Vacant property? Here’s a checklist…

Is your property vacant?

Owners of a vacant property often make a very simple but common mistake: they assume that they can just let the property sit and everything will be fine.  Our experience has taught us otherwise.  Vacant properties can often be sitting targets for theft and vandalism, and they are at much greater risk of falling into disrepair simply because they are unoccupied.

In this post we’d like to discuss a few tips that can help protect your property and maintain not only its physical condition, but also maintain its value.

Visit the property regularly

A weekly inspection is best, or maybe every two weeks at the least.  Walk the property and do a visual inspection looking for anything out of the ordinary, such as new water stains, broken windows, or signs of bug infestations.  Make sure that the heating and cooling systems are working properly.  Regular walk-thru inspections allow you to catch problems early on and prevent them from becoming big expensive problems down the road.

Winterize the property

If the property will be sitting vacant during the winter months it’s a good idea to have a licensed plumber inspect the home and make sure the water lines are properly winterized in order to avoid a burst line during a hard freeze.

Maintain the yard

Mow the grass regularly.  Nothing says “I’m vacant” louder than a yard with knee-high grass.  Rake leaves, dirt and debris away from the foundation to prevent water or bug intrusion.

Maintain the exterior

Be sure to check all gutters and downspouts and clean them if necessary.  Sweep any leaves and debris off of the roof to prevent rot.  Hire a tree service to remove any dead trees near the house or any large tree limbs that are overhanging the roof and could potentially cause damage.

Secure the property

Make sure door locks work and verify that the windows are latched and secured as well.  Consider installing motion sensor security lighting around the exterior perimeter of the house.  Contact your electric utility provider and ask them if they can install a pole security light to light the yard.

Check the mail

An open mailbox stuffed full of mail or a large pile of newspapers at the front door is another dead-giveaway that a property is vacant.  Be sure to check the mail regularly, or consider having the mail forwarded to another address you check regularly.

Make friends on the street

Get friendly with the neighbors.  They are often willing to watch for and report any suspicious activity on neighborhood property.

Notify your insurer

It is super important that you notify your insurer that the property is vacant.  A typical homeowner’s policy does not cover losses that occur while the property is vacant.  Failure to update your policy could result in disputed or denied claims.

We hope that these tips have been helpful and have provided you with some food for thought.  We know that you have needs and our goal is to provide you with solutions to those needs.  We put forth our best effort to be a useful option and present you with helpful solutions to your needs.  If you’ve considered your options and you think selling makes sense for you, we are here to help.

Our motto is simple: we believe that if we can’t provide a solution that works for you, then we can’t buy your house.  It’s as simple as that.

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