If you currently own two homes and they’re across the country from each other, it can be hard managing them both.
From taxes and insurance to home maintenance issues, it can be hard keeping up with what needs to be done and what has already been done!
If this is your situation, here are some tips that can help you manage both of your homes more easily and (hopefully) with fewer headaches!
1. Use checklists
Use detailed checklists of things that you need to do and things that are already done. This one thing will significantly improve your home management process.
Important details to include on your lists are:
- ⬥ Changing mail delivery – Minimize your mail by using online bill-pay and have any mail forwarded or have it kept on hold, depending on your situation.
- ⬥ Suspending services – use seasonal programs with your utility providers (if an option) to reduce your costs.
- ⬥ Turn off the water – shut off the main water inlet and drain the hot water heater to avoid any water damage.
- ⬥ Set indoor temperatures – This is easier to do if you install an electronic thermostat that’s controlled through an app on your phone.
- ⬥ Tell people you’ll be gone – Alert your neighbors and local law enforcement that you will be away for an extended time
- ⬥ Suspend subscriptions to newspapers and magazines
- ⬥ Keep copies of your medical records, emergency numbers, etc. with you wherever you’re staying
2. Install a security system
Even if you have someone you know and trust watching the house, installing a smart home system is a good idea.
Not only are those “watched by XYZ Security” signs in the yard a good deterrent to thieves, smart home security systems can detect high levels of water, mold or carbon monoxide build-up within the home.
This allows you to call a repairman or property manager to handle the problem while it’s less costly to repair.
3. Secure the home you’re leaving
You’ll need to secure the home you’re vacating and have a plan in place before you leave that will help you deal with any emergencies while you’re far away.
One option is to have a friend or family member stop by regularly and make sure the home is still secure and that there are no issues in the home.
Another alternative is to pay someone to house-sit while you’re gone, or stop by to check in on it while it’s empty.
Make sure that every item on your checklist has been done, or you could return to burst water pipes or pests who are running rampant throughout your home.
The sooner you find any issues the better, so it’s worth paying someone if you have to, to check in on the place while you’re gone.
4. Rent out your home
One option that might work for some homeowners is to turn their vacation home into a short-term rental home. This can help offset the costs of home ownership.
Short-term rentals work well for people who live in coastal or tourist hot spots such as Tahoe. Any reputable property manager can handle this option for you.
Alternatively, you can turn your second home into an Airbnb destination, however you may need to pay someone to be on site to play the part of host(s), so keep this in mind before signing up.
5. Check your insurance policies
Finally, check with your insurance company at both residences to make sure you’re covered if the home will be vacant for any length of time.
Many companies will exclude coverage for damages incurred while a home is vacant. Others, however, will insure during vacant periods, but only if you pay extra for an addendum to the policy.
It’s better to know up front, before you leave, that your insurance policy is in force and will remain so until you return.
For more tips on managing multiple homes, check out these blogs: