Opening And Closing a Vacation Home

Real Estate Broker/Owner

sunsetDon't neglect to budget time and money for opening and closing a vacation home before the season starts and after it ends

A big reason for owning a vacation home is rest and relaxation, buy it's not all fun and games. Opening and closing a vacation home takes time and money. Plan to spend a day before the season starts to open your vacation home and another day at season's end to close it down.

Specific tasks, such as draining off pipes or turning on utilities, will depend on climate, as well as when and how the vacation home is used. A beach cottage has different requirements than a mountain cabin. If you don't live nearby or don't want to do the work yourself, be sure to budget for a property manager or local caretaker.

Closing a vacation home
Closing a vacation home takes about a day to complete. The emphasis should be on safeguarding your home against the elements as well as fire risks. Here are some common closing tasks:
*turn off nonessential utilities
*secure all windows and doors
*turn on alarm system
*close storm shutters
*dispose of trash and perishable foods
*adjust furnace settings for climate
*bring in outdoor furniture
*unplug appliances and electronics
*drain water lines to prevent freezing (in cold climates)
*request mail forwarding service

Opening a vacation home
A well maintained vacation home shouldn't take more than a day to get in shape for the season, assuming no major repairs are needed. Here are some typical opening chores:
*turn on utilities
*clean and stock kitchen and bathrooms
*look for evidence of plumbing and roof leaks
*cut lawn and trim shrubs/trees
*clear walkways and driveway
*set up outdoor furniture
*change light bulbs and smoke detector batteries
*replace furnace filters
*check for signs of pest infestation

Property manager vs caretaker
It's costly to hire a property management company to maintain your vacation home, including opening it and closing it. A less expensive alternative is hiring a local house cleaner or handyman to open and close your vacation home and keep an eye on the property during the off season.
references: houselogic, donna fuscaldo, national association of Realtors,


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Jason Channell
Diadem Property Inspections - Serving Southeast Michigan - Troy, MI
The House Sleuth

Good points. Like the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Shutting down correctly (especially blowing out the water lines) is a great way to protect the building and cut down on headaches when opening things back up in the spring.

Nov 24, 2010 04:29 PM #1
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Donald Horne

Team Success Listing LLC
Lake Orion to Lapeer, Your Local Realtor! Questions?

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