At PrimeLending, we want to help you find your dream home – the perfect place for you and your family to spend time. Likewise, when you’re planning to be away, we want to help you rest easy knowing that your home will be safe and sound.
Here are our tips for preparing your home before you travel to ensure a low-stress return.
Tend to the Yard
Start by mowing the yard. Then move on to making sure everything that could be taken from your yard is locked up either in a garage or in your house. You should also be sure to trim any hedges that may be blocking the general view of your house; this way, intruders won’t be able to use them to hide.
If you’re planning to be away for more than a couple of weeks consider arranging for someone to tend to your yard. If you’re the type of person who keeps it looking nice and it suddenly grows ten inches over a ten day period, it could tip people off to your being gone.
Prep the House
Start by storing all of your valuables in a safe place (either a safe or safe-deposit box would be best). This includes jewelry and important documents (i.e. birth certificates, social security cards) as well as anything of major sentimental value that you would be heartbroken to lose, such as a golden broach from your grandmother.
You should also be sure to empty your mailbox and, if you’re planning to be gone for a significant amount of time, stop the delivery of future mail until you return. You will definitely want to suspend the delivery of newspapers – it’s a tell-tale sign (by the growing stack in front of your house) that you’re not home to collect them.
Just before leaving be sure to do the following things to save money, maintain appliances/electronics and help prevent the threat of intrusion:
- Set lights, music or TV on a timer. Do not leave one light on the entire time you’re gone. One light that never goes out will likely not scare off burglars.
- Empty your refrigerator and all perishables, and then take out all of your trash to prevent coming home to unpleasant odor, or unwanted “pets.”
- If you have a spare key that sits outside, take it in. Don’t give people who are up to no-good the opportunity to find it.
- Turn your heat down (to conserve energy and money on your electric bill), but not too low – you don’t want to freeze the pipes.
- Turn off your water if you’re going to be away when it’s extremely cold or if you have concerns about flooding.
- Unplug all of your appliances and electronics. If you’re strictly opposed to doing this, make sure everything is plugged into a surge protector in case a storm hits while you’re away.
- Make sure EVERYTHING is locked! (Including windows and doggie doors)
Handle Your Finances
Be sure to check that your homeowners insurance policy is up to date. And while you’re checking, make a note in your calendar to regularly update your homeowners insurance. Forgetting could be troublesome if something were to happen and new assets haven’t been added to your coverage.
If you’re going to miss any major payments while being gone, contact your bank and set up either an automatic payment system or ask if you can make a prepayment to cover your estimated bill. Make sure you do this – no one wants to come home from vacation to a house without utilities or Internet.
Find a Buddy
Find someone that you trust, maybe a friend or family member, and leave them with a house key, travel itinerary and emergency phone number in case they are in dire need of contacting you – this is mostly a safety precaution.
If you have someone close by who doesn’t mind, consider asking them to check on your house every few days, feed any fish you might be leaving behind or water your plants.
Take Care of the Pets
Most people consider pets a part of their family, so we’re fairly sure you won’t forget this one. But just in case, here’s a friendly reminder – take care of your pets. Make arrangements early to have them boarded or, if their staying at home, for someone to come by and care for them regularly. You might even consider paying a neighboring kid to do it – they get some extra cash and learn responsibility, you get pet care.
Also be sure to “pet proof” the house if the animals are there to stay. Pets act very different when you’re away, so be sure to close toilets, pick up things they could injure themselves on and tuck breakables away.
Enjoy Every Second
Lastly, leave the house behind, safe and secure, and go enjoy your time away. Home sweet home will be waiting for you when you get back.