How Do You Take Care of Your Vacant Home When Travelling? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 11-09-2017, 09:54 PM   #1
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Puget Sound, WA
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How Do You Take Care of Your Vacant Home When Travelling?

We hope to spend more time travelling in the near term, perhaps spending months at a time on the road before returning. I am interested in hearing how people address taking care of the sticks and bricks when they are gone for an extended period of time.

- "Wag more, bark less." -
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Old 11-10-2017, 04:21 AM   #2
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my solution for this dliemma is to have a roommate. my house is a 4 bedroom huge thing left over from having 3 kids and a wife. now i'm a widower and all the kids are grown and gone. it is, however, paid for and all it costs me is taxes and insurance so i see no rational reason to get rid of it. so, this arrangement works great for me. i leave, he stays and there's always activity at the house plus i get a few bucks every month for rent (we both get a good deal on that). when i'm on the road it may be for several months (or more). i pay household bills online so that nagging nuisance is easily taken care of while roaming. i realize that my solution won't work well for a lot of folks, but, perhaps you could consider a "house sitter" (someone you know and trust). i know that i feel a whole lot better knowing there's someone there that can let me know if anything goes bad.


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Old 11-10-2017, 05:38 AM   #3
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Number one thing I do, is turn off the water main.
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Old 11-10-2017, 06:19 AM   #4
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We turn off the gas, the water pump, set a light on a timer, and hope for the best. We have been broken into once. Kids. They broke a basement window. Nothing missing. Since then I've added a few game cameras.

My mother had an alarm system with ADT. It was connected through the phone line. When she passed, one of the first things I did was shut off the phone. I was unaware of the alarm until the bill came 3 months later. I thought she had discontinued it when she got a full time caregiver. I've got to wonder how they monitored the alarm with the phone disconnected, esp perhaps?
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Old 11-10-2017, 07:30 AM   #5
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dealing with leaving

we have lived in the same house for 41 years. we live out in the country on a dead end road every time we leave we wonder what we will have left when we get back. we have been gone as long as 6 weeks at a time!

we read in the paper breakins close to us but to date never a breakin and never anything missing when we get back. We do shut off the water at the meter we have a 400f run to our house and you just never know when a water line will break.

I guess just leave and say a prayer someone will watch over you!!

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Old 11-10-2017, 07:41 AM   #6
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You have someone like me house sit I've house sat for people for anything from three weeks to an entire winter. The entire winter was for a retired couple who campground host at death valley every winter.

Seriously, it can be a scary thing, which is why I've had so many opportunities to house sit over the last couple years. Finding a reliable person to be a presence, and watch over things while you're gone is tough.

Family and friends and friends of family. Reach out and see if there's someone they know who's in a situation where having a house to stay in would be helpful.

Not everyone knows someone, but I think through the social network (not that one), a lot of people know a reliable, honest person who could use a house, even if just because it's nicer than their house so they don't mind living in it for a while.
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Old 11-10-2017, 07:51 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Raz View Post
... I've got to wonder how they monitored the alarm with the phone disconnected, esp perhaps?
Yeah that is one bill I would not have paid myself. Any decent alarm system / monitoring company polls the system every so often and any phone disconnects are flagged and often treated as an active alarm. When I was a supervisor at the PD we would get a lot of "false" alarm calls and I had to train the officers to ask what zone was tripped or if it was a "trouble code" such as a cut phone line or dead back-up battery. If a disconnect was reported, they were to look for cut phone or cable lines. Sometimes we would find that the bad guys had cut the phone line and then go up the street to see if we responded. If we did not, they go back and break in knowing that it is likely that no alarm will be received. If we found cut phone lines, then if possible we might leave an officer on foot hiding in the area for awhile to see if someone came back (which was almost never possible because of manpower and workload). All that of course is predicated on the alarm company doing their part.

A cellular backup is a good option to combat intentional or unintentional telephone hard-line problems, but it adds quite a bit to the upfront and ongoing costs. Still, if the house was vacant for long periods I might consider it.
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Old 11-10-2017, 07:53 AM   #8
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There are remote cameras that you can view on your cell phone. A couple of years ago at Quartzite fellow Bigfoot owner Tom from California was showing me his. It showed a time lapse view of his cat going across his back yard.
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Old 11-10-2017, 08:07 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Kevin K View Post
Number one thing I do, is turn off the water main.
Ditto to this. I struggle with security concerns. We park our car in the driveway to make it look lived in, but then of course it doesn't move while we are gone for a month.

Next time we might go the house sitter route.
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Old 11-10-2017, 08:14 AM   #10
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We recently completed a 24 day road trip to Arizona and back (to Miami.) We arranged to have guests to to keep an eye on things and to take care of our cat. Our friend from Venezuela had family in town and they stayed for the first week or so, then some dear friends from Chicago came down and covered the rest.

Not easy to find guests during hurricane season, especially two weeks after Irma. Some of the hurricane shutters were still up, but we made sure the pool was in operating condition.
"...I keep blowin' down the road."
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Old 11-10-2017, 09:48 AM   #11
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As it has been mentioned 2 or 3 times, I might caution people about turning off the water main. This may be an option for some but not for others. If you have hot water heat which needs to be on when you are gone, do NOT turn off the water! All hot water systems have a fill valve which keeps the system pressurized and filled if/when water is called for in the heating system. If your system should lose or use water for any reason, without makeup water, the boiler or water heater could cook. And, while there are some safeguards from a catastrophic event, you could lose the ability for the system to circulate enough water to keep your home heated.

There may be other water systems that also need to stay pressurized to work. A fire-sprinkler system comes to mind.
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Old 11-10-2017, 10:03 AM   #12
Name: Peggy
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We hired a house sitter while we were gone for 3 months the last two years. It worked out well. This year my daughter has agreed to spend 4-5 nights per week staying at our house. It really gave us piece of mind that someone was there. We live in St. Louis City and we do have break ins in the neighborhood on an occasional basis. Our free standing garage was broken into a few years ago while we were home but never has anyone broken into the house. We also live directly across the street from a small neighborhood pharmacy and we let them know when we are leaving and when we will return, they are instructed to call the police if they see anyone moving furniture out of our place!
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Old 11-10-2017, 10:13 AM   #13
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All water and propane going into the house is turned off. The freeze proof water faucets outside left on in case of fire. Friend comes by every 2 days to feed cat. Friend will call if anything needs to be discussed.
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Old 11-10-2017, 10:14 AM   #14
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I adjust the thermostat to 55 for winter or 85 for summer, shut off the water, turn of breakers for nonessential functions, make sure security cameras are working, notify my good neighbors (give them my contact info), Remove the false bottom of the mailbox so the junk mail has a place to pile up, ask my daughter to empty the mailbox periodically, put lights and radio on a timer, make sure insurance premiums are paid then just before I leave I spray for bugs, lock the door and forget about it.

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