How to maintain vacant properties

When buying a new home there may be occasions where the home becomes vacant for whatever reason. A relative living there passes away, moving an elderly parent into assisted living, or the property was rented out and the tenant has left or, as a ‘snowbird’, you may be traveling back and forth between your regular home and that condo in sunny Florida. 

Regardless of the reasons why a home is vacant, one thing is clear: any time you leave a property empty for a long period of time, you’re probably going to run into some problems. You can’t just leave a property abandoned for a long time and expect to come back to the way you left it; the natural elements, human behaviour as well as other factors can open up many potential risks to befall upon your vacant property.

With that in mind, here are some helpful suggestions on maintaining a vacant property. 

Check your plumbing: check the plumbing fixtures in your home for proper damage and leaks. Flush all the toilets, as this prevents noxious gasses from the sewer may enter inside your dry pipes. 

HVAC: you should replace your HVAC filters at least every 3 months, even if the house is empty. Changing the filters make your HVAC run better, will save you money and prolong the life of your appliances.

Electricity: Check to see if your alarms, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working; replace the batteries every 6 months, around the time when we do the clock changes for daylight savings periods. Turn your appliances on or off to check if they still function. 

Property and Exterior: if your property has a lawn, mow it and rake the leaves. If you have a driveway, make sure it’s regularly plowed free of snow on a regular basis and if you happen to be away from your property for extended periods, consider hiring someone for maintenance.

Inspect the roof for damages or leaks: A roof leak can do some serious damage to your home including the need for roof replacement, ceiling, wall and flooring repair. When you live in a home, you typically notice these issues before they become serious. But, if the house has been vacant all winter, especially if it was a snowy one, you will definitely want to check this.  Be sure to check the ceilings on the top floor, too. Clean any debris off the roof.

There are many other considerations to take into account when it comes to maintaining a vacant property to keep it in good quality for future habitation. You can consult one of our seasoned insurance professionals here at Pacific Insurance at 416-494-1268 for tips on how to do so.