Cottage to Castle  - Peace of mind while you're away....

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Recent Posts

How Much Should You Pay For Home Watch?
Closing up for the season...myths!
Better Business Bureau rating....overrated?
Best of Naples 2012!!
Keeping Client Information Secure


Another Close Call
Another new client.....another sad story
Best of Naples 2012 Award!!
Better Business Bureau membership...overrated?
Closing Up Myths
De-mystifying De-humidistats
Giving $ back to the community!
Happy New Year!
Home Watch license?
How Much Shoud You Pay for Home Watch Service?
New Year's Wishes
Property Managers?
Random Thoughts
Recycling Change in Naples
Renting Out Your Residence
What does....And More....really mean?
Why Vacations Homeowners Need Home Watch
Your Home Watch person is a also a....builder??
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The Best Home Watch Blog!

How Much Should You Pay For Home Watch?

Recently, we lost a client.  Not because of our service.  The reason?  'There is a guy that said he would do weekly visits for $30 a month.'  $30.  That's a pretty good price.  When you consider an inspection takes from 20 to 30 minutes, this guy will be making about $7.50 a visit.  Works out in most cases to about $15 an hour, not including drive time.  Let me ask you, do you think he will really visit this condo every week?  Do you think he will spend 20-30 minutes on an inspection?

Closing up for the season...myths!

Recently, several of my clients have sent me lists that were sent to them from various managers, realtors, friends.   Some of them are pretty standard...but in every case, there are things I don't agree with.  This post is about MY opinions about closing.  I've been opening and closing properties since the mid 80' I think I can speak from an experienced perspective.

LEAVING THE AC ON 75.  To me, that is a waste of energy and money.  78 is pretty standard.

Better Business Bureau rating....overrated?

Not too often, but now and then, a prospective client asks us if we belong to the Better Business Bureau.  The short answer is no.  The long answer is....when we first started our business, we thought it would be great to have a high rating with the BBB.  I visited their website and read everything and then applied for accreditation.  What'sinvolved is they make sure you don't have any lawsuits filed against you, that you are properly licensed, that you aren't involved in false advertising, and quite a few other things, mostly things regarding the legitimacy of your business, things people can find out easily for themselves online.

Best of Naples 2012!!

We have received the Best of Naples 2012 Award in Property Management & Maintenance!!  We are so proud.  Below is the Press Release.  Thank you to all our clients because you made this possible.  You're the best!


Cottage to Castle Home Watch, LLC Receives 2012 Best of Naples Award
Naples Award Program Honors the Achievement
NAPLES July 25, 2012 -- Cottage to Castle Home Watch, LLC has been selected for the 2012 Best of Naples Award in the Property Management & Maintenance category by the Naples Award Program.

Keeping Client Information Secure

Jack and I were walking into the Lely Resort sales office to get a new map of Lely and found a keyring.  There was over 40 keys on it, all labeled very nicely.  It was obvious to us that it was the key ring of a home watch person.  Each key was labeled with a name and address.  Jack and I looked at each other, so astonished we couldn't say anything for a space of time.  The implications of our find silenced us!

We turned the keys in to the sales office in case the home watch person came back looking for them, but what if someone else had found them and realized they now had access to all these clients homes?

2011...going, Going, GONE!

Wow....I can't believe another year is in the books.  It seemed to go by so very fast. 

Our business grew like crazy this year.  We added 6 new communities to our list of communities this year and just those accounted for 13 new clients!  When I add in all the clients we got that aren't in gated communities...well, I can tell you we have been very busy.  So much better than being bored...LOL! 

We expanded our advertising into a golf journal and tripled our ad size in the Lely Resident and Visitor Guide for 2012.

Home watch and MORE....Part 2

It has been a terrific year here at Cottage to Castle.  So many new clients and so many new requests!  It always amazes me at what our clients need to have done and we always try to accommodate their wishes.  This year we get to make a small wish come true.

One of our clients will be bringing their children to their new home for the first time for the holidays and wanted the house the trees decked out in Christmas lights.  Saturday, we will be stringing lights around palm trees and other trees to delight the kids when they see their home for the first time.

The Truth About De-humidistats

People are so confused about de-humidistats and I don't blame them.  Everyone seems to tell a new homeowner what to set them at..45%..50%..55%..60%.  Which one is correct? 

Well, what is a de-humidstat?  It is an energy saver.  It will only have your air conditioning system come on when it hits the percentage the de-humidistat is set at.  Humidity is all we care about so we can keep mildew and mold out of our homes.  Many owners set their de-humidstat at 60 or 65 percent thinking that will save them a lot of money in energy costs.

Random Thoughts on a Summer's Day

The summer is winding down and we are gearing up for the season.  We are looking forward to all our northern neighbors seasonal visits and we're busy making sure their homes are in tip top shape.  We are still getting rain almost every day, but no hurricanes yet.  Katia is heading north of us....thank goodness! 

Thinking of hurricanes always makes me feel anxious for homeowners that live up north.  I mean, if I had a home here and my permanent home was in, say, Vermont, and a hurricane was heading for Naples, and I didn't have a home watch service.

Another Close Call

Wow....another close call today!  We inspected one of our clients home just last Saturday and all was well.  A painter had to come on Monday to do some touch up work on the interior doors, so we met them at the clients home to let him in.  Imagine our surprise to findthere was no power! Protocol dictates we turn off all the circuit breakers and then turn them back on.  If they don't switch all the way on, there is usually a problem with the electrical panel.  If they turn all the way on and still no power, there is a way bigger problem.

Why vacation homeowners need Home Watch

You've purchased the long-awaited vacation home with hopes of retiring to it someday. Life is good! Your plan is to use your home at least every couple of months to not only justify your purchase and have a mini vacation, but to also make sure everything is okay at your out-of-state home.

You've planned on going to visit your home, but something comes up and you have to postpone your trip. No problem. There is next time. Perhaps at first you do get down to your home every other month for the first year.

Another new client....another sad home watch story

Everyone is going home and they want to get all the last minute things hiring or changing their home watch company.  In the last two days I gained two new clients and they both had similar sad stories.  I have to tell you, I am amazed that people that have had a bad experience with their home watch company have the faith and trust to try again.  That is really awesome if you think about it.  One of my new clients told me that when they arrived for their visit, they were literally locked out of their home because the hurricane shutter over their front door had never been taken off.

Giving back to the community through referrals

The economy is bad.  Nothing new....we all know it, feel it, live it.  But most people don't realize that some Home Watch companies are helping our local economy by referring professional, competent, honest local businesses to their clients.  While we do a lot of handyman repairs, there are projects just too big or even just beyond our expertise.  In the past year we have referred a dock renovation company, pipe lining company, a/c company, pest control company, hurricane shutter company, even a collectible car repair shop.

A Home Watch License?

I can't help it....I just have to laugh and shake my head.  I check out the web to see what the competition is up to and I actually came across a home watch website that claims to have a Home Watch license.  Really?  There is NO home watch license that is issued by the state of Florida or Collier county.  I know.  We checked when we first started our business and wanted to make sure we had everything we needed to be a legal, professional company. 

This reminds me of the home watch company's that say they are property managers, yet have no real estate license, which is required by the Department of Business and Professional Regulations.

What does....And More!.....really mean?

We like to say we do home watch and more.  The 'and more' covers a lot of territory with us because we are always doing extra little things for our clients.  But I'd like to focus on our background in relation to 'And More'.  Our construction background means that we can get proposals for work for clients that are complete and correct with honest pricing and then oversee the whole project for the owner.  Recently, a client experienced plumbing drain problems.  Before he became our client, the solution was to have his floor dug up wherever the drain problem happened to be.