Maintaining a Home While on an Extended Vacation
The Checklist and Money Saving Tips
Our home is our safe haven, our oasis from the outside world. If you’re planning on leaving your residence for an extended vacation, it’s essential that you take precautions to ensure your home remains safe and secure while you’re away. I always have a friend or neighbor that I give a key, and this year I will also have a full-time renter in my new home; but there are always extra precautions you can take to keep your personal property safe, even from miles away.
Go through these checklists before you head out on your adventure to make sure your home is kept in the best condition while you’re gone.
- Traveling Less Than Two Weeks:
- Make sure you have secure locks on all of your windows and doors
- Double-check that you’ve turned the gas off on the stove
- Turn off all but a few lights or set your lighting timers
- Water your garden and plants, and ask a neighbor if they can help
- Turn off your air conditioning or heating
- Give an emergency key to a person you trust
- Traveling Two Weeks to One Month:
- All of the above
- Check fire extinguishers
- Clean drains and let the water flow from each faucet for 30 seconds
- Remove any perishable food from fridges and cabinets
- Turn down fridge and freezer temperatures to save energy (and money)
- Notify a few neighbors of your absence so they’re aware of any suspicious activity at your home
- Check for leaks in toilets and sinks
- Call the post office and request a hold on your mail. Criminals will target homes that have mail piling up.
- Traveling One Month to Three Months:
- All of the above
- Remove debris from roof and check for cracks
- Clear out your gutters
- Inspect siding and clean or repair anything that needs your attention
- Fill cracks, caulk edges, and repaint windowsills and doorsills
- Hire someone to maintain lawn and garden while you’re away
- Traveling Three Months or More
- All of the above
- Clean flue, repair cracks in flue or any loose or crumbling mortar in your chimney
- Tighten drain connections and fasteners to all of your piping sources. Hire a plumber to check everything if you don’t know how.
- Check any crawl space entrances or under porch entrances for loose points or openings; even the smallest of cracks could allow an inlet for mice and other vermin.
‘While I’m Away’ – Hacks to Save Money
Here are some hacks for those that want to save money while simultaneously making home improvements:
You’ve spent all year cultivating your garden, and taking a vacation shouldn’t interfere with all of your hard work. Consider installing a DIY drip irrigation system for your plants to ensure they get the sustenance they need while you’re away.
If you don’t already have them, consider watering timers for your yard or garden. Installing a water timer can be more than worth the investment, as personal garden and lawn helper is expensive. I have used several services from Angie’s List to find a gardener, but the cost can really pile up. If it is just someone to water the plants, I have found that a timer works very well.
Make sure pests don’t move in while you’re away from home. Use natural bug repellant in small ‘bug-prone’ areas of the home, emphasizing the entrances they might access. Taking precaution will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Rent It Out
Hire a renter! This is perfect for one month-plus intervals of absence. You can even earn money on this situation. It is best to give a discount on rent if the renters tend the garden and upkeep the home. Make sure to vet them, though! You wouldn’t believe the horror stories I’ve heard from other landlords and their nightmare tenants. I like this service by TransUnion for my renters, as the criminal check helps me feel more comfortable, but there are other great options as well. House swapping companies such as Airbnb or Home Away also work well for short term absences.
The Power of Community
Don’t feel comfortable renting out your home? Consider asking a friend or neighbor to do the exterior tending and collect your mail while you’re gone. Community is important and building more camaraderie and security will benefit everyone. If you have friends with children in the early teenage years, taking care of a home can be a great learning experience.
I would love to hear ideas and suggestions for more! Special thanks to Live Dan 330 for this guest post opportunity.
About Hank (Bio): Hank is a home industry and landlord blogger. Having recently acquired a rental property, he loves to blog about all things surrounding the home. Check him out on Twitter and see what he is writing about next – @homebyhank
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