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News

Full Range of Repair, Maintenance, and Management is Available from Total Home Manager in Hopewell

12/4/13

By: Jean Stratton, Town Topics

Imagine not having to worry about the leak in the roof, cleaning the gutters, shoveling snow, waiting for the plumber, or painting the house!

This is exactly the scenario that Jim Baxter and Ray Disch, co-owners of Total Home Manager (THM), want to make available for you. You don’t have to move, you get to stay in your own house, and you are relieved of stress and strain and all those pesky details that accompany home ownership.

As its name suggests, Total Home Manager is prepared to take complete control of maintenance, repair, and management of whatever problems and needs arise.

Established by Jim Baxter of Baxter Construction and entrepreneur Ray Disch, it is headquartered at 31 West Broad Street, Hopewell.

Overall Solution

Formerly co-founder and owner of The Triumph Brewing Company in Princeton, and currently a real estate broker with Callaway-Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty, Mr. Disch saw the need for an overall solution to the various problems that arise in owning a house.

“I continually got calls from people who needed a plumber, electrician, carpenter, furnace repair, blue stone for their terrace, etc.” explains Mr. Disch “I kept referring lots of people to them, and I began to think ‘there’s a business here.’ We could be a resource for repairs, maintenance, and management.”

Mr. Baxter had been thinking along similar lines. “It seemed to be a great idea. We had been asked to do a variety of things by our customers, including small jobs, such as fixing steps, and other repairs. With Total Home Manager, we can do whatever people need, including cleaning the chimney and gutters, sealing the driveway, etc.”

Mr. Disch and Mr. Baxter had known each other for years, and each brought his particular set of skills to the enterprise.

“As a contractor/builder, Jim has people working for him, who we can call upon,” points out Mr. Disch. “We guarantee licensed workers, liability insurance, and workman’s compensation coverage. We vet everyone, and either they worked for Jim, or they are people we know. All the carpentry and handyman-type work is done by Baxter Construction.

“And in addition, since we give them so much work, they give us preferred pricing for our customers. It’s just so much easier for people. We send one invoice to the homeowner instead of their receiving multiple bills. We review the bills, and do all the work for you.”

Check List

This service is a boon for a wide range of people — from busy professionals to single homeowners to older people to those who never owned a house before — adds Mr. Baxter. “Each job has its own personal project manager. There is always someone overseeing the work. In addition, if people are away, we can watch the house. We have a check list, and we will do weekly inspection — to see if the water is leaking, if there is storm damage, etc. We’ll even start their car, clean the garage, take care of the pool, and watch over the pets.

“Also, when people are away, it can be a great time to do work in the house, including putting in a new kitchen, new floors, or other renovation or remodeling projects.”

The THM customer base is growing, report the owners, and more than 100 projects have been completed or are ongoing. Continuing relationships with customers is very important, notes Mr. Disch.

“Our business is relationship-based. The focus is relationships, not projects. We build lasting relationships with people. For example, a new homeowner moved to Princeton, and her husband was away. Super Storm Sandy was predicted, and she didn’t know how to start the generator. We took care of it for her.

“In another case, a woman had an incident when her door key broke in the lock. It was raining, and she was alone in the car with the kids. We had been doing work for her, and she called us. We had a key to the back door, and we got there within an hour.”

Among THM customers are people who travel, and are often away from home for long stays. “One of our customers went to Maine for three months, another to Florida for six months, and still another to Hong Kong for a year,” says Mr. Baxter. “They gave us keys to their house, and we took care of everything for them. In some cases, they might need a new water heater or sump pump, or they might decide they want landscaping services. We provide everything, and customers appreciate the service, support, and level of trust that we offer them.”

Preventive Maintenance

Customers range from those wanting small individual repair or maintenance jobs to those who are involved in large, on-going projects. They are located in a 15/20-mile radius, and have included Princeton, Hopewell, Pennington, and Skillman residents, among others.

Studies have shown that preventive maintenance is many times more cost effective than reactive maintenance after something has failed, point out Mr. Baxter and Mr. Disch. THM offers four different plans for people who wish to have more comprehensive service and management coverage. These plans vary in scope, and there is a choice to fit every situation. The right plan can be customized to the customer’s needs, life-style, budget, and age of their house.

Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze plans offer varying degrees of service, but all provide home inspection, quick response time (immediate turnaround), preferred pricing, and opportunities for energy audits, concierge service, and a variety of optional inspections (lead paint analysis, radon testing, mold assessment, and insect/pest inspection).

“We also have budget plans that can span three to five years,” note the owners. “We know that not everyone can afford to do everything at once.”

Mr. Disch adds that his real estate work provides a nice connection with THM. “When I do a listing presentation, people will ask. ‘What do I need to fix before selling?’ I can help with this, and tell them what is worth repairing and what is not. So, it’s a nice synergy with construction, THM, and real estate. One call does it all.

“We also see a time when we can have an impact on homeowner’s insurance. If they work with us to maintain the house, it could reduce the premiums on their homeowner’s insurance policy.”

“We are very encouraged,” adds Mr. Baxter. “We think we have the perfect answer for today’s world: a single source solution for complete interior and exterior home repair and management service. Call us for an evaluation.”

(609) 466-3355. Website: www.totalhomemanager.com.