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What do you do to assure your home is ok while you're away...

What do you do to assure your home is ok while you're away...

Old Jan 3, 18, 2:49 am
  #1  
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What do you do to assure your home is ok while you're away...

This will be the first time in a while that we are going away for a few weeks and no one will be home. While we're not sure if we will have someone come in and check on the place we're wondering what condition we should leave the house in...

I read things like shut off the water, unplug the garage door and leave front curtains as is (open )...What does everyone else do...

We plan to set timers for some things but any other ideas...Thanks
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Old Jan 3, 18, 9:52 am
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Since we have cats we have a pet sitter come in every other day to check up on them, clean the litter boxes, and make sure they have water and food. She also brings in our mail and waters our house plants. Helps that we live in a gated community with a 24/7 guard and a roving patrol. We also do the normal stuff like stop the paper, run lights on timers, and tell the neighbors we’ll be gone. Short of having somebody live in the house while we're gone that’s about as good as it gets.
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Old Jan 3, 18, 10:57 am
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We used to have pet sitters stop by for the cats, with the frequency depending upon whether they were young and healthy, or older and frail (the cats, not the sitter!).
When one cat started needing fluids, we switched sitters, and had a vet tech, which was terrific.

Later, when we had no more warm fuzzies, we had a former housekeeper (from a bit of a distance) come in every other day or so, collect the mail and papers, and change a few lights inside.

But then we started traveling more often, and not just for short business trips (FINALLY ).
At that point, we decided to have that same former housekeeper "house sit" and live in.
She'd got the phone numbers of the plumber, landscaper, etc., and they know if she needs help, we'll pay for it later. Fortunately, that hasn't happened... yet.
(It's a very old house, so it's no doubt just a matter of time.)

I can't tell you how much better we feel knowing someone is "living here".
She's not required to "stay home", and she often does some pet sitting visits nearby, or other errands, but in general, the house is "occupied".
That helps in terms of security, but also knowing that IF there's a problem (frozen pipes, anyone??), it would hopefully be spotted sooner rather than much later.

But we already trusted her.
I'm not sure how I'd feel having a relative stranger start housesitting.
Yeah, actually I do. I'd be pretty uneasy at first.

GC
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Old Jan 3, 18, 11:29 am
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If you don't have pets and no security system, have a look at a system like Arlo. It'll send a push notification to your phone if it detects movement, records said movement, and also allows you to view live video at any time.

It's gone a long way to put my my mind at rest when I'm out the house. The system notified me of a live burglary once as well, although the police just missed him.
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Old Jan 3, 18, 1:15 pm
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Thanks for the responses. No pets for us. And only my sister is who i would really trust to come and check on things. But she is unreliable. So besides timing systems will also look into security systems...
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Old Jan 3, 18, 3:05 pm
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Look at the new security cameras for some additional peace of mind. Nest and canary are two options to look at.
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Old Jan 3, 18, 11:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Caribgrl View Post
This will be the first time in a while that we are going away for a few weeks and no one will be home. While we're not sure if we will have someone come in and check on the place we're wondering what condition we should leave the house in...

I read things like shut off the water, unplug the garage door and leave front curtains as is (open )...What does everyone else do...

We plan to set timers for some things but any other ideas...Thanks
you can check if your local pd offers a “vacation check” service, ours does and they do random patrols around the house. I use it when we leave for longer than a week or so.
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Old Jan 3, 18, 11:36 pm
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Was advised not to turn off the mains water (can't remember reason given but something about when it's turned back on), but we live in an apartment block.
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Old Jan 4, 18, 4:57 pm
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I always leave a car parked outside in the driveway. It's usually quickie hits during the day, so hopefully a visible car sends the message: "not everyone is at work or school today".

I always leave a radio on an on/off time near the front door, loud enough to be heard by anyone approaching the front door or....a "SHHH Baby sleeping" sign taped over the doorbell.
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Old Jan 4, 18, 6:04 pm
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I forgot to mention that before we had a live-in housesitter, we tried to make things as similar as possible when we were away, as when we were home.

That meant leaving a TV on in a bedroom all night, sometimes for a few nights in a row, regardless of whether we are home.
We also make a point of leaving different bathroom or hallway lights on all night, home or not.

Then, when our now-housesitter would make her stops here, she'd just change things around a bit, same as we would do if we were home.

We also made a point of sometimes leaving the paper out all day/overnight, or leaving some of the (junk) mail in the box overnight, even when we were home, like perhaps we were lazy or sick. (Yup, we can be lazy, even when not sick!)

We've always preferred NOT to "notify" folks such as post office, police, etc., that we'd be away. Loose lips, etc.

GC
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Old Jan 6, 18, 7:12 pm
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Not too worried about crime itself in my neighborhood. But I stop the newspaper, unplug most appliances, turn off the water in the winter, turn off the hot water heater, and turn down the thermostat in the winter. In the summer, I also place a bag of ice cubes in the freezer...a lot of thunderstorms and want to make sure the freezer does not thaw.
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Old Jan 7, 18, 6:29 pm
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I live in a condo with a gate at the entrance to complex and another gate to enter building so I don't worry too much about the appearance from the outside. Back when I lived in a house on the corner of two streets I was more worried about newspapers, flyers, etc. piling up.

I have a packing list which includes things to do in condo before I go away:


Toss fruit/vegetables from fridge

Toss garbage

Turn off hot water

Turn off Ice maker

Set nest cam

Set temperature

Move patio cushions inside

Close curtains (keep out heat)

Leave car keys and driver’s license (if I won't be driving, no reason to risk losing them)
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Old Jan 8, 18, 9:15 am
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I live on a cul-de-sac with a paranoid retired ATF agent who monitors all activity night and day, so I'm in good shape crime-wise

Unless you live in a high-crime area, I wouldn't worry about break-ins. So, prep your place to both save money on utilities and to protect against weather damage.

On the first thing, saving money, some have already been covered. In the winter, I set my heat at 50 degrees. I close all curtains, close and lock all windows and doors and turn off the water at the intake line in my basement. This is more to make sure that none of my toilet tanks run than worried about lines freezing. I don't turn off appliances.

As far as weather, just assume that there will be a snow storm while you're gone in the winter or a thunderstorm if not. Bring in patio furniture, stuff on the deck, trash and recycling bins, stuff like that. You don't want to come home to find that your trashcan got blown down the street 2 weeks earlier.
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Old Jan 9, 18, 4:00 am
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In my experience, it's a good idea to keep the main water turned off. Make sure all your valuables (jewelry, documents, etc) are locked away someplace safe. A bank or someone you trust is a good idea. Whenever I travel, I make sure to inform my neighbors to keep an eye on my house. Of course, this won't work if your neighbors aren't the friendly kind. In that case, maybe you could ask a trusted friend to drive by once in a while to make sure nothing is out of place. Hope this helps. Have a safe and happy trip!
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Old Jan 9, 18, 6:38 am
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Good responses. Certainly will also do things such as being sure fridge and freezer are nearly empty, don't leave anything outside and stop the mail. And living in Upstate NY the weather should be calm in the Spring.

We know our neighbors in friendly hi/bye situations. And we are lucky to live in a quiet safe neighborhood.

I guess my main concern was making sure the house looks occupied. As well as the garage and water system. I may just go with my instincts of at least unplugging the garage...Thanks everyone!
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