Home & Away
You’ve booked your campsite, routed the road trip, and found a pet-sitter (or plant-sitter), but have you made plans for your home while you’re away? Our guide for pre-vacation prep will help make your post-vacation arrival home safe, seamless and drama-free.
DON’T PUT OFF THAT THING… YOU KNOW THE THING
We know you have that thing. We all have that thing. That nagging task that may be simple and would definitely protect your home, but it’s so easy to put off that it never gets done. Leaky taps? Loose lock? Sound familiar? Give yourself peace of mind by fixing everything that could blow, before you go.
If you’re not sure what your weak points are, hop on a quick call and Ask a Home Inspector if there’s anything you need to be aware of before you head out for a relaxing getaway.
CHECK YOUR INSURANCE
Should something go wrong while you’re away (heaven forbid), you need to make sure you’ll be covered. Some policies void coverage for homes when they’re not checked on regularly in your absence, even for short vacations. And for many condo owners or renters, you'll need to alert the condo board, property manager or concierge if you’ll be away for an extended period of time. Put your notice in writing and save a copy.
Some things, like leaks from Poly B piping, aren’t covered by insurance at all – something you may want to talk to a plumber about before you leave for an extended period of time. Adding a leak detection device can give you an early warning if your pipes spring a leak while you’re away.
MAKE IT EASY FOR SOMEONE TO CHECK ON YOUR HOME
For your own peace of mind, and to keep your insurance provider happy, ask someone you trust to drop by and check on your home.
Ask them to water the plants or pick up the mail. You may need them to run water through your pipes, start your car, or shovel the walk in the case of bad weather. It could be wise for them to change up your lights, turn on a radio, or adjust the curtains each day, to make it seem as though someone is at home.
That’s a lot to ask one person to do. A smart lock system makes it easier to share the load by sharing a temporary password with a few trusted friends or family members. Ask your friend with a green thumb to look after the plants, and someone else to check the pipes or shovel the walk. And don’t forget to show your appreciation with a thoughtful gift or souvenir.
BE SMART ABOUT SECURITY
A pal or two dropping by to check in can only get you so far. Double check your security system procedures and connect with your provider in advance. If you’ll be out of range altogether, make sure they know who to contact in case of emergency, or how to get a hold of you.
Before you leave, make sure to remove any hidden spare keys and seal all casual access points to your home (like the garage or patio windows). SMART security tools make it easy to monitor your home from afar – indoor/outdoor cameras, motion sensors and sirens, or gate monitors can warn you before it’s too late.
POWER DOWN & TIDY UP
Before you take off, do a sweep of house with two goals in mind:
- Clean up everything that can go bad or make your return less than welcoming.
- Turn off everything that can suck energy (and cost me money) while you’re away.
For the first one, make sure to clear out the fridge or pantry and empty all garbage cans. If it can go bad, get it out. Put fresh sheets on the bed and clean towels in the bathroom and get your house ready to welcome you home at the end of your time away.
For the second, unplug anything that could pull ‘phantom energy’ and increase your energy bill. Small appliances, computer monitors, printers, gaming systems, and chargers are silent energy users even when they’re not in use.
AVOID SOCIAL MEDIA RISKS
If an epic marshmallow roast isn’t Instagrammed, did it even happen? We get it – you want to share your vacation snaps far and wide. But when it comes to safety, you’ll want to be careful about what you post on social media. Avoid posting about long-term or whole-family getaways that let everyone know your place is empty and unprotected. Just keep it to yourself, until you know you’re in the clear… then post all the toasty marshmallow photos you want.
The point of a relaxing getaway is to relax. Take care of your home before and during your vacation so you’ll be able to enjoy your time away, stress free. If your holiday must end, then returning to a safe and tidy home is the best welcome home around.