minor mold or water damage will cost thousands!!  Early detection is the key to saving money.

A home watch service will be your “Eyes and Ears”while you are away. They can maintain and protect your most important asset – Your Home. The Service is there when you can’t be. They do the worrying for you and take care of your home while you’re out-of town.

Who Needs a Home Watch Service?

The services are designed to support seasonal residents with vacation homes, vacationers, week-enders, frequent travelers, employees working out-of-town, people on the go, and private owners of vacant property. The service can also be made available to owners of corporate owned properties, homes vacant due to corporate relocation, homes listed by realtors, and bank owned properties.

What Does the Home Watch Professional Do When Visiting the Home and Property? home watch, home visitation

Your Property Watch Services Should Include:

• A thorough check of the properties interior, unattached buildings and the exterior

• Checking that security systems are functioning

• Opening/closing the main water valve as directed by property owner

• Checking smoke detectors and replacing batteries if needed

• Making sure all windows and doors are secure

• Checking for forced entry

• Checking for vandalism

• Checking ceilings for visible signs of roof leaks 

• Checking for flooding

• Checking the humidity levels

• Checking for moisture problems

• Checking for indications of mold

• Checking for plumbing failures

• Checking for pest issues

• Checking for frozen/broken pipes

• Checking for tripped breakers (reset electric appliances)

• Checking all HVAC units and settings

• Running faucets in sinks, tubs, and showers

• Confirming that the refrigerator(s) are working properly

• Checking deck areas

• Visual inspecting the roof and gutters from ground level

• Confirming yard maintenance is being performed properly

• Starting automobile(s) (if requested by owner)

• Ensuring there are no unwanted guests (Squatters) on your property

• Acting as the emergency contact in the owners absence

• Offering additional options specific to your property

What the Home Watch Service Should Provide the Home/Property Owner?

1st and formost Pace-of Mind! The owner needs to know that an experienced professional is looking after their home and property when they are absent and that the professional is highly capable of protecting their most valuable asset – Their Home!

What Should You Expect When Receiving a Quote and Pricing?

The initial consultation – whether by phone or at your property – should be free of charge. During this meeting you should be able to meet the manager and ask any questions you have. The manager should then schedule an onsight inspection and discussion about the services required to establish a price.

The price for the home watch service will vary with the size and the specific needs of the home owner! People shopping for the lowest price should beware – You get what you pay for! Look for value and trust, not for the cheapest price you can find.

What Additional Home Watch Services Should Be Available?

Beyond basic absentee homeowner services, the service should a single-point of contact by overseeing all of the property maintenance, repairs, renovation, remodeling or special projects at your home or property while you are away.

In the event of an approaching storm, the service should be available – at an added cost – to secure your property and alert you to any damages that are incurred.

When a problem is discovered and needs repair, the service should notify the client and make arrangements to have it rectified by vetted professionals. When time permits, the service should discuss the repair options with the client and assist in making an informed decision on how to move forward.

You should not need to worry about broken pipes, flooded basement, storm damage, old newspapers piling up while you are away, or other potential problems. That is why you need a home watcher service.

The home owner should be able to focus on their travels, business, etc. and have Peace-of-Mind! 

What About Insurance and Bonding for the Service?

The home watch service provider should be insured and bonded for the services offered and provide proof upon request.

Conclusion.

Before leaving your home and property vacant, there are a number of precautions you can take to protect your home. One of the easiest solutions is to hire a professional home watch service. Having a service on the job may be the difference between minor damage to your home or complete disaster.

Don’t wait until you have a problem!

If you are planning to be out-of-town or currently away from home, the above discussion about Home Watching should be of interest to you! 

Have Questions. 

We at Properties, Probe and Renovation (PPR) will answer your questions and help determine your best options.

property watchdog, real estate watchdog, your real estate eyes and ears, The PPR WatchDog offers all of the above services and more! Let’s see if PPR is a good fit for you. Contact PPR – Email phil@contactppr.com or Call 216.577.5579

Don’t Let Your Dream House Become a Nightmare!

Don’t Let Your Dream House Become a Nightmare!

10 Action TipsImportance of Annual Home Inspections

“Though there’s no such thing as a perfect house, the trick is to make… sure the home is free of any major problems before signing on the dotted line.” (Zillo)

If you are planning a home purchase it is critical that you arrange to have experts conduct an in-depth, “forensic”, physical on the home before making a commitment. That way, you will know what additional repair/renovation expenses await you if you choose to purchase.

If you currently own your home, you should give your home a comprehensive physical once a year. When you detect problems early, you can correct them, or have them corrected before you suffer an unexpected disaster. Deferred analysis of your home’s major structures and systems most often results in expensive, budget-busting consuming repairs.

  1. Check Things Out Seasonally – Even if you are not buying or selling a home, you should give your house a physical at least once a year – even better, seasonally. Just like with your personal doctor’s physical, early detection pays off!
  2. Review Your Home Insurance – Is your home covered against unexpected calamities? Read through your home insurance policy(s) and know what is and what is not covered. What are your deductibles? Is your home insured to its replacement value? Check with your insurance broker with questions and when in doubt call several brokers for opinions and quotes.
    • Remember, “Homeowners insurance covers mold damage if it was caused by a “covered” peril or mishap. Learn what mishaps are and are not covered and you will probably determine that your homeowner’s policy will likely not cover mold damage when that mold resulted from a preventable water leak, flooding, or high humidity.” (insurance.com)
  3. Inspect Your Home’s Systems on a Set Schedule – With time, systems deteriorate! Find and read all of your systems and appliance warranties. Inspect all major systems: electrical breakers and service panels; smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors; plumbing connections, valves, toilets and drains; sump pump; water heater; and HVAC units.
    • Note – All of the above are often best left to professionals. Each of these systems requires specific expertise, tools, and equipment.
  4. Control Humidity and Sources of Moisture – When the humidity and moisture combine, it can lead to destructive and health-endangering mildew and mold. Keep the humidity at an ideal low throughout the house–between 30 and 50 percent.
    • Recommendation – Under most circumstances do not use a whole house humidifier! They add unwanted moisture.
  5. Check your walls for Moisture and Mold – Here are three things to do: A) Push on the wall – moisture-damaged drywall will feel soft and spongy, while wood-sheathed walls may feel slightly solid even with a moisture problem. B) Smell the walls – if the wall smells musty, it’s a sure sign of a problem; C) Invest in a moisture meter! They are incredibly powerful and accurate instruments for detecting moisture, which can reveal potential mold colonies. Units start at about $50.00 with non-invasive measurement techniques (no holes in the walls).
    • Note – Mold can be washed off but that will not get to the source. When dealing with mold, this is a job best left to the pros.
  6. Have your home inspected for lead-based paint and radon – Your house could be poisoning you, your family and guests! Since lead was last used as a legal paint ingredient over 35 years ago, most people have no idea what the paint in their current home contains. Radon comes from deep in the earth and is typically found in basements and crawl areas. Heavy concentrations are suspected of having a cancer-causing effect when exposure to radon is continued for years.
    • Caution – Lead paint abatement and radon remediation are best left to professionals!
  7. Inspect Your Home’s Basement, Crawl Spaces and/or Slab – Remember to check the exposed systems in these areas: plumbing, electrical, heating pipes, and ducts; drains, etc. Look for cracks in basement walls that can lead to termite and other problems. Check for mold or water stains on wood, particularly near water lines that may indicate a leak that needs repair.
    1. Reminder – Cracks and water stains may indicate a problem with the foundation. Call a professional!
  8. Inspect Those Often Forgotten Space Above Your Head –- Attics and Crawl Spaces. Inspections should include structural truss damage; insulation; ventilation; water damage; damage around the chimney; condition of electrical conduit and wiring; signs of pests – tiny poop pellets left behind by the critters: squirrels, raccoons, possums, rodents. They often enter attics through the eaves or loose boards. Also, check for signs of carpenter ants and termites–look for piles of wood shavings.
    • Note – Your chimney should be inspected annually, and cleaned periodically. The chimney carries dangerous gases from your fireplace, wood stove or furnace out of your home.
  9. Check Outdoor Home Features – Regular inspections of the eaves, gutters, and soffits are an essential part of home maintenance because these areas are particularly susceptible to water damage and can be a cause of mold. Undetected problems can lead to unexpected and hefty costs.
    • Reminder – Inspect your property’s trees and bushes. Untrimmed vegetation can cause moisture-related concerns, can stain the siding of your home, can give thieves a hiding place, can promote insect infestation and more. Take preventive action and trim the trees and shrubs away from your home’s foundation and near utility poles.
  10. Get a Sewer or Septic System Inspection – A professional should use a digital camera that is inserted into the sewer line and pushed through to the main line to check for blockages and deterioration.
    • Note – These same digital camera systems can be utilized to inspect your water, heating and drain pipes.

In Closing – While your home should bring your family and your joy, pride, and comfort, homes can be full of surprises! Weather, deterioration, wear and the effects of time can cause the systems in your home to break down. Sometimes these conditions can develop suddenly. Even the most careful homeowners could have home-related issues that require immediate attention without even knowing it. While attempting DIY solutions is often tempting, in most cases the inspections and solutions to problems are best left to professionals.

As Lifehacker points out, “DIY home improvements can definitely be very rewarding, both in terms of saving money and the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel as you turn your living space into your dream home. Choose the wrong projects, however, and all your time and effort will be wasted—not to mention you’ll end up paying more to have the work redone correctly. Also, some improvements are just plain dangerous for regular homeowners (even experienced DIYers) to do themselves.”

Bottom Line

Inspecting your entire home annually.A forensic, in-depth, comprehensive home inspection, should be conducted by a team of professionals who are able to assess whether or not the major structures and systems in a house are functioning safely and efficiently.

And that’s what the PPR WatchDog can do for you!!