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His fees are based on four variables: time involved, his mileage, Prada Bags Clutch

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the number of visits he makes and the package of associated services you want. But the initial visit to the property to look at the job and provide an estimate is free.

"I can be the key holder for your alarm system so, if it went off, I could open up the place. If you have maintenance scheduled, I could let them in."

MacDonald also knows the value of mixing it up and avoiding routine. He makes his rounds at various times, even using different vehicles.

"I didn't see a lot of people doing it, so I talked to insurance companies and there's no end to people who can use the service."

Then there are the unusual situations the man whose boat is docked at Rice Lake who needs it checked on after a storm, for example, or the Toronto resident who would like the snow cleared off his cottage roof.

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MacDonald had the idea for the business when a friend was planning a seven week trip to Europe.

A Cobourg resident, required by bylaw to clear snow from the sidewalks in front of his or her home, might need help during a winter vacation.

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Local company provides security for empty homes

"My advice is, talk to your insurance agent and see what he says. Every 72 hours (for a check up) is not unusual. Somebody should be in the home."

Or, if you're on a winter vacation, you might like to Prada Bags Online Shopping

He can rent you a vehicle to park in the driveway to make the place look lived in. Or, if you leave a vehicle, he can move it around at different times, as well as making sure the tires don't go flat.

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Both planned situations (such as a vacation or moving to a new residence before selling a previous home) and emergencies (such as suddenly going into hospital and needing an operation and/or rehabilitation) leave a residence empty.

Specifics vary, he added.

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Someone on a long term trip might need the mail collected and forwarded.

"You worry about people breaking in in the winter. Footprints (from his visit) make thieves think twice before doing something," MacDonald added.

Cottagers from far away can avoid burning up time and travel money by having someone local check on their property after a storm, or clear snow accumulations from the roof.

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Those e mail reports (and the photos he could attach) are not only informative, but would make a good record for the insurance company in case of claims.

Not just a problem detector, MacDonald acts on the things he finds. If your freezer goes out and he catches it in time, he can get it replaced with minimal loss of contents. If a tree falls and breaks a window, he can either do a temporary repair or a replacement.

Almost anything an absent home or cottage occupant needs, he can supply. As an insured and provincially licensed security specialist, he has both the experience and reporting capabilities to take the worry out of a property owner being away.

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"A week Prada Nylon Diaper Bag or so later, my friend said, 'My wife thinks you should be doing this for a living,' and it mushroomed from there," MacDonald recalled.

Houses tied up in probate may stand untenanted and need security checks.

hospital stay might need the goldfish fed as well as the apartment looked after.

He asked the friend what he could do to help, and was asked to stop by to check on the house.

MacDonald focuses his business on the south Rice Lake shore down to the Port Hope Cobourg area but services the entire county.

It's the kind of business that is not much in evidence but is much needed, MacDonald said in an interview last week. Because the fact is, home insurance companies don't like properties left empty.

He was there three times a week, picking up newspapers and circulars from the driveway, making sure the grass was trimmed so it looked like someone was home, and generally keeping an eye on things. He e mailed his friend regular reports on how it was going.

be sure the driveway is shoveled out before you return, as well as regular property inspections.

NORTHUMBERLAND Bob MacDonald is the face behind House Minders Unlimited, and the part of the business he's really proud of is that third word.

"I was thinking, 'Why aren't people doing this?'

In any situation like that, the smart thing to do is to leave it in reliable hands.

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