CUTLINE: “We want to have a personal relationship with people,” Lad Paul says. “Letting someone come in and have access to your home is a pretty important decision. We want people to know us and know we’re more dependable than – and just as trustworthy as – their next door neighbor.”
For years, Alix and Lad Paul lived in New Jersey and vacationed in Gulfport, using their condo in the Pasadena Yacht and Country Club as a warm respite from their busy lives and jobs at the New York Times. Several times a year, they’d pack their car with provisions and pets and escape to their Kipps Colony home.
They loved the retreat, but nagging worries tempered their excitement: What would they find when they put the key in the lock? Did they remember to forward the mail? Should they stop at the grocery on the way into town, or had they left something sealed and fresh for breakfast in the cabinet?
“You just wonder, and when you’re on the way down, you worry about what you’re going to find after you’ve driven all those hours,” Alix says. “You wonder what you’re going to have to do just to be able to go to bed.”
When they decided to make the permanent move to Florida last year, they realized many of their neighbors in Gulfport – and Tierra Verde and the beaches – spend quite a bit of time traveling, either for business or pleasure. Others live up north in the summer, or perhaps only visit Pinellas for a few weeks every year.
All these people share one thing: they must rely on someone to let them know if something has gone wrong. While people can often count on a neighbor or the code enforcement officer to get in touch if the lawn service has stopped making regular appearances, those same people often don’t have any way of knowing if a pipe inside the house has burst, or if squirrels or rats have chewed into the eaves.
“We know there are some people who don’t have anyone look at their home,” Alix says, adding that she and Lad know of cases where people have had water heaters spring leaks or rats move in while the homeowners were up north for the summer.
She can tell you about the pitfalls of not covering your toilet with plastic wrap to stop evaporation. Hint: The worst thing that can happen isn’t having the smell of sewer gas seep into your home; it’s having the seal dry and crack so that the first time you flush, toilet water flows across your bathroom floor.
Here’s the part that gave the Pauls nightmares: In some instances, insurance companies will not pay damage claims on unoccupied homes that have not been regularly checked.
That’s where Nestwatch Homecheck enters the picture. Lad and Alix, seeing the need, realized the area could use a local service that would supervise homes when the owners were away. The Pauls will check as much or as little as you’d like, as often as you feel you need it. They will stay in touch by e-mail, text or phone, letting you know each time they have visited and what they found.
Based on their own experiences, Alix and Lad developed a checklist for looking after your home, whether you’re gone for a few days or a few months. They cover everything from flushing a toilet once a week to caring for your plants, or stocking your kitchen for your return.
If you use Nestwatch Homecheck, you can live your life here in comfort, and when it is time to leave, go with peace of mind.
You can buy houseplants knowing they’ll get watered in your absence – no more lugging them back in the car or asking a neighbor to look in on them. You can schedule package deliveries or repairs while you’re away on business, or leave your extra car here when you fly home for the summer. They will make sure the battery does not run down.
You can trust Lad and Alix to care for your home as well as they do their own.
Although theirs is not a dog-walking or pet-sitting service, the Pauls are decidedly pet friendly. They adopted their dog, Molly, as a feral stray and helped her grow into a well-mannered lady, and they have had many other non-human members of their family over the years. You can trust them to look after your dog, cat, bird or aquarium if you have to leave on short notice for business, or you take a short vacation. They will even take your dog or cat to the vet while you’re working.
What if that unexpected business trip comes up while your home is being remodeled? Alix and Lad will check in on the contractor to make sure your hallway hasn't been painted bright blue (unless, of course, you wanted it bright blue).
Business travelers, snowbirds and vacation-home owners will all appreciate Nestwatch Homecheck’s hurricane preparation and post-storm assessment.
This article only scratches the surface of what the Paul family can do for your family. There is more on their website. If you want someone to look in on your place, you can trust Lad and Alix.
The basic service starts as low as $16 per visit. They will adjust the price, of course, based on your needs. They’re local, they’re flexible and while they do want to meet you before they go into your home, they’re able to start looking after your place right away. Call them today and take the first easy step to making your time away less worrisome.
Lad and Alix Paul