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HomeCareontheWeb Celebrates 10th Anniversary!

It’s a special year for the team at HomeCareontheWeb as they celebrate a terrific milestone in business, their 10th anniversary. After a decade of hard work and dedication, HomeCareontheWeb is very proud to still be one of the leading property maintenance and property management companies on the Costa del Sol.

Throughout the ten years HomeCareontheWeb has helped hundreds of home owners manage all aspects of their Spanish properties from providing high quality maintenance services and regular property inspections to dealing with energy suppliers, and looking after thousands of homes for owners who are not in the country.

What sets HomeCareontheWeb aside from other management companies is the trusted, personalised service and committed team who look after your property as if it were their own. Home owners on the Costa del Sol know that they are leaving their property in very capable, trustworthy hands, giving them peace of mind when they are not at the property.

Below are just some of the comments the team at HomeCareontheWeb have received about their services in the last year.

“We just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and your entire organization for making our ownership in Spain worry free.  The trust and confidence Homecare has instilled in us minimizes the anxiety of owning property overseas. We wish you good fortune for 2013 and look forward to continuing our interaction well into the future years ahead.” – Schimpf – owner

“Say a very big thank you for your help with our apartment in Elviria.  You were always very pleasant and professional and made my life that much easier” – Gaynor ex owner

“The villa looks marvellous. We are really pleased with how well it’s being looked after. Thanks to all at Homecare – if you could pass that on.”  Korchak – owner

“It was a nice house and we got a great service from Homecare.  The house was placed perfectly with a great view.  Overall we are very pleased with everything.  Thank you for a lovely time here!”  Jessie Lykke.

The team at HomeCareontheWeb now look forward to the future of providing high quality property management and maintenance services on the Costa del Sol and are even offering an anniversary discount for a variety of services. For a full list of our services visit our website or call us on 952 839 595.

 

Reduce electricity bills by controlling your air conditioning units

Air-ConOne thing guaranteed to drive your electricity bill sky high is air conditioning units left on when not really required, particularly by holiday guests.

Most guests are more concerned with enjoying their holiday than worrying about turning the air conditioning off before they go out, so units are often left running for the duration of their visit, and even left switched on at the end of their stay.

No need to worry! Now we can help you with installation of a special electrical device that limits unnecessary electricity consumption caused by misuse of air-conditioning units, as well as reducing wear and tear on the machines, and the negative impact on the environment.

How does it work?

By simply pushing a switch on a built-in electrical device, the air conditioning system is supplied with power for a fixed period (we recommend setting it for 8 hours) after which it automatically switches itself off.

Should the user decide that they want it on again, they merely press the button to allow it to run for a further 8 hours.

Where can it be fitted?

In the case of ducted units it is designed to be mounted in the ceiling cavity alongside the air conditioning machine, or for individual wall-mounted units, neatly hidden in the fuse board. The operating switch itself should be mounted as close as possible to the fuse board or alongside the air conditioning control panel, but other options are available. The only visible change within the property would be something that looks like a light switch.

What is included?

The standard package includes a single-phase relay, a timer, a push switch, all cabling and installation. The push switch quoted is a standard white model.

Most units are installed with no additional charge, however if we find that re-wiring on the fuse board or additional components are required we will consult you before installation. The package can also be extended to include 3-phase installations, remote control switches, multiple relays, etc.

How much does it cost?

The standard package costs 310€ + IVA, including all parts and fittings. Instructions on usage in English and Spanish are also included.

How do I get one fitted?

If you need to talk in more detail about the unit or would like to arrange for one to be installed, then please call our Operations Department on (0034) 952 83 95 95 or email us with your order or questions at info@homecareontheweb.com or visit our website for any information on Costa del Sol Property Management

Technology and hands-on service working in perfect harmony

Over the last few months, we’ve been busy as bees actively implementing new Internet technology not only to automate many of our previously labour-intensive procedures, but also to improve our service to our owners and tenants.

Hola!

Over the last few months, we’ve been busy as bees actively implementing new Internet technology not only to automate many of our previously labour-intensive procedures, but also to improve our service to our owners and tenants.

These initiatives will contribute to our company’s overall productivity so we can continue to thrive in these current tough economic times, and do well in the future.

HomeCareontheWeb using Internet technology to automate labour intensive processes
HomeCareontheWeb using Internet technology to automate labour intensive processes

The recent automation of our cleaning schedule procedure is the perfect example of this.

Now, when an owner logs on to their Owner’s Area on our website and fills out their visit calendar, our system automatically issues the required documents and checklists to our housekeeping team for the clean to be done.

Once the clean is complete, details are entered into our administration system and an invoice is automatically generated and delivered online to the client via their Owner’s Area.

Our maintenance procedures will be similarly automated shortly, where our inspectors will use portable terminals with 3G Internet capability to complete ‘live’ inspection reports at an owner’s property, and upload them directly to our website for the owner to view instantly.

You could say it’s modern technology combined with good old-fashioned service!

Hasta luego!

Help if you’ve bought off-plan on Spain’s Costa del Sol

After the initial excitement of buying an off-plan property in Spain, the construction of your dream home might not run quite as smoothly as you’d imagined. Buying off-plan in any foreign country can be a stressful experience, especially when dealing with developers and trying to ensure their work meets the specifications you’ve paid for – even more so if you’re based abroad and don’t speak the lingo…

Buying off planThere are plenty who are snapping up incredible bargains by buying property that has yet to be fully completed direct from developers. Now, after the initial excitement of buying an off-plan property in Spain, (and hopefully grabbing yourself a real bargain at the same time), the construction of your dream home might not run quite as smoothly as you’d imagined.

Buying off-plan in any foreign country can be a stressful experience, especially when dealing with developers and trying to ensure their work meets the specifications you’ve paid for – even more so if you’re based abroad and don’t speak the lingo. 

In much the same way that numerous companies and individuals offer property management services up and down the coast, there are also those who offer some form of pre-completion inspection service.

Typically they’ll be the Real Estate agent you bought the property through, or a property management company, and they’ll sell themselves as the people to trust to oversee the building of your dream home without you having to.

However, the level of service they’re able to offer you will vary dramatically, so here’s a piece of advice – it’s worth taking the time to find the right company to do this for you, otherwise buying your dream home could turn into a total nightmare.

Your best bet would be a reliable, professional property management company with a good reputation and conscientious staff that offers a comprehensive pre-completion inspection service.

Ideally, that company should be able to keep you informed of what’s going on with your new build every step of the way via online monthly property and development checks with suites of photos showing the building progress and any building schedule reports from your developer.

And, as construction work draws to an end, they should be able to produce for you and your lawyer a final ‘snagging list’ in English and Spanish, detailing any build imperfections and other issues that have to be dealt with in order to complete your property to specification.

Then, when everything is finished to your satisfaction and it’s time to turn your off-plan property into a holiday home or suitable rental accommodation, your property management company should be able offer you the benefit of their experience and point you in the right direction to find tried and trusted interior designers and furnishing package suppliers to turn your house into a home, as well as upgrade you automatically to a full property management service.

Top 10 services a property management company should offer you

We’ve compiled our very own “Top 10 services” list that any property management company worth its salt should offer you. It’s a long list, so if you’re ready, here we go…

The Benefits of Choosing Property Management from HomeCareontheWebToday we’ve got a treat for you. We’ve compiled our very own “Top 10 services” list that any property management company worth its salt should offer you. It’s a long list, so here we go…

01. Regular inspection visits

At least once but preferably twice a month, a property management company should send a trained inspector to your home to carry out a detailed inspection of both the exterior and interior, checking for any wear and tear in accordance with a written checklist.

It’s a good idea to ask to see a copy of that written checklist so you know how thoroughly they will go though things.

At the very least, the inspector should

  • open all the windows and doors to air your rooms
  • make sure your electrical appliances, plumbing and sanitary facilities are in good working order
  • check under sinks
  • ensure that the furniture, fixtures and fittings are exactly as they should be

And of course, before they leave they should make absolutely sure your property remains fully secure until their next visit.

02. Accurate status reports

Each inspection visit should be followed up with a status report which is easily accessible online, and advises you of any problems detected in your property. Issues such as damp, water leaks, or storm damage should be highlighted with photos if necessary.

Recommended action and quotes should be supplied from trusted qualified local tradespeople, and once approved, repair or maintenance work carried out to a good standard, speedily and without fuss.

03. Interactive online management

In addition to regular feedback about the state of your home, your property management company should provide you with an interactive online tool through which you can oversee the management of your Spanish property yourself from anywhere in the world, 24 hours day.

There should be full account management facilities allowing you to view any invoices, or statements of your account, and the facility for you to make any payments related to the upkeep of your property easily and securely online by credit card.

Similarly any payments due to you from rentals, for instance, should be capable of being electronically transferred directly to your bank account.

A personal holiday bookings calendar is also a must, allowing you to fill in the dates that you or your guests will be staying in your home so your property management company can automatically arrange for it to be properly cleaned, the beds made up and the hot water put on, etc, before you arrive, without you having to worry about it.

The bookings calendar should also ensure that if you rent out your property for holiday lets, you’ll be able to see ‘at a glance’ when your property will be occupied.

04. Housekeeping

Basic housekeeping services are a vital component in the successful management of any property, especially if the property is to be rented out or made available for guests to stay. So ensure the property management company you pick can meet your expectations in that respect.

It’s a good idea to ask to see a list of their housekeeping services and their cleaning checklist so you can satisfy yourself they will be doing things to your liking. Their range of housekeeping services should include:

  • Automatic cleaning and laundry services for holiday visits
  • Specialist cleaning services such as a builders clean after construction work
  • Spring cleaning for linens, fabrics and furnishings
  • Cleaning and refurbishment of curtains, upholstery and rugs
  • Barbecue cleaning
  • Daily cleaning upon request.

05. Maintenance and repairs

If your property management company are keeping your Spanish home in prime condition at all times, it makes it so much easier for you to enjoy your stay when you or your guests visit. After all, the last thing you want to be doing during your valuable leisure time in Spain is unblocking the pool filter, painting the terrace wall, or sorting out a plumbing problem, when you could be out enjoying the sun.

Your property company should have the experience, the in-house resources and access to tried and trusted local specialists to make sure your home is always kept in tip-top condition. You should be able to request a range of maintenance and repair services online such as:

  • Installation and maintenance of air conditioning, alarm systems, and safety equipment
  • General interior and exterior painting and decorating
  • Plumbing and electrical work
  • Interior and exterior tile refurbishment
  • Garden landscaping and maintenance
  • Pool cleaning, repairs and maintenance
  • Property refurbishment and building work
  • Kitchen and bathroom installations
  • Other additional ad hoc services.

06. Interior décor and refurbishments

There are many companies up and down the Costa del Sol offering all sorts of different (and often confusing) home decoration packages, so when it comes to decorating your Spanish home or carrying out refurbishments, it’s difficult to know which of them will do the best job.

Your property management company should be able offer the benefit of their experience and recommend local suppliers who’ll provide you not only with a high quality and more importantly, reliable service but also legally compliant invoices and receipts in case disputes occur.

Your property management company should also be on hand to offer expert advice about how best to decorate and equip your property in readiness for both short-term holiday and long-term lets.

07. Carefree visits to your holiday home

Just picture this – you arrive at the airport late on a stiflingly hot afternoon after a long flight and are met by a chauffeur who drives you to your holiday home in an air-conditioned limousine.

You open your front door to find your home is cool and welcoming, thoroughly cleaned and ready for you to relax and enjoy yourself; the beds are made with fresh linen, the water is on. There’s a welcome pack of sweet smelling flowers and other essentials on the dining room table. The fridge is stocked with chilled drinks and your favourite delicacies. There’s wine in the wine rack and the pool’s clean and ready for your first refreshing dip, plus there’s a gourmet chef arriving later to cook dinner…

A first-class property management company should provide a facility that allows you to request all these services and more before you or your guests arrive on a holiday visit. After all it’s the extra 5-star luxury touches that will make any stay in Spain all the more memorable and enjoyable.

08. Detailed guest manual

And while you’re here on holiday, if you need a babysitter, a housemaid service or a local restaurant recommendation, or if you want to go kite surfing, quad-biking or horse-back riding in the hills, you should be able to benefit from the extensive knowledge of your property management company’s staff to help you find what you’re looking for.

Likewise, when guests or holidaymakers stay in your property, an extensive Guest Manual should be provided giving detailed and, more importantly, impartial advice about recommended restaurants and golf courses, and the best places to visit and things to do in the area for the whole family.

09. Trouble-shooting and key holding

Your property management company’s bi-lingual staff should also be there to resolve any issues you may have with local authorities, property developers, lawyers, communities and other suppliers – things you may not have the time, language skills, nor indeed the inclination to deal with yourself.

What’s more, they should act as your secure key-holder and, upon your request, accompany tradespeople when they require access to your property. In addition, the company should supply keys to your guests upon arrival and have a 24-hour key safe in case of emergencies.

10. Specialist service

Of course, at some stage, as a Spanish property owner, the chances are that you’ll need help and advice over and above that which just concerns the management of your property.

For instance, your electricity or telephone may get cut off if a transfer you’ve made doesn’t hit your bank account in time, or you’d like broadband connected so you can bring your laptop on holiday with you, or you’ve decided to install satellite TV to enjoy programmes from home while you’re away. Whatever extra facilities you need or local utilities problems you encounter, you’ll almost certainly require a property management company with Spanish-speaking staff who have the experience of handling such issues on a regular basis to resolve them swiftly for you.

In addition, you may need legal or financial advice, or help in arranging insurance, or a mortgage or currency transfer. If you want to sell your property or buy another property in Spain, you may need someone to talk to about the best way to go about it. Even guidance about re-locating to Spain or the best place to hire a car can be difficult to find when you don’t know who to turn to.

And finally, any good property management company should be able to provide you with access to reputable and trustworthy local companies, in order to help you with any such advice or guidance you might need.

Meet Tim, heading up our maintenance team

Tim Telcs, HomeCareontheWeb Maintenance man
Tim Telcs, HomeCareontheWeb Maintenance man

Tim Telcs, our hard-working Maintenance Supervisor knows exactly what it takes to keep our Owners’ properties in tip-top condition all year round. We thought you might like to know what he gets up to on a typical working day…

“What’s a typical day for me? There’s no such thing!” laughs Tim. “But that’s one aspect that I love most about my job – the variety.”

With the height of summer just around the corner and a great many of our Owners down on the Coast for their holidays, plus a large number of holiday rental guests staying too, long days are the norm for the team at this time of year, so it’s important Tim gets an early start.

The first issue to tackle is their schedule for the day, and with so many maintenance requests to deal with, this can be quite a tricky balancing act.

“It’s vital that when a maintenance request comes in, especially an emergency, they get a quick response from us,” explains Jackie, who’s in charge of managing the maintenance workload. “Even more so at this time of they year, when owners and guests are trying to relax and enjoy their holidays and quite frankly don’t need any hassle.”

Mostly, it’s a question of prioritising the tasks at hand.

“For example, today we’ve got a blocked drain at an owner’s villa in Benalmadena,” says Jackie, “and a jammed front door lock at a holiday apartment in Sotogrande, and the electricity is constantly tripping at a long-term rental townhouse in Marbella. And those are just the urgent jobs…”

Of course, during a typical day other emergencies crop up, like the flood at an owner’s third floor apartment which happened last week. Tim had to deal with it immediately to avoid major damage both to the owner’s and the surrounding properties. This often means even the most meticulously planned schedule can change in an instant.

Having confirmed the schedule with Jackie, Tim jumps in his van and heads off to tackle his first job of the day. Tim boasts an impressive range of skills, so he’s more than qualified to deal with most things that are thrown his way.

“Really, my job should be called the repairs, installation, emergency, plumbing, electrical, building, home improvement, woodworking, kitchen fitting, tiling, plastering, product testing, fault fixing, problem solving, painting, decorating, paving, damp-proofing, welding and anything else you care to chuck at us department,” jokes Tim. “But that wouldn’t fit on the side of the vans so Maintenance Department will have to do.”

Tim is keen to point out that although much of his tasks involve fixing problems, he’s  also qualified to handle everything from upgrading owners’ kitchens or bathrooms, painting and decorating, and supplying and installing all the fittings such as lights, curtain rails and bathroom accessories on newly finished properties.

“You name it, I’ll provide a quote and do it,” says Tim.

And thanks to the excellent relations he has established over the years with local suppliers, he can be sure of the quality of raw materials he uses on behalf of our clients too.

“I only recommend materials that I’ve thoroughly researched and tested myself, from trusted suppliers. Only once I’m 100% satisfied materials meet my strict quality standards, will I use them.”

Tim’s first stop is an unscheduled one along the way – a call comes in from our office to say an empty owner’s property has just been broken into and burgled.

As we arrive, the police are already there, but the thieves have long since gone, damaging a window frame and taking a widescreen TV with them.

Tim’s immediate task, after dealing with the police and the necessary paperwork, is to secure the property.

“Sadly, security is something all owners on the Coast have to take seriously these days. Lately, we’ve installed everything from protective window and door bars, to bolt locks and secure windows, alarms, security lighting and roller-shutter locks to try and prevent this sort of thing happening.”

In fact, one of the services the maintenance department provides, that owners might not be aware of, is a complete security check to thoroughly assess and advise on an owner’s property’s vulnerability to help prevent break-ins.

“We obviously don’t want owners to get burgled, but we’d also rather not get called out in the middle of the night following a robbery! But, of course, when it happens, we’re there.”

As well as their normal working hours, the maintenance department are also on emergency stand-by 24-hours a day.

Back in the van as the day progresses from job to job, it’s clear Tim really rather enjoys what he does for a living. He talks about it with the kind of enthusiasm most of us normally reserve for a hobby.

He’s currently researching new electrical products, he tells me. In particular, ranges of remote control switches that look like normal switches but can be placed anywhere such as desktops and armchairs without the need for burying cables – especially good for properties with tiled walls.

“Recent advances in LED lighting technology have made them cheaper to buy and run. The quality of light they now produce is on par with traditional or halogen bulbs. Their low consumption and longevity make them extremely environmentally friendly too. One item I particularly like is an LED pool light which can change the colour of the whole pool at the push of a button, with a life expectancy far greater than standard bulbs.”

Fair enough.

The last job of the day, late in the afternoon as the heat finally simmers down, is to install a wall safe on behalf of an owner at their holiday apartment ready for their arrival next week.

Tim feels that fixed safes are essential for all properties these days – an extra security measure which even if you get broken into means your valuables can still be kept secure. He says the maintenance department has fitted many over the last few months.

“We’ve installed both basic fixed safes for people to store important documents, or jewellery, cash and so forth, plus more hi-tech ones like the safe I’m installing now, which is especially designed for laptop computers and even has an integrated power supply so the laptop can be charged while locked away.”

On the way back to the office at the end of a long day, I ask Tim what he will be doing tomorrow.

“I’m doing a post-summer holiday ‘spruce-up’ for an owner with a townhouse in Calahonda. Replacing some damaged tiles out on the patio, repainting the interior walls, waxing the garden furniture… at least, that’s the plan!!”

So, there you go – you now know a little bit more about what it takes to be a HomeCareontheWeb maintenance man!

Hasta mañana, folks!

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