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Is it Smart to go on Vacation and Leave an Empty House?



Whenever you travel, you will have concerns about your vacant home. What if there is a break-in? What if the roof leaks? Who will mow the lawn? Leaving an unoccupied house while you go on holidays is asking for trouble. Whenever you travel, you will have concerns about your vacant home. What if there is a break-in? What if the roof leaks? Who will mow the lawn? Leaving an unoccupied house while you go on holidays is asking for trouble.

Potential intruders are constantly on the lookout for telltale signs such as:

• Unwatered and unmowed lawns
• Newspapers piling up at the front door
• Dark windows at night when there should be someone at home
• No vehicle parked in the driveway or garage
• Garbage bins that aren't put out on garbage day
• Postal carriers skipping your house because your mail is being held or redirected
• Someone ringing a doorbell - which subsequently goes unanswered

Potential prowlers will often be so bold as to ring the bell or knock on the door before they attempt a break-in. If the homeowner comes to the door, they will have a plausible cover story (they might say they are conducting a survey, for example). Remember: most criminals are inherently lazy and cautious. They will tend to avoid homes that pose a challenge. Do whatever you can to make your property 'challenging'. Installing a good security system is an excellent first step. But why take a chance? Go the extra step to protect your home from break-ins and homeowner disasters such as fires or water damage from a burst dishwasher hose.

Hire a housesitter.

An internet search for 'How can I find a housesitter?' will help you to locate housesitting services that match clients with housesitting providers. You can try other keywords and phrases as well: 'homesitting', 'house sitter', 'pet sitter', 'house watcher' (and other variations in spelling/phrasing). Many sites will allow you to post an online ad with your specific requirements. They may have an e-mail notification system that alerts you whenever a new housesitter registers in your geographical area. There is often no charge for the homeowner's ad. The site will usually charge potential house watchers a set weekly, monthly, or yearly fee to register. Sitters will help protect your home from intruders. They can also water your plants, care for pets, pay your bills, and answer your telephone while you are away.

Typical housesitters might be:

• A retired couple
• Someone who wants to see the world without paying a lot for hotels
• A university student - especially during summer holidays, spring break, etc.
• Someone who is doing renovations on a home and needs a temporary place to stay
• A new community resident

You pay housesitters an agreed-upon fee, and they perform specific duties. They also get free rent. Sometimes free rent is the only compensation provided for their services. They are usually responsible for their own groceries and telephone use. Make sure that all duties and restrictions are in writing to avoid misunderstandings at a later date. A few of the items that should be covered in a written agreement include:

• The maximum length of time that your house may be left unoccupied while the sitter runs errands or takes care of personal business
• Maximum number of guests permitted (if any)
• Standards for pet and plant care
• Procedures to follow in case of emergency or illness
• Standards for cleanliness and house/yard maintenance

If you are hiring a housesitter through a commercial service, make sure that the service does comprehensive security checks. If hiring someone on your own, ask your local police department what is involved in arranging for a security check. This article barely scratches the surface of the many details surrounding housesitting. Do some advance research - and enjoy a holiday without worrying about the home you have left behind!

(c) Copyright Kathy Steinemann: This article is free to publish only if this copyright notice, the byline, and the author's note below (with active links) are included.

About the Author:

Searching for a bed and breakfast, hotel, or hostel? Visit 111 Travel Directory. Trying to find some great travel tips? Surf over to 1000 Tips 4 Trips. Article source: 111 Travel Directory: Triple1.com (triple one dot com)

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