Vacation Home Maintenance & Security: How to Care For Your Second Home

Posted by Dave Kotler on Tuesday, November 29th, 2022 at 3:26pm.

How to Maintain Your Vacation Home From Afar

Vacation homes can be an excellent investment for those who plan to rent them out and those who intend to keep them unoccupied. Having a dedicated place like a condo to visit each year is a delightful benefit, especially if the home provides a unique surrounding to the primary residence. However, managing a vacation home from a distance is not as easy, but it can be manageable. With the following tips, owners will know what to do to maintain their vacation homes when they aren't there.

Install a Security System

Home security is a factor of the structure itself, and there are security systems homeowners can install. People can tailor their options to their goals when choosing a home security system. Common systems include:

  • Doorbell cameras that record who enters the property
  • Motion-sensor lights that turn on automatically with movement
  • Cameras in the home interior or backyard
  • Alarms that alert local authorities of a break-in
  • Smart home access from a remote location

Those who do not plan to visit the vacation home very often may want to choose a system they can view or maintain from a distance or ask their property manager for recommendations. Before selecting a security system, homeowners may wish to inspect the home and look for ways the structure promotes uninvited access, such as an unlocked gate or a door that will not stay closed.

Hire a Property Manager

Hiring a property manager is an integral part of the maintenance process for many vacation homeowners who can enter the property to perform regular maintenance. Their services range from occasional basic upkeep to ensure the property is not falling into disrepair to full-service options that attend to everything. The type of service homeowners need depends on their budget and how much work they are willing to do themselves.

Every property management business offers different services, so those who hire a property manager may need to research multiple companies. The right fit for the job will have many qualities, including:

  • Good reviews for vacation home services
  • Proximity to the vacation home
  • Providing most services the homeowner needs

For services the property manager does not offer, they may be willing to recommend partners in the area.

Use Smart Technology

How Using Smart Tech Can Help Maintain Properties

Smart home automation has made managing a property remotely much easier than it used to be. These days, homeowners can use their phones to check the security or ambient temperature of a home that is hundreds of kilometres away. Depending on the technology, they may also change settings from a distance. Smart home automation applies to various devices and systems, including:

  • HVAC
  • Lighting
  • Security
  • Landscape watering systems

Smart home improvements allow homeowners to create settings to turn lights on and off for security or adjust the heating or cooling to protect the structure. Some smart systems depend on local authorities, such as electricity or water usage. Signing up for online management can help alert homeowners to a burst pipe or other problem so that they can arrange for prompt attention and repairs.

Get to Know the Neighbours

Most vacation homes have neighbouring properties, and it makes sense to get to know the people living there. Neighbours who live in their homes full-time may be able to provide an extra layer of security in addition to alerting property owners to a fallen tree or unexpected visitor. This advance notice could make it easier for owners to minimize long-term damage to the home.

After buying a vacation property, homeowners may want to get to know the neighbours on either side of the home. The goal should be to build a long-lasting friendship that can benefit all parties. While exchanging contact information is ideal, it is essential to gauge the neighbour's interest before assigning tasks. Neighbours may respond more warmly if they get something out of the arrangement.

Be Proactive in Solving Problems

Even if homeowners only spend a couple of weeks a year at the vacation home, they must be proactive about problems. Members of the household might want to spend all their time relaxing as part of a vacation, but it can lead them to overlook or ignore growing issues with the property. Even problems that would be easy for a homeowner to fix by themselves could become expensive and complicated to address from a distance.

Instead, homeowners should set aside time to inspect the home and look for signs of trouble coming. These include:

  • Testing out systems like plumbing, electrical, or HVAC
  • Checking the home's exterior for foundation issues or damage to the siding
  • Looking for signs of pests
  • Replacing batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Homeowners may want to set aside a few days each year to attend to these concerns.

Make a Plan to Care for Your Vacation Home

Owning a vacation home provides excellent opportunities for relaxing in a beautiful setting but also takes work while the homeowner is away.The best approach to maintaining a vacation home depends on the property, but most people will need to employ more than one tactic. A few options can ease the challenge, like installing smart home technology or asking the neighbours to keep an eye out. Otherwise, property managers may best serve property owners by providing top-level maintenance and service.

Dave Kotler

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