Thursday, February 21, 2019

Going on a Trip? Here’s What to do With Your Home

When you go on long vacations, you need to protect your home. It might be the biggest investment in your life. It’s your refuge from the toils of the world, the one spot that’s devoted to you and your family. Leaving it unoccupied for weeks or months could lead to undesirable results.

So what can you do? Let’s review your options.

Do Nothing

This might be reasonable if your trip will be very short. But you don’t want your home to be deserted for an extended period of time. This could encourage people to break in. Homeowners have horror stories of returning to their property after an absence only to find strangers living on the premises.

It’s an unlikely scenario but it could happen.

If you’re going to be away for less than a week, here’s what you can do to get rid of vacant look. Turn on your alarm system, leave a few lights on or use your home’s smart system to turn them on and off occasionally. If you’re close with your neighbors, you can ask one of them to get your mail.

Get a Housesitter

A housesitter is someone whose role is to watch over your home. You should consider this if you’re going to go away for weeks. From an outside point of view, it’ll be like you never left. Criminals won’t target your property because they won’t believe that you’re gone.

One way to find a housesitter is to ask your friends and family. Some people would relish the opportunity to have a house for themselves.

If you do decide to go with someone you know, make sure that you set the ground rules in advance. You don’t want to come home to any surprises. For example, can your housesitter have guests over? Are there plants or pets that you expect them to look after?

You can also hire a professional housesitter. They often don’t charge anything for their services. Their payment is being able to live rent-free for a few months. If you live in a desirable location, it’ll be very easy to find someone willing to housesit.

You can find a professional housesitter online. There are websites dedicated to the practice.

Update Your Alarm System

An advanced alarm system might be enough to keep your home safe. You can change the settings when you go on vacation. While you’re away, you can look at any room in the house on your smartphone or computer if you buy the right package.

Only 17 percent of American homes have an active alarm system. If you have one in place, advertise it. Put stickers in the window and a sign in the yard. Add a beware of dog sign even if it’s an empty threat.

Someone who is looking for an easy break-in is likely to pass by a home that’s clearly protected. It’s not worth the hassle when there are so many homes that don’t have an alarm system.

Arrange Your Mail

A pile of letters, or worse, packages, at your door announces to the world that you’re out of town. There are a few ways to handle this. You can ask the post office to temporarily hold your mail while you’re gone.

You can also ask someone else to pick up your mail while you’re gone. Because it’s such a simple task, your friends might be willing to do it for free.

House Swap

A twist on getting a housesitter is to do a house swap instead. Let’s say you live in New York City and you want to go to Madrid for a month. You can search for someone with a home in Madrid who wants to live in your city. This way, you both save money on hotel fees.

Peter Goldberg, CEO of Bouclair.com, made a career out of catering to people’s desire to be in nice surroundings. Bouclair.com is a leading Canadien website geared toward home retail products. If you can’t afford nice home furnishings yourself, a house swap can give you the experience.

According to Goldberg: “The right home decor can transform a dull, impersonal space into a comfortable, inviting area that your guests and visitors will love.”

A house swap can be very hard to set up on your own. The internet can help.

A vacation can turn your entire year around. Yet they can be hard to plan if you’re a homeowner. You have a duty to protect your home. It requires planning on your part. An empty house is an alluring target for all sorts of thieves. Living in a nice neighborhood isn’t enough.

Modern technology makes everything easier. You can link your home to a video feed so you can always see what’s going on. 

18 comments:

  1. I would definitely get a house-sitter if I was going to be away for a long period of time. When we go on short trips we always have our mail held at the post office and not delivered to our house.

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  2. Some rent their home out while they are gone. We have a friend who comes over twice a day to feed and check on the animals. Stop the mail of course. The lights are automatically turned on and off. The alarm system works great.

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  3. We've never gone away for a long period of time, but have still had neighbors give a once-over while checking our mail. These are great tips.

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  4. I don't get to go away often but I know other's that do. I have helped out by collecting post before and placing it where it can't be seen. No charge of course.

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  5. We will be taking a trip soon and I was going to leave my alarm on but who will hear it. I think the house trade or sitter makes so much sense.

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  6. oh totally- we are never gone for more than we need to be but if we feel as if someone needs to come by- we ask neighbors to bring in garbage cans and the mail if were gone longer than a few days! great tips!

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  7. We don't do anything when we go. My Mom comes and checks on the pets every few days days and makes sure everything is okay. I'd never house swap. I worry we'd get complete pigs.

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  8. These are some great things to remember to do before going away. We always get our neighbour to keep an eye on our home as well.

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  9. My husband and I have been talking about researching alarm systems for way too long. We need to put aside time to sit down this spring, do the research, and make it happen!

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  10. All great options for when you go away! We do a mixture of them all... depends on where we're going and for how long.

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  11. We normally get a housesitter whenever we will go for a little long but we chose to get a relative instead of a stranger.

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  12. Since we have pets, we always have someone come over while we are gone. These are some good options to keep your house secure.

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  13. I travel a lot so these hacks are really useful. Thanks for sharing them!

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  14. A house swap is interesting! But I honestly am not comfortable with other people. We will go on a 2 week trip next month, glad my cousin agrees to stay in our house by then.

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  15. We always have to arrange our mail when we go on vacations. Just so glad USPS have that kind of service. Super helpful and convenient! -Lynndee

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  16. I always ask my friends to take care of house while I was going for vacations and arrange mail pickup as well as putting alarm system in house.

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  17. These are super helpful tips to keep in mind. We always have neighbors grab our mail for us. An alarm system would be a nice perk!

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  18. I always ask our neighbors to check on our house when we're gone. They're great about getting mail and keeping an eye on things.

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