Unoccupied properties can deteriorate fast, making them a target for all sorts of problems. It’s important to make sure that empty homes and their yards are well cared for throughout the year. Some important services that should always be on the checklist to ensure a well-maintained REO property are:
- Repairing exterior damage such as broken windows and damage from vandalism
- Roof and gutter maintenance
- Boarding up homes as necessary
- Removing debris and trash from homes, including abandoned vehicles if needed
- Lawn care and pool maintenance
It is a good idea to ask for before-and-after photographs of any repairs and maintenance work, so you can have a visual record of the improvements made to your properties.
Winter presents special challenges for any home-especially unoccupied properties. No matter what climate you are in, it’s important to be prepared for the changing seasons. Here are some important steps that should be included in winterizing your properties:
- Water supply turned off at the meter
- All building water lines are drained
- Furnace thermostat set at consistent temperature
- Furnace filter is inspected and cleaned
- Ensure gutters and drain spouts are clean and functional
- If in a cold climate, marine-grade antifreeze should be poured in toilets. Toilets should then be labeled, and sealed in some way.
An unoccupied home can be an easy target for theft and vandalism. It’s important that your property is protected from these dangers. Critical steps for security included re-keying and replace existing locks. A lockbox can be installed if approved visitors, such as realtors, need access.
You can also consider installation of an electronic security system, and security yard and window signs for extra layers of deterrence and added peace of mind.
Humans are not the only ones who might take advantage of an empty space: animals can sense a void, and move right in. Steps should be taken to avoid any unwanted furry visitors.