Ponte Vedra resident launches business to help seniors maintain homes

A Ponte Vedra Beach resident recently started a business to help seniors age safely and comfortably in their homes.

Dr. Rebecca Cooper, a Sawgrass resident who has been practicing pediatrics in the Greater Jacksonville area for 16 years, recently launched The Homestead Advantage, a company that provides seniors with regular maintenance of their homes to allow them to stay there for as long as possible.

“I have a lot of skills in the building and construction field,” said Cooper, a certified residential home inspector and general contractor who also has a law degree. “My bigger strength is dealing with people and making sure people feel comfortable with what they’re doing. I think my medical skills translate really well into this company.”

The Homestead Advantage, she explained, cares for its clients’ homes just like a personal physician cares for a patient’s medical health on a regular basis. The company conducts basic, monthly maintenance of homes, including changing filters and light bulbs, fixing dripping toilets and checking gutters to ensure they’re clear of debris, among several other services. As part of the monthly visits, the business also provides evaluations in which clients receive recommendations for proactive, preventative home care to avoid unpleasant surprises and the need for emergency repairs.

“We want them to still feel like they’re managing their home but managing it with help,” said Cooper, whose company is a membership service with subscription options starting at $94 per month.

When more major work is required, the company can additionally provide its clients with consultations that include assisting in the planning of work, obtaining and evaluating project proposals from contractors and supervising the project to its completion. Consultations are an additional cost that depends on the project’s scope of work.

Cooper was inspired to start The Homestead Advantage after buying her house in Ponte Vedra from an elderly woman named Millie who had lived in the home with her husband Mike for 20 years. After Mike died, Millie became too frail to complete simple tasks around the home, such as changing the air conditioning filter or the smoke detector battery. Her children lived several states away, her handyman had retired and she was unable to find a trustworthy replacement. As a result, her home suffered and became unsafe, leading her children to convince Millie to move to an independent living facility closer to them.

Cooper said this story is all too common for seniors, in which maintaining their homes becomes too big a burden to bear. The goal of The Homestead Advantage, she said, is to relieve that burden and help residents stay in their homes for as long as they want.

“I’m selling peace of mind,” said Cooper. “I want to be there for these people.”

Part of that peace of mind, she added, is for clients to see the same handyman every month so they can ultimately grow to trust that individual.

“The more important part is for us to get to know them and for them to get to know us,” said Cooper,” so that when something significant comes up, they don’t have to worry about whether they will be cheated or not.”

The Homestead Advantage is mainly serving Ponte Vedra and the Beaches, as well as other select areas in St. Johns and Duval counties. The company’s office is located at 333 Fourth Ave. North in Jacksonville Beach. For more information, visit http://www.homesteadadvantage.com/ or call (904) 999-9902.

“The recommendations that I make to people is not, ‘let’s tear everything down,’” said Cooper. “I’m going to adjust your home so that it’s safe for you, but it’s still going to be your home.”

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