Help Your Clients Get Ready for Summer Vacation

A summer vacation checklist for clients before they leave home on vacation.

Spring Into Summer

Spring is the perfect time to help your clients prepare for the lazy and often hot days of summer. 

As members of ASHI, we are committed to providing clear information to our clients. We want to help them understand the benefits of a home inspection and how their relationship with the home inspector, you, gives them objective knowledge. 

Spread the good word about home inspectors by sharing useful information. Whether your client is buying or selling, give them tips on how to prepare their home for a summer holiday. 

Vacation Home Preparation Checklist 

You make preparations for vacation, long before your leave. Make sure your home is safe and secure when you’re gone. This checklist will help your home take a vacation while you are away.

Just the way you make reservations early, start preparing your home before you leave. The checklist is arranged so you can go from planning to just-before-you-leave activities to put your home on vacation.

Find a House Watcher

Recruit someone to keep an eye on your home while you are away. Ask a neighbor or friend to check your home periodically. You’ll want your home looking cared for. Ask them to remove any pizza fliers or free newspapers from your doorway or front yard. 

Give them your phone number and tell them who will be checking your house while you are gone—gardener, pet sitter, indoor plant waterer. That way they won’t call the cops on your pet’s best friend while you are gone.

If you live in a complex, alert the manager of your vacation dates, so they can be an extra pair of eyes on your home. 

You may need assistance with special scheduled service, like taking in garbage and rubbish cans after they’ve been serviced. 

Arrange for Pet Care

Your pets need food, water, and attention while you are gone. Interview potential candidates at your home. See how they interact with your pets. Show them where to find all the supplies. Create a handout of your pet’s daily schedule. Include your phone number, and where you will be staying.

Many in-home pet care services will also water indoor plants and collect mail. 

Dog owners may choose at-home boarding through a service like Wag or Rover. Be sure to visit the place where your dog will stay and watch the pet care person interact with the animals that are there in their care.

Pay Bills

Most services allow online billing, so it seems as though it would be easy to pay a bill while you are on vacation. It’s vacation. You can be distracted and forget to pay. You don’t want basic services like gas, electricity, or water to shut off while you are gone. Make sure all your bills are up to date before you leave.

Check Your Home Alarm System

Make sure batteries are new or recharged. Depending on your alarm system, notify the company of the days you will be absent. 

Arrange for Your Mail 

Arrange with your house watcher or pet sitter to bring in the mail. Alternatively, put a hold on your mail delivery with USPS  to cover the dates of your vacation. It’s simple to schedule online

Time Your Lights

Lights on in the house prevent crime. Use simple plug-in timers or newer timers allow you to control lighting from your mobile phone. Again, remember you will be on vacation, perhaps in a different time zone, so set the timers before you leave.

Freeze Your Welcome Home Meal

There’s nothing worse than coming home jet-lagged to no food. Prepare a meal and freeze it, so all you need to do is heat it up when you come home hungry and tired. Better yet, prepare one dinner and one breakfast to give yourself some recovery time before you go food shopping. 

Make sure your favorite staples are in supply for your return. Whether it’s coffee or Red Vines, make sure they are on hand before you leave.

Manage Spare Keys

You may want to supply a key to pet and plant sitters, along with the watchful neighbor. If you keep a spare outside, make sure it is hidden well, or keep a spare in an obvious place like under the doormat or the potted plant by the door, move the key to someplace less obvious. If you use a fake rock, which is a good option, make sure the rock is hidden, too.

Yard Care

Plants need water to thrive. Unless you have xeriscape landscaping, you need to plan for water so your plants stay healthy, especially in the summer. Check sprinkler systems and make sure the timing device is working. Arrange for someone to water your plants and check sprinkler systems while you are away.

If you have a lawn, set the mower blades to low, and give it a good trim.  

Indoor Plants

Your indoor plants need water, too. Ask your home watcher or another neighbor to water while you are away. Many pet sitters also include plant watering. Just ask. Avoid confusion, give them a schedule and a walk-around of all the plants in your home.

Deep Clean

If you missed spring cleaning, give your home a deep clean before you go. Dust, scrub, vacuum, and clean the cracks. You’ll love coming home to a sparkling home.

Clear Perishables

Clear the refrigerator of leftovers and perishable food. Eat hearty and use them up. You’ll avoid rotten food moldering on the shelves when you return. Include your fridge in the deep clean. 

Seal Dry Goods

Use clips on bags or store dry foods in jars to keep air from getting that food stale. 

Clean Dishes and Tableware

Run the dishwasher to prevent food particles from caking to dishware and utensils during your absence. Hand wash fragile glassware and porcelain. Then it’s time to clean the kitchen sink.

Wash Bedding

Wash bedding and make the bed. You’ll love luxuriating in a clean bed when you return home.

Laundry Area Check

Make sure all laundry is dry. You don’t want to return to moldy clothes or linens. Wipe the washer dry, including the drum and gasket, to prevent mildew build-up.

Adjust Thermostat

If your home will be empty of pets and pet-sitters, adjust the thermostat to minimize energy consumption while you are gone. 

Unplug Electronics 

Unplugging electronics and small appliances not only reduces energy consumption but minimizes risk of electrical fires.

Clean Garbage Disposal

Get rid of any food particles that could become stagnant while you are away. Run the disposal. Throw in some ice cubes and lemon juice to clean the blades. Finish the cleaning, with the disposal turned off, by using vinegar and baking soda to clean the sides and the strainer.

Adjust Water Heater Setting

If no one will be in your house, like a pet sitter, adjust the water heater setting to low. Turning off the heater and water supply can cause damage to the water heater. Just set in to a low temperature.

Lock Windows, Pull Blinds

Lock all windows. It’s a simple burglary retardant. Pull down blinds or close curtains to keep people looking in to see an empty house. Ask your pet sitter or house watcher to open curtains while they are there and then close before you leave. This will prevent your home from appearing empty, just like the timed lights.

Check Your Garage for Creatures

Make sure no critters are in your garage before you lock up. You don’t want to trap your neighbor’s cat taking a nap. For that matter, you don’t want to cause havoc in your garage with a domestic or wild animal frantically trying to escape. 

Take Out Trash

Empty all the trash receptacles in your house. Make sure you remove the kitchen garbage under the sink. Schedule taking out receptacles and returning them with your house watcher or pet-sitter. Receptacles sitting out for days are a dead giveaway of an empty house.

Lock Up

Lock up. That’s it! You’re off to a relaxing getaway, knowing your home is secure and clean, ready to welcome you back on your return.

You Are The Resource

When you freely give extra information to your clients, you become a trusted resource. Create a handout with your qualifications and professional membership at the top, include the ASHI logo to signal you’re a professional. You’ll build trust and perceived value. Make yourself a star inspector.

Published in the American Society of Home Inspectors ASHI Reporter, June 2021 issue.


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