ust like any other home, your vacation home still requires significant maintenance over time. There are ways to keep your vacation paradise in good condition, even if you’re not there all year to check on it.
Hire a Property Caretaker or Manager
A good or manager makes all the difference. These services can be pricey, but they give you peace of mind. If you live in a planned vacation community, such services are likely part of your association fees. Otherwise, find a caretaker with good references who is a longtime area resident.
Any caretaker should visit the home at least every two weeks to make sure there’s no damage. They should check faucets, toilets, heating and the like. This person can handle lawn duties, clean-ups and minor repairs, but professionals are needed for emergencies.
Install Keyless Entry
Consider installing a keyless entry system to your vacation home. This allows repairmen to enter in case of an emergency, or cleaning people to make the place spic and span before your arrival. Painters can come in the off-season to freshen the home’s look. Keyless entry also allows HVAC personnel to enter if you want the furnace tuned up just prior to winter, or the air conditioning inspected before your summer vacation.
Check on Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
You want to ensure your air conditioning works in the hottest days of summer and that you can rely on heat in the midst of winter. Your HVAC contract should include an annual inspection and maintenance agreement. Get a report on your unit’s condition when the inspection is completed, so major repairs or replacements can be completed before you use the home.
Research Local Repair Services
Keep a list of local repair services—plumbers, electricians, septic providers—on hand. Ask locals or other vacation homeowners for recommendations. If your community has a Facebook page, join it so you can get information about the best home technicians available.
Master Opening and Closing
If you don’t have a property manager or caretaker, each season becomes your obligation. These are also occasions to inspect the property carefully and note any necessary repairs or items requiring replacement. When opening the home, take a good look at all water fixtures for evidence of leaks. Check for signs of termites or other infestations. Opening day is the best time to replace your smoke detector batteries and filters in the furnace.
Here’s a basic checklist for closing your home at the end of the season:
- Take in outdoor furniture and other items you don’t want to be left out
- Shut off and unplug appliances and electronics
- Set your furnace at the proper temperature
- Make sure all windows and doors are closed and locked
- Turn on your alarm system
Whether it’s a cottage in Muskoka or a cabin on one of the Gulf Islands, your vacation home should run like a well-oiled machine. After all, a vacation home should be a site with as few worries and as little stress as possible.