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Vacant house disasters: problem checklist with how to solve them

By Sadiya Anjum

You put your house us for sale or rent and shift bases thousands of miles away. Without you around, maybe there are fewer buyers or tenants visiting the place and your property in the meanwhile is suffering. Vacant properties which are not taken care of can fall into disrepair, reducing the odds of someone actually buying or renting the place. Here are few common problems that can occur in vacant houses (the same hold for second or vacation homes):

Landscape gone awry: Overgrown trees, plants and shrubs and an un-mowed lawn is going to reduce curb appeal. If a 'for sale' sign is placed on the front, then people passing by will get the impression that the owner is trying to get rid of the property instead of selling it. If potential buyers or prospective tenants visit the property, they are not going to be flattered. The first impression is crucial while selling a home, so an unkempt lawn is surely going to ruin it. Other problems are also associated with badly maintained exteriors. Shrubs too close to the wall will retain moisture, ruin the walls and invite termites. Falling leaves and twigs will block the rain gutter. The landscape will also hide the house from view and will be potentially luring vandalism and theft. Hire someone to take care of the landscape on a weekly or monthly basis depending on the size of your property.


Vandalism and theft: Vacant homes are a treat for trouble makers. Since no one is actually present in the house twenty-four/seven, it is most likely that there will be break-ins. From thieves to vandals who may ruin the place or start a fire, all will be tempted. Take security measures like leaving the security alarm on or obtaining security from a reputed company. Least of all, get someone to check the house on a weekly basis and make sure that all doors and windows are locked.

Other species inside the house: Hopefully before you left, you had a cleaning service perform their magic on your house or you went through a thorough clean-up. Dogs or cats which may have left fleas behind will only breed and multiply in your absence. Apart from this, insects, squirrels, bats etc. may enter through any outlets like the chimney or an open ventilator. These will cause some serious problems to the walls and carpets leaving a huge time-consuming and expensive mess behind. For this you can cap the chimney temporarily and again make someone walk through the house on a weekly basis. A maintenance program and a quarterly exterior and interior insect treatment will take care of the bugs.

Plumbing disasters during Winter: If your house is located in a region which faces extreme conditions during winter, then the pipes will get severely damaged. If a frozen pipe bursts, you will have to spend a fortune cleaning up the mess the water in the house will create and fixing the pipe itself. Its best to have a plumber winterize the property. This means the water supply will be cut off, the pipes will be drained of water and an anti-freeze mixture will be introduced into the pipes and drains. If the property will be used occasionally, then the main water supply must be shut and the thermostat should be set to 55 degrees.

General maintenance: Other things like rotting wood, doors that don't work, leaking toilets, missing shingles etc. will kill the look of the house especially if it needs to be sold or rented out. Its best to have a maintenance company keep the house in a good state on a regular basis.

Taking appropriate steps to combat the above problems is essential. Hire someone like a property manager who will take those walks in your house on a weekly basis and also check on the gardener or the companies you hire who will take care of the various bug and maintenance problems. As long as these problems are kept in check, you will be able to find a tenant or buyer sooner than you expect.

Article Source: - Real Estate Listings Online

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