August is arguably the best month of the summer, full of sunshine and steamy weather. Maybe you prefer the less-scorching months of June and July, but regardless summer is definitely in full-swing! Your vacation home has undoubtedly been put to good use, the location for family cook-outs, swimming, or simply relaxing. Yet, the summer can’t last forever and while you’re squeezing in all the beach days you can before the summer slips away, you mustn’t forget to plan ahead for closing and protecting your vacation home until the warm weather returns again next year.
In preparation of closing your vacation home, remember to:
- Clean the home both inside and out, especially the gutters. Clean gutters will ensure that water will remain away from the home, protecting the foundation and eliminating the chance of flooding and mold damage. If your vacation home is located in an area particularly prone to flooding, installing a flood monitoring sensor system is a good precaution, and a simple investment that can save you money in the future.
- Empty the cabinets and fridge to protect against uninvited animal visitors attracted by the smell of food. So that food doesn’t go to waste, throw an end of the summer party with all the neighbors! Don’t forget to take out the trash, and it’s best to unplug the fridge before leaving.
- Keep up with landscaping—trim any tree branches that are near the home to protect from damage in case of a bad storm
- Close your pool properly; it’s plenty of fun while you are there to use it, but it’s a safety hazard when left unmonitored.
- Contact your utility provider to have your water and gas turned off from the main line. If you chose to have your utilities remain on while you are away, unplug everything to prevent a fire. Security systems with fire monitoring capabilities, where the local fire station is notified in the case of an emergency even when you are away, can give peace of mind.
- During cold months, your empty vacation home is susceptible to freezing pipes. To prevent this costly mishap, hire a professional to winterize your home. There are also low-temperature monitoring systems that can notify you of dangerously low temperatures in your home—before your pipes freeze.
- Arrange with the postal service to again have your mail delivered to your full-time residence.
The cleaning is done, utilities arranged to be shut off, and your bathing suits packed in the car—do these last minute precautions to ensure your vacation home remains secure while you’re away:
- Place all outdoor summer fun items, the grill, bikes, patio furniture, boogie boards, and whatever else you have, in a secure shed. Make sure the lock is working properly before heading ou
- Take with you any electronics, including stereos and televisions that you can, and hide what has to be left behind. The less tempting your vacation home looks for thieves, the better.
- Program your automatic flood light over the drive-way to turn on at any sign of motion. Burglars, unlike the rest of us, do not like being in the spot light. If you do not already have a flood light installed, consider one, it can easily protect the home while you are away.
- Lock all doors and windows as you are about to leave, checking twice to be sure.
- Finally, have a local friend stop by your property periodically to guarantee your vacation home remains safe and secure. Remember to exchange updated contact information each summer so you can be reached if there is a problem.
So while summer is still here—enjoy your fruity cocktails, the sand between your toes, and that tan you’ve been working on. But when it starts to get a little cooler, and the nights a little shorter, prepare your vacation home properly so that it remains a place of fun for many summers to come. Before you know it, it will be time to for ski lodges and hot chocolate, happy vacationing!