Do you have, or are planning to purchase a vacation property? Just like with your regular home, vacation property maintenance and safety should be a high priority. It’s very important that you know the house inside and out and can deal with whatever problems might come up. Since vacation homes are often in less populated, and sometimes completely out of the way places, you might be some distance away from emergency services. It’s important to empower yourself to deal with emergency situations should they occur.
Familiarize yourself with all the workings of the home and property. Make sure you know where the electrical panel is located; know how to turn the water on and off; if you have a chimney make sure you know when it was last inspected, etc.
Always have working smoke and CO detectors in the building and make sure they’re installed right at sleeping areas. Keep in mind that since the power can be knocked out more often than in city properties, the detectors should have battery-powered backup systems. Visit Kidde’s website for more info about smoke and CO alarms and what’s best for your property.
Make sure you have a fire extinguisher on every floor of the house (or even more if it’s particularly large. There should be a fire extinguisher for every 600 sq. ft of living space.). Keep one in or near the kitchen and if you have a wood-burning fireplace it’s a good idea to keep one nearby. A fire extinguisher located easily within reach is your best bet for putting out a fire while it’s still small. Keep in mind that the size of a fire doubles every thirty seconds so you never want to go looking for a fire extinguisher. Your priority should be to get out of the house as quickly as possible. Fire extinguishers can help if your exit is blocked.
Consider hiring someone who can come and check on the property during periods where it’s sitting empty. A regular handyman or groundskeeper can make sure everything is in order, and you can also hire them to cut the grass, remove snow, bring in the mail, or anything else required so the property looks well cared for and lived in.
Have a list of local repair companies at the ready in case of things like burst pipes or electrical issues. It’s worth it to invest a couple of hours researching local companies so that you’re good to go when something happens. And keep the list posted in the property in an easy-to-find spot in case something happens while renters are in the home.
If you have a septic tank and a well, make sure the holding tank is maintained regularly and have your well water tested at the same time.
Invest in secure windows and doors and keep any valuables out of the line of sight from windows. And when the property is unattended close the window treatments so people can’t see inside.
Consider investing in a home monitoring system that you can access remotely.
Consider a keyless entry system to make things easier in the case of an emergency, but also for ease of renters. With many smart locks you can have multiple pin codes, emergency overrides, and more to make your life as a landlord easier.
Every Spring and Fall make sure to perform general maintenance tasks in and around the property.
- Remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts.
- Pressure-wash wood siding to prevent mould.
- Check window and door sills for leaks and caulk where necessary.
- Check the foundation.
- Inspect the condition of the roof.
- Trim trees around the property to make sure branches are at least 2ft away from the structure.
- Examine the septic system for flooding or unusual odour.
- Clean furnace ducts and filters
- Check the attic and basement for any signs of moisture
- Search the entire house for any signs of pests.
- Check out my Winter, Spring and Fall home maintenance tips for more info.
When it comes to vacation properties there are some special maintenance and safety issues that don’t come up with primary dwellings. What else would you add to this list?