Are you a snowbird and spend your winters south of the border? Are you away at your cottage every weekend? If your home is vacant for short or extended periods, here are some helpful hints to keep it safe and healthy in your absence:
- A vacant house should be visited 2 to 3 times a week and directly after any major storms or power outages.
- In winter, keep the driveway and entrances clear of snow. Always keep some lights on, inside and out, and empty the mailbox regularly. Nothing says “we are not at home” like an overflowing mailbox.
- Consider an alarm system if you do not already have one. Alarm systems can be quite sophisticated and can include video surveillance, monitoring for water leakage, and fire. However, they should not replace regular visual inspections.
- Maintain a low but even heat throughout your home in winter.
- Do not keep blinds fully closed for extended periods as it may create condensation and mildew on windows, and also may suggest to outsiders that there is no one at home.
- If your home is vacant for extended periods, you may want to consider hiring professional property management services.
Talk to your insurance company about your home owner’s policy and what they may require you to do to protect your home and your insurance coverage if your home will be vacant for any extended periods.
Contributed by Carol Burke, Owner of Burke Realty, a Property Management and Real Estate Brokerage company.