If you’ve got a long-awaited vacation on the horizon, your to-do list probably involves catching up on any work projects, setting out-of-office messages on your email, double-checking all your travel arrangements, and of course, packing—but what about taking care of your home while you’re away?
Unless you’ve got a house sitter, your home will be sitting empty while you’re out enjoying yourself. So how do you make sure that you’re keeping it safe and sound, so you don’t have to give it a second thought until you return home? Here are a few tips.
Get a home security system and/or camera
Home security systems have never been more affordable or easy to use, so it’s definitely worth it to purchase one before you go.
Many require nothing but a quick DIY install of adhesive sensors to your doors and windows, and can be monitored and accessed through an app on your phone. If something happens, you’ll know right away, and you can set or disarm the alarm as needed, wherever you may be in the world.
Let a neighbor know you’ll be out of town
Part of finding the best neighborhood for you when you’re house shopping is finding great neighbors. Living around people you know and trust makes everything easier—including going on vacation.
Before you leave, let a trusted neighbor know where you’ll be and for how long. If they’re aware of your plans, they’ll be more likely to notice anything strange—a car parked on the road outside your home, a window left open, etc.—and let you know right away. You may want to consider leaving a key with them as well.
Don’t forget your outdoor spaces
In 2020, plenty of homeowners decided to ramp up their outdoor space game, building outdoor kitchens, adding fancy grills, even putting in in-ground pools, according to the Top Agent Insights report from HomeLight.
While you may not have thought of keeping an eye on your outdoor space as much as the inside of your home, if you’ve gone to the trouble of building a beautiful outdoor oasis, you’ll want to take some precautions to protect it.
Installing a security camera is one good way to do so. You can also put up motion-sensitive lights outdoors—not only will these help protect your outdoor space, but they’ll also deter theft and trespassing.
Don’t advertise your absence on social media
Social media has made burglars’ jobs easier than ever, with so many happy vacationers eagerly posting pictures of themselves having fun—away from home.
Resist the urge to post those pictures until you return! By keeping a low profile, you’ll make it less easy for people with ill intent to know where you are and when you’ll return.
If you’re going to sell soon, consider asking someone to stay at your home
If you’re considering selling your home in the next few months—and with home value estimators turning out such great numbers in this hot real estate market, who isn’t?—you may want to ask a friend, family member, or professional house sitter to watch your home while you’re gone.
Selling a home is hard enough without having to deal with the logistical, emotional, and psychological impacts of a break-in or disaster like flood or fire. Having someone there will give you peace of mind and help ensure that your home is still in great shape once it’s time to list.