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 [email protected] or Call 216.577.5579

How To Avoid the Renovation Nightmares You’ve Heard About!

Choose a Project Manager (PM) – OVER – a General Contractor (GC)

You’ve Heard the Horror Stories..And I’ve Been There Myself! Many years ago I depended on a GC to oversee a large renovation project only to find myself in the midst of continual project delays, inferior materials and installations and as a result, a project completed at a lesser quality Using a Project Manager - Making the right renovation decision!than the overall design had dictated plus many lost dollars. The GC made claims and promises he did not keep and I had virtually no recourse. I learned then how important an Owner Representative Project Manager is…one who provides onsite oversight to meet the owner’s objectives from project inception to project completion. Choosing a PM over a GC makes it possible to survive a renovation so that planned outcomes are realized with a minimum of unplanned disruptions, stress, sleepless nights, problems with partners, and financial losses!

Choose the Smoothest Renovation Project Experience: Hire a PM, NOT a GC! The common wisdom is that a residential and/or commercial real estate renovation project requires a GC to head up the construction, which is only one phase of the project . Unfortunately, especially in the residential realm, most owners are not aware of the more comprehensive role which a PM plays in a renovation: managing a renovation project from design, through construction to completion. In other words, the PM oversees the entire project as the owner’s representative; the GC only operates during the construction phase representing his/her staff of trades and vendors supplying construction materials. The use of a PM is more common to commercial projects, and high-end construction and renovations. They are utilized by top architectural firms.

Unfortunately, most owners planning to begin a renovation project begin the construction process by interviewing and asking for bids from GCs only after working with architects and engineers during the design phase. The wiser course is for the owner to seek out a PM at the start of the design process who then moves into the construction phase understanding, visualizing, and executing the overall project design through onsite oversight.

Here’s Where Many Renovation Nightmares Begin! Not realizing that they have the PM choice, many owners try to find a GC thinking the GC represents their interests and will therefore work to meet their specific needs, complete the project on time and stay in budget. Most owners who have undertaken a renovation, however, encounter the following problems as a result of working with a GC because a GC is NOT the owner’s representative, but rather represents their staff of trades and their materials vendors.

Common GC Nightmares

                                  Lack of Communications                                                             Systems Failure

                                  Attitude Problems w/Subcontractors                                        Unfinished Projects

                                  Starting & Quitting Times w/ Workers                                       Missed Deadlines

                                  Worker Cleanliness, Attire and Language                                 Lack of Invoices and Documentation

                                  Lack of Craftsmanship                                                                  Project Cost Overruns

                                  Substandard Materials and Installation                                     Delayed Completion Dates

                                  Lack of GC Project & Worker Oversight                                     Lack of Transparency

                                  Unfinished Projects                                                                        Lack of Ongoing Accountability

                                  Lack of Oversight                                                                            Inferior Materials

                                  Inferior Installations                                                                       Expensive Litigation

Need More Info on the Difference Between a PM and a GC? Here are Some Details… 

The Project Manager (PM) becomes involved in the owner’s renovation process during the planning/ pre-construction phase and continues to work on behalf of the client by overseeing the construction project on a day-by-day basis from start to finish. The PM vets the best of workers, trades, and subcontractors to complete each individual phase of the project with a concentrated effort to streamline project scheduling among the trades to keep the focus on quality, cost and time. By involving PMs early in the development process, the pre-construction design team is capable of making more informed decisions and the construction team is capable of deriving more precise cost estimates, thereby saving the client time and money. The collaboration between the client, construction Project Manager, architects and engineers results in a better-informed and more efficient project process, further strengthens relationships, and yields specific and overall project outcomes which best meet the client’s plan design.

The General Contractor (GC) becomes involved after the architects and engineers have completed the plans and is responsible for only the management and coordination of the construction phase of a project. GCs are typically hired on by the client through a bidding process that integrates the advice from the client’s consultants, namely the architects and engineers. Often the lowest qualified bid is selected for the job. The GC uses his own staff, trades, subcontractors and materials vendors with whom he/she has a working relationship. Once the construction process is underway, the GC primarily interacts with the client through the architect. There is little to no effort made to foster an environment of cooperation and collaboration between the GC, client, and architect. Often, this results in misunderstandings, confrontations, hostilities and less than planned-for project outcomes.

                           Item-by-item Comparison Between a PM and a GM

Project Manager (PM)

General Contractor (GC)

Works with Architects & Engineers at the beginning of the Real Estate Renovation project– Assists with design and purchasing

Bids on project after architectural & engineering plans are drafted – Not involved in the client, architect, or engineer’s design vision so execution can be compromised

Has the capacity to manage multiple types of projects

Often has expertise and workers focused on specific types of construction

Vets and hires the most expert trades and professionals to construct each job associated with the renovation, researches the best solutions for the design, and oversees materials quality and installation

Utilizes own staff, trades, and materials vendors with whom they have an ongoing relationship, often with cursory regard for the expertise needed for a given project

Trades and subcontractors hired by PM as the Owner’s Representative

Trades and subcontractors work for GC – Client has little or no say

Works with the client, architect, and designers to select materials compatible with the owners specifications

Generally works with the materials provided by the client through the architects and designers, and/or the materials vendors with whom the GC has a financial relationship, with minimal, if any, client input

As the Owner’s Representative, works with Architects, Engineers and specific trades to assure that all permits are obtained, work is to code, and that inspections go smoothly to protect the owner

Generally expects the Architects, Engineers and Subcontractors to handle permits, code violations and inspections with the responsibility for meeting code requirements left to the Client.

Works with client on paying trades and subcontractors when projects – or parts of projects – have been inspected for quality and approved when the job specifications have been met. Provides the client with invoices and daily work logs

Client pays GC who pays the Trades and Subcontractors and materials as agreed upon with client, most often without critical materials and/or project quality inspection and approval…GC may or may not itemize expenses and hours for the client

Communicates with the client on a daily basis – or as agreed upon. Total transparency re: the concerns, progress and costs of projects

Generally have limited communications with the client – unless there are major problems, delays or when more funding is required

Provides onsite oversight whenever work is being done on projects associated with the renovation, inspecting projects for quality as work is being done

Is on site only as needed by the trades and subcontractors with cursory oversight for quality of materials and installation specified by the project design

Here’s a Second Opinion About the Value of a PM vs a GC

From a Leader in the Construction Industry…

Watchdogpm is an owner representative firm for large commercial and industrial projects and is not related to PPR. Watchdogpm says that before you decide whether to hire a Project PM or a GC for your next real estate project, you should

…know the difference. And if you can’t decide, do your project a favor: hire a project manager who will manage your full project scope, not just construction.”

Here’s the PPR Conclusion – If you want a strong foundation for the real estate renovation project you are Project Manager, construction manager, home renovations, remodeling, real estateconsidering, it’s time to take the 1st Steps by putting together your management team: Architect; Engineers and Project Manager. Then your renovation project will be completed with a minimum of fuss and bother and a maximum of satisfaction and pride!

We’re good listeners at PPR and if you and we agree that the fit is right our PPR WatchDog is ready, willing and able to protect your real estate interests by managing the full scope of your project through onsite oversight–from inception to completion!

Want to discuss your project? Contact PPR by email or call 216.577.5579