Seven Tips to Keep the 'Vacation' in Vacation Home by:Andrew Showell
Well, here you are, keys in hand, standing at the door of the brand new country home you have always dreamed about. You are envisioning family and friends on your porch, grilling and enjoying the quiet freedom of country property. The stars shine brighter, the air is cleaner, and the solitude of multiple acres affords you the happy calm you long for while enduring a cacophony of constant city noise.
What you may not have considered (or are avoiding considering) is the upkeep of your new home. Since most of us would rather spend money on some "toys" (read: recreational vehicles, horses, etc) for the new property than pay someone to come in and do maintenance, and letting that peculiar second cousin stay there in exchange for work defeats the relaxing environment you set out to cultivate, you will have to do some maintenance yourself. Here are some quick tips to keep maintenance from taking away too much from your full-time second home job: relaxation.
1.Run through a checklist before you leave the property, every time. This will cut down on frustrating trips back out to the property to turn off the air conditioning. Below is a sample list to get you started:
a.Turn off the power. If for some reason you don't want the power completely off, make sure to turn off the air conditioner and other energy-hogging electronics.
b.Close all the doors and gates. This may seem obvious, but people often find themselves leaving doors and gates open more when they have so much space to themselves, again, we don't want that second cousin moving in!
c.Is there a possibility of inclement weather or extreme temperatures? Take precautions with pipes, windows, and outbuildings.
d.Remove any perishable food items, make sure all trash is taken out, and all food preparation and eating implements are clean.
2.If you have a pool or any other permanently fixed recreational equipment, invest in a durable protective cover. This will keep down the wear and tear on said equipment and keep it running smoothly without additional maintenance for a longer time.
3.Keep in mind that additional acreage may require groundskeeping. While this is not true across the board with country homes, many have sprawling, massive lawns. If riding around on a big riding mower (with plenty of cup holders) is an appealing aspect of your new property, try the classifieds or checking the closest town for deals on riding mowers. These are easily repairable machines that are constantly being resold as people upgrade or move. If you prefer not to deal with the lawn, try checking with the previous owners of the house or neighbors to see what service they may use (or if they have a teenager looking for cash).
4.As you notice fixes that need to be completed, keep a list. This will keep you from falling into the trap of trying to get too much done as you enjoy your time at your property. It is further recommended that you take separate, shorter "maintenance trips" to your property occasionally to reduce the amount of time spent working while protecting the general atmosphere of unperturbed relaxation when using your home for pleasure.
5.Get someone who lives in the area to "check up" on your property and report back if there are any problems. This may cost a slight retainer fee if you aren't familiar with anyone in the area, but this is more than worth avoiding being surprised by anything when you arrive at your country home.
6.Some "quaint" items - such as all-wood fences - are great to look at but eat up time with lengthy repairs. Always consider additional upkeep when adding to or upgrading features of your country home
7.Some maintenance you simply can't or would prefer not to do yourself - septic tank work, roofing, stump removal, etc. For these jobs, it is important to schedule around your use of the home. Smelling a septic tank being pumped or listening to roof work during your spring vacation may result in trouble finding company to enjoy your new home.
Some of you would, I'm sure, rather pay someone to take care of all of these types of work for you. I recommend using an all-in-one service like http://www.secondhomecare.com. Many vacation areas have a few reliable options such as this, though it is highly recommended checking these companies' record of service with local business owners to avoid scams.
If you follow these quick tips and use common sense regarding length of time you will be gone from the property, you should be able to enjoy your property to its full potential instead of spending your hard-earned time at your great new home doing basic maintenance.
About the author
Writer for http://www.CountryHomesofAmerica.com and http://www.Landsofamerica.com