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What Should You Do With Your House While Away On Vacation?

I'm often asked - what should you do with your house while away on vacation?

Even more - what should you do with your house while away for any length of time - a weekend, or even a few days?

Have you considered that?  You should!  It's that time of year again.

Here are a couple of suggestions.

~~  DO NOT post on line ANYWHERE that you will be away, when you are leaving, or when you will get back!  Who is going to see that post?  Who would you NOT want to see it?  Mischief  is looking for such posts.  Mischief  happens.

~~  DO shut your water off!  Know where your main water shut off is and turn it off.  Drain the plumbing lines in the house by opening a faucet or two on the upper level and the lowest in the house.  That releases any water pressure.  Your plumbing can rest.

~~ DO turn your water heater temperature gauge to "Vacation" or at least down to a lower temperature.  If it is electric, turn off the circuit breaker.  Why heat water while you are away?  If you have gas hot water, do not turn it off unless you know how to relight the pilot.

~~ DO NOT turn off your air conditioning.  If you know it will be very warm it is not recommended that your turn off the air conditioner.  The humidity in the house can heat up dramatically and contribute to the amplification of mold, furniture wood rot, bubbling paint, peeling wall paper, the warping of wooden floors, and damage to computers.  Instead, turn it to 80 or 82F to control humidity while you are gone.

~~DO  unplug the garage door opener.  Sophisticated mischief  has the ability to electronically pick the code and open the door.  So disable it!

~~ DO hide your computers.  Should it find its way into your house, mischief  is very interested in computers.   Particularly hard drives.  A clever computer whiz can get into your system (they have password software) and your personal information.  Mischief  likes your personal information.

I actually put our computers into my gun safe.  It is the size of a doorway, so there is lots of room.  Not only are the computers safe there, but there is a humidity-control wand inside to keep everything happy and comfortable.

~~  DO tell a trusted neighbor that can pick up your mail and any packages delivered to your front door, and can pay attention to your house.  Even better, this trusted neighbor should have a key.  If you need for anyone to get into the house, your neighbor can be the way.

~~  DO keep a car parked in the driveway.

~~ DO tell your security company you will be away.  They will be monitoring the house anyway, but it isn't a bad idea to let them know the house is empty.  That way, if there is a signal, they won't waste time trying to get a hold of you and will simply call fire or police depending on what alarm happens in the house.

~~  DO tell your credit card company where you will be and for how long.  That way the computer will not kick out any purchases you are trying to make.  They will also know if any mischief  is using your information in an untoward way elsewhere.

If you can think of anything else do it!  Then go away, have a good time, get sand into places it should not be, and eat other people's food they might leave on the blanket when they go in the water.  

And remember, waterproof sun screen doesn't work.  It isn't waterproof!  You will fry.

You don't go to the beach you say?  Remember the tips anyway!  And go and do that voodoo you do so well.

My recommendation:  eliminate a lot of the worry of what happens to the house when you go away.  Keep your house, and yourself, protected.  Simple things go a long way.

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 48 commentsJay Markanich • June 08 2015 02:28AM

Comments

Good morning Jay. Never thought about turning off the water.  Another lesson learned so early here in the Rain.  Thanks for the lesson.

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) about 3 years ago

I have made that a practice for a long time James.  It makes sense to me, so I share it.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

thanks Jay...I am reblogging this...so important about the water.  I had one client that had a pipe mishap when away for a month...what damage!

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) about 3 years ago

It is a disaster when it occurs Ginny.  This eliminates that potential.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

And hope there's no tornado while you're away.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 3 years ago

Jay, many know to turn off the water when going away on vacation but too few actually do it! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker (Wayne M Martin) about 3 years ago

When I go away, I am the tornado Lenn.  But it's hard to prepare the house for one!

Wayne - I always do.  It is smart.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

Great post Jay Markanich 

It amazes me how many people brag about being away from home on social networking sites. Although the chances of being broken into may be rare, you can never say never. Why take a chance?

Posted by Debra Peters, NY Real Estate Salesperson (Referral Realty) about 3 years ago

Thanks Debra.  Advertising being away is an invitation.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

Jay Markanich fully a agree and a good list. More my concern is the water shut off. 

Posted by Frank Rubi, FrankRubiRealEstate.com (Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC) about 3 years ago

I agree Frank.  Turning that off should be first on the list!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

This is great advice, Jay.  I've seen lots of people have issues by shutting off heat or AC.  It's not obvious until you think about it.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) about 3 years ago

Thanks Debbie.  AC is really a minor consideration, because not all areas have humidity, but it should be considered!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

I wouldn't think about the water or the garage doors -t ahnks for a really good post! 

Posted by Lise Howe, Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA, (Keller Williams Capital Properties) about 3 years ago

Great advice, I only thought about shutting off the water when I leave town in the winter time, I wouldnt have thought to do it at times when there isn't danger of freezing.  Very timely information Jay, I will have to reblog!

Posted by Annette Thor, Residential & Commercial Real Estate Broker in CT (Connecticut Homes and Commercial Fairfield Cty,CT reinct.com) about 3 years ago

Hey Jay!

 

Great post! Love what you say about security!

 

Plan to share with my clients down here who are snow-birds!

 

Thanks for posting!

 

#AgentFerguson

Posted by L. Scott Ferguson, Sunny Florida Real Estate Professional (Ask4Ferguson - Your House-SOLD Name in Real Estate) about 3 years ago

While the seller is away, the home keeps getting shown with video round the clock. Or where we live, locked doors not needed. Security is not a concern in the 4th lowest crime state. People respect other folks, their stuff. Vice verse.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) about 3 years ago

The Mother of all DO posts on going away....Well done Jay Markanich 

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 3 years ago

Good Morning Jay Markanich 

I'm glad you put DO NOT post your plans online!! I cannot get over how many people share info like that.

Posted by Doug Dawes, Your Personal Realtor® (Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA) about 3 years ago

Jay, great post for anyone as it is now vacation season, and best to come back home with no issues!

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) about 3 years ago

It is so common for people to post there vacation photos online while on vacation! It is so--common practice. People are so much more comfortable with social media these days that it has become common place to do so.

Posted by Blatt + Cutino, Broker-Associate 831/206-8070*Call today* (Keller Williams Coastal Estates) about 3 years ago

Very good advice - some of the steps do get overlooked by most of us.

Posted by Gloria Laughton Allston, GREEN, SFR (COLDWELL BANKER/PRINCETON) about 3 years ago

Great list, they are all important! Don't wait till something happens to you before you start prepping your house for vacation... 

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 3 years ago

Good morning Jay. This is a really good list. I like the one with the A/C . I left mine on too when away recently.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) about 3 years ago

WOW! What a GREAT LIST!!  Great advice here for sure and definitely something everyone should do! Thanks for sharing.

 

KT

Posted by The Temple Team, Specializing in Lake Norman/Charlotte/Charleston (THE TEMPLE TEAM) about 3 years ago

Jay- this is excellent! We learned to turn off our water in Houston especially during the winter.  Our pipes are in the attic in many houses, so if we have a hard freeze, then oops, water everywhere. I'd not thought of putting the water heater on vacation mode. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) about 3 years ago

Good evening Jay. Congratulations on yet another feature! Great tips and information.

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) about 3 years ago

Jay - turning off the water so your plumbing can rest is something our friends wish they had done.  Their washing machine hose broke while they were on vacation.  Over a year and insurance and reconstruction later they were back in their house.

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) about 3 years ago

Mischief and Mayhem are always there trying to take advantage of someone being away. They can create a lot of problems.  Very good list to keep them n check

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) about 3 years ago

when I'm away my house is protected and occupied so I can post away and not have a worry.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) about 3 years ago

Jay, great list that very very few people follow.  Most people should leave their doors unlocked so they don't have to replace the door when they get home.

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) about 3 years ago

As the world gets more interesting I am considering an alarm system other then the Rottweiler. You can turn off the garage door opener on lots of systems. Thanks for the reminders! 

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) about 3 years ago

Our wonderful friend Kathy Streib re-blogged this and I would add DO leave detailed instructions and emergency #s if you have pets that are being taken care of in the home or at a kennel. SO important--they are family! 

And, much of this applies to many of my neighbors who are vacationers/2nd home owners, although we have VERY little theft! Mostly power outtages and leaky faucets! 

Jay, I loved this:

"And go and do that voodoo you do so well."

You are a master of a turned phrase for fun!

Posted by Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate, "Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905 (John L Scott Market Center) about 3 years ago

Jay Markanich one of the rare post with 'complete' to-do list of what to do when one is away on a long vacation - and my trip to India with family is coming up soon....Thanks a lot!

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) about 3 years ago

Lise - the idea is to protect the house!  And there is a lot of mischief out there!

I'm glad you found this useful Annette.

Scott - you have to do what you can to protect things, even if you're a snow bird.

Hopefully it will stay that way Andrew.  Still, you have to protect the house.  Pipes can always burst...

Thanks Richie.  A little preparation can go a long way, said the Scoutmaster.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

They do at times Doug.  Not the smartest idea.

Joan - that is the best way to come back home!  Well, the yard will always need mowing.

Angelica - it's okay after you return.  Letting people know you're gone can be an invitation to mischief.

Gloria - it always helps to have lists!

Give the house a break, right Fred.  Isn't that a vacation?  I bet the house enjoys its time without us.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

Sheila - that's probably the best practice.

Anytime Kent.  And thank you!

Why pipes would be in the attic is beyond me Kathy.  And thanks for the reblog!

Thanks Michael.  I thought these were good tips.

It doesn't take a large pipe to do a huge mess Grant.  Especially under pressure.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

They often come as a pair Ed.  Like Thing 1 and Thing 2.

That is a luxury Tammy.  Still, the house needs to be taken care of!

Woulda, coulda, shoulda William.  Replace the doors?

Bill - a well-trained Second Amendment helps, but not when you're away.  I just unplug my garage door opener - problem solved.

This is about the house Gayle, not the pets.  But maybe that post will come!  Turning a phrase is one of my ways.  My usual daze, which sometimes become nights.

Praful - not sure if it's complete, but it's a great list!

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

Great tips...our cat sitters are vigilant in watching both cats and the house...when in doubt...make a nosey neighbor feel important..they are also useful for this task !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 3 years ago

Yes, planning properly is key, and not advertising your departure on line is important. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) about 3 years ago

Good Morning Jay: I am stopping by from Ginny Gorman 's page. If she did not re-blog it, I would have missed this excellent tips.

One thing I posted on her page is the mention of leaving the airconditioning on.

Is it safe to do so?

Maria

Posted by Maria Gilda Racelis, Home Ownership is w/in Reach. We Make it Happen! (Home Buyers Realty, LLC-Manchester, Bolton. Vernon,Ellington) about 3 years ago

The mention of the neighbor is a big part in my post S&D!

Kat - mischeif is lurking and waiting for invitations.

Maria - the AC is the DO NOT just above my photo in the post.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

I HAD a Facebook friend who owned a jewelry shop.  He would continually post things like "Finally at O'Hare and off to Antwerp".  "Arriving at Antwerp airport and going out for a coffee and a croissant" etc etc.  I sent him a nice FB message and asked if his employees back at the store were thrilled he was blasting to the world that the boss was gone.  He ignore me.

Posted by Chris and Dick Dovorany, Broker/Associate at Premiere Plus Realty ( Homes for Sale in Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida) about 3 years ago

C&D - had mischief taken advantage of his advertisements he might not have appeared so ignorant.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

My husband laughed at me when I hid the computer before leaving for a cruise. Made perfect sense to me!

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) about 3 years ago

Sharon - it's that or give it to a neighbor!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

sad/funny one is the first and SO many folks do it on social media:  DO NOT post on line ANYWHERE that you will be away, when you are leaving, or when you will get back!  Who is going to see that post?  Who would you NOT want to see it?  

Posted by Mark Loewenberg, KW 561-214-0370 (KW of the Palm Beaches) about 3 years ago

It seems so logical not to post those plans, Mark, yet so many people do it!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

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