nauset management blog
After 22 years of earnest resistance, Nauset Management welcomes its first full time employee…of the two legged variety to be clear. Jack Still came aboard on August 26th of this year and brings with him almost a decade of home watch experience. Beyond unflappable trust, one of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of securing competent help in the home watch department is what to with that help when the watch demands recede from season to season which is why most work the equation backwards whereas landscapers, housekeepers, etc. shed their primary roles come winter and take up the home watch business in order to bridge seasons. As protective of my brand as I am with the level of service Nauset Management has become known for, it is little wonder that this appointment took 22 years. Jack brings with him a building background and experience that is more than sufficient when constructively bridging those seasonal gaps. As many know, Nauset Management, specifically its watch base, was built on the back of residential construction which ultimately devolved into improvements and renovations to almost a whimper as the management base grew. With Jack on board as a tailormade hybrid, we are afforded the ability to reinvigorate those in-house services and by extension construction management duties that Nauset Management was founded on.
One of the most common questions I field during an initial inquiry is how often the rates change. Since Nauset Management’s conception in 1998, I have imposed 4 rate changes beyond the opening day numbers. Rather than fixed annual increases, forecasted or otherwise, I make it a personal policy to remain conscious of and responsible with pricing across the board. In recent years, Nauset Management customers saw a rate change in 2014 and again in 2018 the latter of which not only reflects current pricing but is also rate locked through September 1, 2024. In terms of timing, ample notice is given to customers in the month of April prior to the September 1 rate change date so that absentee customers are not held hostage by a rate increase in real time and that homeowners in general have more than enough time to research alternatives if they so desire.
As a full-service management company, Nauset Management is also a standalone real estate brokerage and we still manage, and address in-house, a variety of improvement projects ranging from punch-list work to complete renovations. This diversity not only tempers the watch fees but sets the tone for steady, reasonable and projected increases across our range of services.
Buried in the FAQ link on the heels of a request now almost two decades old is the question of yard signs for home watch purposes. I’ve never considered it because I could never validate an upside for the homeowner. While hard wire alarm placards in the flowerbed, with or without the actual service may be a deterrent, home watch signs are a beacon of vacancy. The difference between the perception of a rightful owner at work for the day or teeing off at a southern local is a sign claiming that the home is being watched by a third party. No doubt an advertising tool, however ill conceived, but signage is also used as a marker by companies with a sprawling territory and scores of different employees that may not be familiar with the home or neighborhood. Although a full page insert in a local paper proclaiming that your home is vacant may be quicker and cheaper than the annual cost for service, keep your crew but tell them to ditch the sign.
Aimed primarily at bi-weekly customers, particularly during a stretch of weather where those 14 days in between checks can feel like months, it is important to know the science, or lack thereof, when it comes to automatic delivery be it oil or propane. While lending a degree of comfort knowing that your heating fuel provider has you on the schedule, the delivery dates are based exclusively on historical usage which of course is based on patterns of usage. The curve is bent when family is in town for a week and the heat setting goes from 52 to 68 or when a painting crew bumps it up to 70 for the +/- 10 days they are in house sprucing up the interior. While rare, it only take a week of unseasonably cold weather to take that third of a tank guesstimate down to an eight. I usually make the call at a quarter tank but for those disrupting the trend for any number of reasons, keep your fuel provider in the loop.
Ask for it. Working through my 22nd season, the uptick in home watch companies and pre-existing companies from cleaners to painters and everyone in between offering home watch services, has spiked over the past 5-6 years. Before banging on the State Police Watch License drum, I would digress briefly to explain that for a better part of the last decade, my annual customer turnover is about 8-12 properties. My base has been established for some time affording me the luxury to micro target back-fills if they don’t find me first. In addition, I have mentored an area start up and not a week goes by where I’m not referring business away based on my unflappable loyalty to a cap on customer volume. Having dispelled any notions of sour grapes with alleged competition, I’ll now address the license. Between watch, management and real estate scopes, I maintain 12 forms of license, bond and insurance. For second homeowners seeking to engage a home watch company, ask for a State Police Watch Guard number. As noted in the credential link, this license is required for anyone claiming to engage in the business of home watch. It could be as simple as putting the words on a business card. Anyone can apply for this license and to be sure, the applicant is in no way affiliated with the State Police. The upside for the consumer is knowing that an individual or business has filed the application, pulled together references that are actually interviewed, sit for a live interview with a Trooper and pass a background check. This license is renewed annually and issued based on a passed background check every 12 months. During the watch boom, there have been a handful of rather serious events carried out by some as it turned out that would have never passed a background check. While the State Police Watch Guard license does not assure that your provider knows a single thing about mechanical systems or possesses common sense in general, but it is assuredly a step in the right direction. Anyone without this license is either unaware of the requirements of his or her business, can’t afford the application process or cannot pass the background check. To check a license, call the MA State Police Certification Unit at 978-538-6128.
It isn’t passing my 2018’s sales number of $8.14 million with four months left on the calendar that has me grinning from ear-to-ear. That joy is directly attributed to the giddiness that washes over me whenever I get close to the edge of the off-season…or our on-season as it were.
With seemingly more than half the local population licensed to sell real estate, its little wonder that the comparatively smaller inventory drives many to niche markets which then begs the question as to whether or not a saltwater specialist can effectively sell a home on a lake or one in the woods for that matter? Can a luxury specialist properly represent a home with Formica countertops? And what is luxury? If you worked for years in order to acquire your piece of the Cape and threw every penny at a $450k list price, is that any less of a luxury to you than a $4.5 million home to another? I’ve often contemplated which way I’d lean if I ever decided to pigeonhole myself and it would either be wood frame specialist, having spent over two decades in commercial/residential construction in a supervisory capacity or perhaps a buyer/seller specialist based on a similar duration serving second home owners in a watch/management capacity. Speaking to the latter, the watch/management wing of Nauset Management has always catered to not only a kaleidoscope of personalities but an equally diverse selection of structures and locations. The unwavering variable is that each one is a castle not only through the lens of each owner but yours truly. Some of my more adventurous off season watch tales have unfolded at a two-bedroom cape on a sandy lane while the 4k square foot fortress on the water was seemingly never made aware of that particular storm. I’ve worked both sides of multi-million-dollar real estate sales but it was that one sale for $425k that seemed as if we were trying to bundle the MGM and Bellagio from overseas. My angle? My niche? I’d like to think that my demographic is always in perpetual motion aimed squarely at the individual and their circumstances. The great appeal to me, in a real estate transaction or a watch/management program, is the uniqueness that each want or need brings to the conversation. I will never tire from listening to how people finally found themselves in a position to buy or how their watch/management schedule is phasing out with an impending retirement on the horizon. So long as every story remains as different and impactful as the next, I’ll have no angle.
…or do the best you can. Our first air/ozone quality advisory is up as ground level ozone conditions are trending toward meeting or exceeding unhealthy conditions fostered in part by alternate variables which have triggered a heat advisory. With due point levels hovering around 70% and a high of 90 degrees on tap for today and Sunday, the forecasted heat index weighs in at a round 102 degrees. Poor air quality is projected through 11 p.m. Saturday while the oppressive heat looks to make a repeat performance once again late morning to early evening on Sunday. Standing in the shadows is a high grass pollen alert. On the upside, there should be vastly fewer Tour De France trainees on the road and plenty of indoor time with Uncle Frank, Joan and the kids.