All your bags are packed, you’re ready to go. You’ve been waiting for months for this moment and now it’s here. Whether it’s a beach resort or a lake house, summer means vacation for many families across America. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of your big trip, but don’t forget to make adequate preparations to your home before leaving. Careless vacationers are often susceptible to vandalism, theft, and avoidable home damage. Secure your home properly with the following tips:
1. Lock all doors and windows
Probably the most obvious thing to do before leaving for vacation, because it’s also the most important. Don’t forget to also secure porch doors and bulkheads.
2. Turn off all lights and electronics
Another obvious step, but this one can hit you back on the electric bill if an appliance is left running for days on end.
3. Disable all alarm clocks
There’s nothing more annoying than a neighbor’s alarm clock ringing endlessly because they forgot to shut it off prior to leaving their house. Don’t let your home be the neighborhood rooster; make sure all the alarms are off.
4. Unplug nonessential appliances
Even when they are not in use, all appliances still drain electricity when plugged into an outlet. This includes, computers, laptops, tablets, televisions, video game consoles, and even microwaves. You can save money as well as avoid shorting out your appliances during an electric storm if you unplug them prior to leaving.
5. Set a timer for indoor lights
Having a light or two turn on at dusk can make your home look occupied, a low-cost deterrent to prevent theft and vandalism.
6. Throw out perishable goods
Check the expiration dates of the items in your cabinets and refrigerator and throw away anything that will expire before you return.
7. Take out the trash
Now that you’ve thrown out all those perishable items, don’t let them rot in your garbage. Take your garbage out to the curb or remind your caretaker to bring it out on trash day. Your nose will thank you when you get back!
8. Contact a trusted neighbor or friend to look over your home
Watching someone’s home is a lot like moving someone; you’ll help them if they help you. Ask a responsible friend or family member to take 30 minutes out of each day while you’re away to perform the following 4 tasks:
9. Pick up your newspaper and mail
A cluttered driveway of old newspapers and overflowing mailbox is a tell-tale sign of a vacant house and can make your home a target for theft and vandalism.
10. Water indoor and outdoor plants
Why should your landscaping suffer just because you’re taking some R&R? 15 minutes every other day should give your plants the adequate nourishment they need to survive in your absence.
11. Take out and take in the trash and recycling bins
Inform your caretaker of when trash day is so they can leave your trash out for collection and put them back in your house. Leaving trash bins rolling around at the edge of your driveway is another sign of an abandoned home and can result in a HOA violation.
12. Air out the house prior to your return
With all of your windows and doors shut for over a week, it can get pretty stale in your home. Opening the doors and window even for just 30 minutes can provide some much needed fresh air and make your return a much more pleasant experience.