Saying goodbye is never easy, and so it goes with your vacation home.
If your secondary home is going to be unoccupied for the fall and winter season, technology can help you keep an eye on your property from afar. A growing range of inexpensive security cameras are offering companion services that allow you to view live video from your home on smartphones and tablets, as well as connections to your remote monitoring company. Some other services offer text alerts if a vehicle enters your driveway.
Even with help from technology, though, it’s a good idea to arrange for a local property manager or caretaker to visit the property on a routine schedule to check for damage, and to be on call should an alarm sound or an emergency occurs. If a water sensor detects a broken pipe, for example, having a local resource to address the problem quickly can be important in reducing damage and repair costs.
Outdoor Fixture Risks
The growing popularity of outdoor kitchens is one of several reasons the end-of-summer to-do list for owners of secondary homes is expanding.
Just as it’s important to shut off water supplying outdoor faucets, homeowners should make sure the pipes feeding outdoor kitchen sinks, pool houses or showers are drained and water is turned off. This will help reduce the risk of pipes freezing and cracking, and causing leaks or the potential for mold damage.
And speaking of outdoor kitchens, it’s a good idea to shut off electricity to appliances or fixtures you won’t be using.
Checking the Grounds
Before closing your secondary home for the season, it’s important to grab a pen and paper and take a look at your home’s exterior and any nearby trees or shrubs. Check for overhanging limbs that could fall and damage your roof or a window, and take a look at the foundation for any holes, or cracks that could allow animals to sneak in.
Pay attention for signs of rotted wood or loose roof shingles that could provide an entryway for water or animals.
Arrange for Off-Season Services
If you’re going to be away from the home for the cold weather, arrange for routine services to maintain the property and its appearance.
The driveway should be plowed, for instance, both to allow any needed emergency services to be performed and to avoid signaling to passers-by that the home is not occupied.
Make sure fall leaves are removed from the property, and have your gutters cleaned to reduce the potential for water damage.
By investing some time and effort as summer winds down, you can help avoid potential problems and damage when winter weather returns.