There are a number of general things to do in preparation for “flying north.” Make sure to update your emergency contact information with your Home Owners or Community Association including giving them the name of your emergency key holder and who has a key. If available, sign up for any Vacation Watch programs your community offers. Some police departments have vacation check programs. Notify them, and generally they will do a routine check of the house. While some will only drive by and look for suspicious activity, some will get out of their vehicles and inspect the grounds looking for any break-ins. If contact information is left with the police, they can phone the homeowners if there has been a break-in or disturbance.
Arrange for services such as landscaping, pest control and pool services if needed. Contact your internet provider and cable company to stop service or start vacation hold. Arrange for mail forwarding and newspaper stop. Ask a neighbor to pick up stray newspapers, flyers, packages etc. and make sure that neighbor has your contact information and a key. Ask the neighbor to park in your driveway occasionally to make the home looks occupied. Consider using a professional home watch company to care for your home.
If you have never done so, take photographs or videos of all your expensive items. If needed this would be helpful for both the police and the insurance agency to identify the stolen goods. Store valuables in a place that a burglar could not access. (i.e., take jewelry to a safe-deposit box, lock computers in closets, hide keys to extra cars, etc.) Be sure to remove all valuables from sight.
In the kitchen remove food from the house to discourage pests. Store staples such as sugar or flour in sealed metal, glass or thick plastic containers. The best refrigerator solution is to turn it off, empty it and prop open the doors. The next best solution is to empty out items which will spoil and add items like bottles of water, etc. to help retain the cold and help the unit use less energy. Don’t forget to turn off the ice maker and place a box of baking soda in the refrigerator to absorb odors.
Regarding other appliances, put 2-3 tbsp. of vegetable oil in the dishwasher to keep the seals moist. Do not latch the door. Also put 2-3 tbsp. of vegetable oil in the garbage disposal to help keep it from locking up. Remember to unplug other appliances throughout the house.
With telephones turn off the ringers so thieves can’t hear if no one is answering the phone. Don’t leave a message on the answering machine that tells callers you’re out-of-town. Instead, say you’re away from the phone and you’ll get back to them.
To help add moisture for the furniture place several 5 gallon buckets of water around the house. Close blinds. If using timers, leave the blinds open slightly to let light shine out so the home looks occupied. … Read More