Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

Real Estate: Security Cameras Worth A Look?

November 8, 2014

14Nov08 - security camera

(Image Credit: Google Images – pixabay.com)

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EVEN AS THE VIBRANT COLORS OF AUTUMN BRIGHTEN OUR DAYS, THE DARKNESS OF LONGER NIGHTS presents a potentially problematic scenario for homeowners, tenants and property managers. For most it has relatively nothing to do with longer hours of lighting costing more since they plan on that happening and budget for it. In our case it is a reminder of what transpired at one of our client’s properties a few years ago.

While extended winter nights are no revelation to this part of the world, they may bring increased trepidation to those concerned about burglars and similar hooligans who are apt to operate under cover of night’s murkiness, which is a topic discussed in many other forums. For us autumn evokes memories of vandal misdeeds.

Our client owned a stately, well-maintained century old apartment house with carefully landscaped grounds, and as consultants to that property we were never aware of a graffiti problem. To our knowledge there was no such trouble in the neighborhood, or even in adjacent neighborhoods. Nonetheless, we learned that one autumn night the out-building walls and doors became billboards for such displays. Although the skill of the “artists” was quite good and their productions were not profane, their handiwork defaced the building and most definitely did not belong on the property. Nobody saw the vandals or knew who they were yet their “art” magically appeared on a regular basis. The owner seemed unable to stop the delivery of another wall mural by the latest aspiring Rembrant.

Our previous recommendations that a security camera system be inconspicuously installed had always been dismissed because the owner wanted to maintain an exterior environment representing the period in which the buildings were constructed. But the repeated instances of graffiti had the owner relent and, interestingly, the artwork ceased immediately — an occurrence that questioned whether the graffiti was an “inside” job (performed by one or more of the owner’s tenant household members or guests) or whether the vandals were super sensitive and savvy to security apparatus. It remains anyone’s guess as they were never caught or identified.

Though the vandals departed as abruptly as they entered the scene the owner was pleased just to have the problem resolved, which was the primary purpose for the camera system. However, the system brought other benefits to the owner as well. Tenants liked knowing the camera system was there, especially when walking to or from their vehicles after dark. And the system qualified the property for an insurance premium reduction.

Bottom line: If your property doesn’t have such a system, it certainly is worth a look.

 

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Need consulting, coaching or problem troubleshooting regarding other single-family or multi-family housing issues? We’ll be pleased to help you. Visit us at the Inhouse Corporation website or contact us at inhouseco@aol.com

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Blog Terms of Use and Disclaimer: The purpose of this blog is to promote awareness and general discussion of the presented topic. Use of this blog shall be the reader’s agreement this blog is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified professional and each action that may be taken shall be under the specific guidance and oversight and/or performance of a professional qualified in the subject matter. If you have a question or want assistance with a featured or related matter please contact us at InhouseCo@aol.com (include the blog article title on the subject line). Links, references and credits in this blog are for convenience only and are not endorsements by the author or Inhouse Corporation. Statements and/or opinions of guest authors may or may not reflect those of Inhouse Corporation.

Property Management: The Uninvited of Autumn

September 29, 2014

2014-09-28 - Raccoon on Roof

(Image Credit: Google Images – animals.y2u.co.uk)

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To Inhouse WebSite

A SENSE OF ALARM WAKES YOU in the middle of a crisp autumn night. But the silence and darkness assure you it’s just the sleepy residue of a quickly evaporating dream. You roll into a more comfortable position but then snap to attention! In the wall near the ceiling is a sound barely a decibel or two above the imagination, something between light scratching and scurrying of tiny feet. Is it a mouse … or something else?

While nesting spots may be sought in spring, in our area many property managers see autumn as the season more likely to have us become potential involuntary hosts not only to mice but possibly bats, rats, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, reptiles or insects.

We know one case in which a pregnant squirrel apparently found a way to gnaw through an attic vent screen, turning the space into a nursery. Being undetected for a time, the eventual removal of the mother and offspring was no easy feat. Professionals spent two days locating, capturing then removing them and their lair. Their lengthy residency magnified health concerns as well as damage, which included excrement cleansing, nibbled wire repairs, insulation replacement, reinforcing chewed wood, fixing the attic vent screen as well as hunting for and removing any ticks, fleas and other vermin that were left behind. The work cost hundreds of dollars.

To save money affected folks often try ousting the invaders themselves, which could be a hazardous undertaking. Among other risks a scared or cornered animal may attack, possibly causing infection, disease or even rabies. When viewed this way, paying a professional may seem small compared to the consequences of one or more potential missteps when dealing with many-legged squatters.

What to do? Strive to prevent the problem in the first place. Though no strategy can always guarantee wild critters stay outdoors, some common deterrents are: In addition to using reliable wire screens on all vents (including clothes dryer vents) use them on all open windows and doors. Since a mouse can breach a quarter-inch crack, while a bat can penetrate a dime-sized opening and a raccoon can maneuver a four inch or smaller hole, patch all exterior cracks and unnecessary openings.

Two publications add several other suggestions. From Popular Mechanics: Keep plants, piles of wood and other items at least two feet from the house; trim vegetation; and plug gaps around wires and pipes. Per the New York Times: Secure the chimney; stack firewood at least two feet off the ground; trim tree branches extending over the roof; remove outside pet food or water; and never separate a nursing animal from its offspring as she will not stop trying to reach them.

The bottom line: Don’t delay if you suspect critters invaded the building. Some may be seem cute but they too can be dangerous. Moreover, the problem intensifies the longer they remain. Retaining qualified professionals seems the better method to handle the matter.

Beyond our own experiences the following articles are referenced and were used to assist with this article. Check them out for more complete and detailed information on this subject.

 

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Need consulting, coaching or problem troubleshooting regarding this or other single-family or multi-family housing issues? We’ll be pleased to help you. Visit us at the Inhouse Corporation website or contact us at inhouseco@aol.com

***************************

Blog Terms of Use and Disclaimer: The purpose of this blog is to promote awareness and general discussion of the presented topic. Use of this blog shall be the reader’s agreement this blog is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified professional and each action that may be taken shall be under the specific guidance and oversight and/or performance of a professional qualified in the subject matter. If you have a question or want assistance with a featured or related matter please contact us at InhouseCo@aol.com (include the blog article title on the subject line). Links, references and credits in this blog are for convenience only and are not endorsements by the author or Inhouse Corporation. Statements and/or opinions of guest authors may or may not reflect those of Inhouse Corporation.