Can you smell that? It is the first whiff upon entering your summer home sweet home. Hopefully it smells like an ocean breeze or freshly cut grass. If your seasonal home is not maintained properly, your first whiff may be less than aromatic: mold, mildew, mouse droppings, or stagnant water.
These scents have the power to create a sensory experience that can instantly transport you to the blissful atmosphere of a vacation home or the drudgery of deep cleaning weekends. As many families look forward to spending quality time at their cherished summer homes, remember the practical underbelly of maintaining a vacation home. Here are the top 12 considerations to adorn your roster:
1.) Do Your Own Walk-Through Inspections: This should include checking for leaks, inspecting the roof, examining the plumbing and electrical systems, and putting new batteries in fire alarms, smoke alarms, burglar alarms, and any cameras on the premises.
2.) Seasonal Opening and Closing: Develop a checklist for opening and closing your summer home at the beginning and end of each season. This may involve turning utilities on and off, cleaning the property, removing perishable items, and securing the premises.
3.) Landscaping and Yard Maintenance While You are Gone: Consider hiring a local landscaping service to assist with regular maintenance tasks if you are not able to do them yourself. This will prevent dreaded weeds from spiraling out of control, as well as any possible encroachments onto neighbors’ yards.
4.) Pest Control: Implement measures to prevent and control pests such as rodents, insects, and termites. Regularly inspect the property for signs of infestation (mouse droppings on the floor, ants near your pantry, termites congregating on your wooden deck, etc.)
5.) Property Security: Install a security system or surveillance cameras to protect your vacation home from theft or vandalism. Consider using timers for lights or smart home technology to give the appearance of activity when the property is unoccupied.
6.) Weatherproofing: Take steps to weatherproof your vacation home to protect it from extreme weather conditions. This may include bringing all lawn furniture inside, sealing windows and doors, inspecting the insulation, and ensuring proper drainage to prevent water damage.
7.) Regular Cleaning: Keep the interior of your summer home clean and well-maintained. Dust regularly, vacuum or sweep floors, clean appliances, and sanitize bathrooms. Consider hiring a professional cleaning service to visit the property while you are not there and perform deep cleanings periodically.
8.) HVAC Maintenance: Service and maintain your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system regularly. This ensures optimal performance and energy efficiency. Change air filters as recommended and leave the air conditioning or heat on a low setting to prevent mold from growing or frozen pipes from bursting.
9.) Plumbing and Water Systems: Prevent plumbing issues by insulating pipes to avoid freezing during colder months. Test faucets and toilets for leaks, check the water heater, and ensure that the water supply is properly shut off during periods of non-use.
10.) Safety Equipment: Install and regularly inspect smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers. Replace batteries and upgrade equipment as needed to maintain a safe environment.
11.) Homeowners Property Insurance: Read the fine print on your policy or ask your insurance agent detailed questions. Cheaper policies sometimes exclude “water damage” which comprises approximately 80% of all homeowner insurance claims. Review your insurance policy to ensure it adequately covers your summer home and its contents. Do not make the rookie mistake of letting your policy lapse (often by having the renewal letter sent to this vacant address).
12.) Neighborhood Watch: It cannot all be barbecues and potlucks. Get to know your neighbors and participate in a neighborhood watch program if available. Or simply ask a trusted neighbor to pass by the property occasionally and report any suspicious lights, smells, puddles, or extreme temperatures.
For all heirs great and small: we are here to help protect your vacation home and ensure your estate planning covers this prized property. This will ensure that any real estate owned by your family gets passed down to future generations with minimal hassles. We can help you avoid probate and battle unwanted creditors that may try to lay claims on your property after you pass away. For a free consultation about your options, call us at (954) 251-0332, email email@example.com or use the contact form on the homepage of this website. Our attorneys are fluent in English, Spanish and Russian.