Owning a charming second home to escape to and make lifelong memories is a dream for many. But unlike your primary residence, second homes sit vacant for weeks or months at a time. That makes diligent seasonal maintenance crucial to ensure your home away from home is always in tip-top shape and ready for your arrival.
Don't let poor upkeep turn your treasured getaway into a headache! Use these tips to properly prep your second home for the seasons when you plan to bask in its comfort.
Understand the Importance of Seasonal Care
A second home that goes unused for an entire season or longer needs extra attention to maintain its condition and prevent problematic damages. Without proper winterization, cold months can wreak havoc on plumbing and structure. Without routine maintenance when unoccupied, issues like leaks, vandalism, weather damage, and pest infestations can arise.
When not living there full-time, it's easy to forget about your second home's needs between visits. But preventative seasonal care is crucial to avoid expensive emergencies and ensure your home is fully functional when you want to enjoy it. Make seasonal prep a priority to protect your investment and prevent headaches.
Plan Maintenance Tasks Based on Your Usage
To keep your second home in flawless shape, your maintenance plan should align with the seasons you inhabit it. For summer-focused usage, focus maintenance in spring on opening up the home and preparing it for the months ahead. For winter enthusiasts, concentrate on prep in fall to button up your retreat for cold weather and non-use.
If you split time evenly between seasons, plan diligent maintenance both in spring and fall. When unoccupied in either season, take steps to winterize and protect your investment. Tailor tasks like deep cleaning, supply checks, landscaping care, and storage to prep specifically for the months you'll be absent.
Follow Proper Winterization Procedures
The number one rule when your second home sits vacant for winter is to thoroughly winterize it. This includes draining plumbing pipes, shutting off water supply lines, closing fireplace flues, and disconnecting any systems that could be affected by hard freezes and power surges when unoccupied.
Insulate water pipes, seal any air leaks around doors and windows, repair exterior issues, and add heat tape to vulnerable plumbing. Hire a trusted professional if you need help fully winterizing your second home's systems. Don't forget to service the HVAC system, stock firewood if needed, and remove outdoor furniture cushions and decor.
Stay on Top of Maintenance When You're Away
When gone for weeks or months, it's hard to keep up with routine maintenance from afar. That's why it's critical to have a plan to monitor and care for your unoccupied home. Hire local professionals you trust to handle lawn care, snow removal, gutter cleaning, and general handyman repairs.
Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to watch for anything amiss and collect mail. Consider installing smart home technology that you can control remotely, like security cameras, automated lighting, and a WiFi-enabled thermostat. Schedule regular drive-bys from your property manager to inspect the home closely whenever possible.
Prep Your Second Home Before Each Visit
Nothing ruins the start of a relaxing visit more than an unprepared home. Before each trip, do a deep clean, check food and home supplies, wash linens, and unpack the seasonal clothes and recreational gear you'll need. Perform maintenance tasks like lawn care, pest control, and exterior cleaning that may have been missed.
If arriving in warmer months, bring summer apparel, outdoor equipment, and pool toys. For winter stays, pack coats, boots, gloves, and cold-weather accessories. Taking time to ensure your second home is orderly and has fresh provisions makes each visit more enjoyable.
Protect Your Significant Investment
Second homes represent a substantial financial investment. Protect this asset and your peace of mind through diligent seasonal maintenance care. Prevent frozen pipes, flooded basements, electrical issues, and wood decay with smart winterization and routine upkeep.
Well-maintained second homes hold their value and can even increase in worth. Don't let poor planning make your beloved getaway a financial liability down the road. Consistent maintenance protects your investment so your second home can be enjoyed for years.
With mindful planning tailored to your personal usage, your fabulous second home can be a joy for generations rather than a liability. Use these seasonal maintenance tips to winterize properly, manage care from afar, prepare meticulously for visits, and protect your real estate investment. Don't let anything spoil the bliss of your home away from home! With diligent prep, it will always welcome you with open arms.