So, you’re going on vacation, headed for the warm, sandy beach – how exciting! But how will you ensure your home is safe and free from damage while you’re away? There’s a lot to think about and while you won’t be able to control everything, here are a few tips to help bring some peace of mind and let you enjoy your vacation:
Making sure your house is secure while away can be tricky, but with a few simple steps, you’ll be put at ease knowing your home is safe and free from intruders:
Ask someone to check in daily
Asking someone you trust to check in on your home on a regular basis is very important when you go away. Many home insurance policies also require someone to check in on the home on a regular basis (check with your broker or insurance provider for details about your policy) Consider a house sitter if a friend, neighbor or relative is available.
Invest in a light timer
A simple timer for lights in your home is a good way to keep unwanted guests away. These are normally inexpensive and can be picked up at any department or home improvement store. Light timers can also prove to be quite useful when you aren’t on vacation, especially when it comes to outside and holiday lights
Keep your porch light on at night
Building on the previous point about light timers, keeping your porch light on each night will allow for visibility from the street if someone tries to enter your home uninvited
Leave a vehicle in the driveway
If possible, leave a vehicle in your driveway while you’re away. This is another way to present the idea that you’re home, keeping burglars and intruders away.
If you live in a condo building or gated community, let your security or building manager know that you’re going away and who you expect to be coming by your home) to feed your pets, etc.).
2. Pets and Plants
Do you have plants and furry friends? If so, you’ll need to arrange to have someone care for them. If you have a normal pet sitter for weekends away, consider having them do the works – checking in on your home daily, feeding and walking your pets, and watering your plants. This will also minimize the number of people coming into your home while you’re away. As for your outdoor plants, consider asking your closest neighbour if they could water your plants while they tend to their own. This will save time for the both of you.
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3. Say Thank You!
Don’t forget to thank everyone that helped out while you were away. Consider picking up small souvenirs from wherever you’re vacationing or gift cards as a token of your gratitude. Hand-written thank you notes are also a nice touch. Make sure to also let friends and neighbours that helped you know that you’d be willing to do the same for them in the future.
4. Food and Garbage
It may sound small, but make sure you take out your garbage and empty your fridge before you leave for vacation. The last thing you want to come home to is the smell of spoiled food or rotting garbage. Make sure to check the expiration dates of any food you keep on the counter such as fruits and vegetables as well as the food you keep in your fridge.
5. Check the Weather Forecast
Knowing what the weather is going to like while you’re away is very important. Is it winter? Does the forecast call for a lot of snow? Changes between high and low temperatures? Risk of storms? High winds? These are all things that could affect your home while you’re gone if the correct precautions aren’t taken.
Snow in the winter is inevitable; but, with snow comes the need to maintain sidewalks and walkways. If you live in a house, you’ll need to make arrangements to have someone shovel and salt your sidewalks and walkways while you’re away. Try a next-door-neighbour, family friend or a neighbourhood kid trying to make some extra cash.
If the forecast calls for heavy snowfall, suggest asking someone to shovel your driveway in addition to shoveling/salting the sidewalks. Although it’s not a city by-law to shovel your driveway (as it’s not accessed by the public), having to shovel two feet of snow just to pull into your driveway isn’t desirable. Another thing to consider is asking someone to be prepared to clear your roof in the event of heavy snowfall or freezing rain. If left unattended, heavy build-up of snow and ice can cause damage to the structure of your home or your roof.
If a storm is possible and power might go out, consider what (if anything) would be affected. Do you have food in the fridge that would spoil? Do you have pets that would be cold? Are there plants that would die? Be sure to let whoever is coming to check on your house know about these things.
While you can’t avoid everything 100% while you’re away, you can definitely take preventative measures to make sure your home stays safe and secure. In addition to the tips mentioned above, don’t forget to ask friends and neighbours how they keep their home safe and secure while they’re vacationing – you’re bound to get some helpful tips there, too.
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