It is the time of year when the good cheer of Christmas has worn off and it is beginning to feel like the cold temperatures will never improve. To avoid giving into the winter doldrums, many people begin planning their spring break or summer getaways. However, too often all the planning is put into crafting the most perfect escape, and too little thought is given on how to protect the home in Austin which you will be temporarily leaving behind. So, follow our tips to protect your slice of Austin real estate heaven, and make room for losing yourself in worriless vacation bliss instead of spending your trip fretting the small stuff.
6) Install A Home Security System
This can be done now, before your vacation plans are even written in stone, because it is a great burglar deterrent whether you are travelling or not. Once you are ready to leave your home, be sure to contact the alarm company to inform them of the date you are leaving and the date you are returning. You can give them a way to reach you while on vacation, or the contact information of a trusted neighbor or family member who can handle your affairs while you are travelling.
If you already have an alarm installed, but it hasn't been in use for a while, now is a good chance to get it tested to ensure it is fully functioning for when you are ready to take your well-deserved vacation.
5) Ask Yourself: "Who Can Read My Social Media?"
Unless you are completely comfortable with strangers knowing that your house will be empty for two weeks, avoid posting detailed vacation plans on your social media accounts. I know it's tough, the instinct is the share the excitement of our upcoming trips - but unless you are aware of how private your account is, and 100% trustful of all friends/followers/connections, then it would be best to refrain from broadcasting detailed travel plans.
4) Remove Your Spare Key
Get rid of that fake plastic rock, lift up that dirty door mat, move those flower pots on your back porch - wherever your spare key may be hidden, it does not need to be there while you are out of town. Without you in the house to notice somebody lurking around your front door, or in your backyard, thieves have plenty of time to discover your spare key hiding place. If somebody is going to try and violate your home, at least make it as hard a job as possible for them and don't provide them with a key to the door. Instead, give it to a trusted neighborhood in the event that somebody needs to get into the house.
3) Don't Let Your Mail Pile Up
Nothing says "I'm not home" like envelopes spilling from your mailbox or newspapers and flyers accumulating on your front porch. You can request the post office to hold all mail while you are away on vacation to avoid displaying to the world that you're not home. Remember, the post office doesn't handle the delivery of newspapers, so your local newspaper delivery company will have to be contacted as well. Alternatively, you can have a trusted friend or family member in charge of stopping by and picking up your mail and newspapers.
2) Don't Leave A Light On
It may seem like a good idea to leave a light on, in hopes of tricking the outside world into thinking that someone is home. However, this will actually show quite the opposite, and it's not very good on your electric bill. A bright light shining on from the dead of the night, through the bright afternoon hours is like a beacon to potential thieves - nobody leaves their lights on 24 hours while they are home. Instead, head to your local hardware store and pick up a light timer. These often cost less than $10 and can control when a light should turn on or off. That way you can program your lights to come on in the evening, and turn off in dead of the night.
1) Ask A Trusted Friend For Help
Someone you trust, whether a friend, family member or a neighbor, can help with more than just picking up mail, holding your spare key, or being a point of contact for the alarm company. Your friend can check-in on your home every once in a while to ensure nothing looks out of place, and that no unforeseen disasters (like an exploded pipe) have occurred since you've left for vacation. Furthermore, if you give them your itinerary and contact information then they can get in touch with you to reassure you that everything is a-ok while you're gone.
Hopefully our tips will help to make your vacation a more stress-free experience, and you can come back to your Austin home in the exact shape that you left it.