A vacation home is a great investment for those looking for a change of scenery during holidays and summer. But during the off-season, it’s quite unlikely you’ll be spending a lot of time at your vacation home. You’ll be at your main residence for the rest of the year with no one to keep an eye on your other property.
Leaving your vacation home for several months or even a year can leave you anxious, especially if you’re keeping a lot of precious belongings in there. It can be a hot target for burglars and trespassers once they found out that no one is guarding the house. It’s also at risk for repairs if you’re not prioritizing its upkeep.
A responsible owner of a vacation home knows how to maintain a second property. They’re willing to hire a property manager, a handyman, and even a plumbing professional to ensure that everything is in order.
So if you plan to leave your vacation home for a long time, here are ways to secure and maintain your property.
Install security systems
Modern security systems allow owners to monitor their property even from afar. From motion sensors to CCTV cameras, there’s a large host of security equipment to help you watch over your vacation home.
If you plan on using the vacation home every few months, make sure to lock everything up. Check every door and window at least twice to ensure you properly set each lock. Also, double-check all access points to avoid possible entrances for burglars or trespassers.
Another way is to register your home for police checks. In most towns around the U.S., homeowners can apply for a police check to check their vacation homes periodically. A registered volunteer or a police officer will check your home’s perimeter while you’re away.
Often, police checks are dedicated to homeowners leaving their main residence temporarily for vacation. They can also guard secondary homes if it is within their locale. Take note that police checks have certain limits that can go only for 30 days, which won’t be enough if you’re out of your vacation home for several months or a year.
In the end, preventing damage and incidents is your most powerful tool for avoiding potential risks in your vacation home, such as fire, trespassing, and burglary. If you have the budget, hire a permanent caretaker to keep an eye on things.
Set up the utilities
If no one will stay in your vacation home for long periods, there’s no need to leave the utilities on. During the off-season, most areas experience severe cold weather when homeowners complain about freezing pipes. While it’s important to turn off pumping systems during winter, it’s also a great idea to make the same approach in warmer climates as well.
Keep in mind water pipes can leak any time of the year. Damaged water pipes can wreak havoc in your home by destroying its foundation, interiors, and personal items.
To avoid unexpected repairs, make sure to stay up-to-date with the upkeep, such as furnace tune-ups, lawn care, caulk replacement, and gutter cleanings. Also, don’t forget to pay the bills in advance to prevent the utility company from cutting off your water and electricity supply.
For extra measure, find a local handyman to inspect your vacation home from time to time. They will inform you about their findings and make necessary repairs to prepare your home just in time for your return.
Ask for local help
Owners of vacation homes hire a local property manager to look after their second home when they’re away. They’re also a huge help if you plan to rent out your home for vacationing tenants.
Property management companies offer a range of services, from arranging the landscaping and securing renters to taking charge of housekeeping. But they charge pretty high fees, depending on the type of service you prefer. If employing an official property manager doesn’t fit your budget, hire a housekeeper instead to clean the property and do basic checks.
The most affordable option is to entrust your home to a reliable neighbor. It’s likely that some people live near your vacation home and are willing to check your home now and then. But you cannot simply order them to do this if you don’t have a close relationship with them. Whenever you’re visiting your vacation home, make it a point to mingle with the neighbors to get to know them and establish trust and rapport.
Even from afar, there are ways to secure and maintain a vacation home. By the time you return, it’s easy to settle and make vacation preparations instead of wasting time cleaning the property. This way, you have more time to enjoy a fun-filled and stress-free holiday and summer vacation.