4 Is Enough!
Just as the title says…We have 4 kids. They are all adults now but still my babies. Along with having 4 great kids I’ve developed and mastered the art of humor and sarcasm. Luckily for me my kids have my same sense of humor so it makes for great conversations…sometimes. Another thing we were fortunate with while they were growing up was a place at the beach that we would come and “vacation” to. My husband and kids would call it vacation – I would call it moving everything I did at home to a smaller, more cramped space. Don’t get me wrong, I loved coming here…I just felt like I needed a vacation when we came home. I would always dread the initial part of our “vacation”. We would drive the 3+ hours with 4 restless kids in the car. I knew that the house wouldn’t have any food, unpacking needed to be done as well as beds would need to be made up with clean sheets from the dryer. But the best part was anticipating the relaxing trip I would take to the grocery store on a Friday night – let me tell you! (are you sensing my sarcasm yet?) I often wished there was some service that could have all that done for me when we got there. It would have been so nice to walk in, fridge stocked, beds made up and dinner in the crock pot. I would have paid any amount of money for that! I looked and asked around and nothing like that was offered. I thought to myself “there’s a service that I should start up”. Just let me finish the laundry, cook dinner, drive someone somewhere, etc. etc. in my spare time.
Like most people who come to the beach, we would always say, “wouldn’t it be nice to live here someday?” Since most of our family were already living here full time the kids would come down for the summer to work & play and eventually the older 3 all moved here permanently. Our youngest daughter was in her senior year in high school but once she graduated, we did what any normal family would do to celebrate…
We ditched the kids and went to Key West!
We eventually had to come home and we put our house on the market and it sold right away. We thought we wouldn’t have any problem finding a home that we would love here.
I was wrong…it was a lot harder than I anticipated. We looked at so many houses! Not only were they older and needed updating but so many were vacation or second homes that were left empty. That was the first time I remember thinking about the home watch business and wondering whose watching over all these home?
Since my husband has building experience he would say “give me the biggest piece of s..t on the water and I will fix it and make it home”…And that’s exactly what he got! I like to remind him of that every now and again when we go to fix something that ends up being a complete redo. He doesn’t have the same sense of humor as me and our kids do.
That brings me to the second time I thought about the home watch business. Since all of these home we were looking at were left unoccupied for so many months at a time – they needed either minor, or in our case, major work. I would think…if someone was here to be able to look after these homes not only would the seller get a lot more money for them but it could also save them from costly repairs.
After a few months of living in our new house winter was right around the corner. My husband and I came home from dinner one night and our street was pitch black. We parked the car and walked up to our house and it was eerily quiet. I looked around and noticed that we were THE neighborhood. No one was here. Months would go by and I wouldn’t see a singe neighbor on our street…only dark houses.
That led me to the final decision of opening up a home watch business. I had to many unanswered questions. Who’s watching all of these empty houses? What if a pipe burst and your house flooded – how would they know? I would wonder about our place when a storm would come through and wished I knew someone who could check to make sure everything was ok. Instead we would drive down just to check. Talk about fun! It was a dream to drive down in the winter time when everything is closed, with the kiddo’s. Who knew they hated going to the beach in the winter with the frigid water temps and hurricane force sand storm. Like any good mom would do, I let the 4 of them stay inside the warm and cozy 800 sq ft condo for some sibling bonding time. Fun, Fun, Fun.
I started researching home watch businesses and couldn’t find anything around here. But, if you live in Florida they’re on every corner. That’s the home watch capital! I thought if I’m going to do this I want to do it right. This isn’t some side job or neighborly favor thing I was doing. If I’m going to be responsible for your home – I need to be trained and certified by an industry leader. Her name is Diane Pisani who is the founder of the Home Watch Training Program in Naples, Florida and the co-founder of the International Home Watch Alliance. I flew to Florida for intense training and testing. I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know.
Not only did I learn an extensive amount from my training I gained the knowledge and resources available to handle most situations. Remember when I said I should start up the “pre arrival” service? I added that to our list of many services. Not only can you have a trained professional look after your home but if you decide to come down and don’t want to have the pleasure of Friday night grocery shopping – we’ll do that too! You can thank me later moms!