February and April are traditionally school vacation months and times when many families plan an out-of-town escape. If you are concerned about how your empty house will fare while you’re gone, here are some good ideas to implement.
1. Don’t turn your heat off, as the weather is likely to be at the freezing or lower level while you’re gone. This could cause burst water pipes and flooding inside. But, do lower your thermostats to around 55. This is a safe temperature to keep things from freezing and cut down on fuel costs while you’re gone.
2. Be sure that someone will be taking care of snow removal while you’re gone. Some states even have laws which require residents to clear their own sidewalks and walkways with a specific period of time. This will also make it much easier for you on your return, should there be a storm or two.
3. Either have a friend empty your mail and newspaper boxes, or have both deliveries held while you’re gone. Piling up mail is a dead giveaway to a potential thief who might be canvassing your neighborhood for easy targets.
4. Just to be safe, leave a key with a friend or ne
ighbor and ask them to keep an eye on the house while you’re away. It would be great if they would also go in the house once or twice, to be sure the heat is still on, and nothing else is awry. You can offer to do the same for them sometime.
5. Unplug all the electronics that won’t be in use during your absence.
6. This is also a good time to also lower the temperature on your water heater.
7. It’s not a bad idea to leave a car in the driveway if possible. This is also a perfect time to use timers to turn on indoor and outdoor lights. However, don’t leave an outside light on the whole time you’re gone. Again, that’s like advertising your empty house.
8. While it’s fun to share vacation pictures and events on all the social media options we have, remember, it’s always possible that the information will get into the wrong hands and prompt some unwanted interest in your house.
9. It’s a great idea to place all your valuables in a safe or safe deposit box, if you have one.
10. If your house is on the market, consider asking your REALTOR® to stop by and check in.
These simple steps will go a long way to keeping your house safe while you’re gone, and also insure your peace of mind while vacationing.
Based on an article written by Kelly O’Ryan, the office manager at Coldwell Banker Lexington, MA, which appeared in RISMEDIA, February 11, 2011.