If you own your home, you’ll want to take a few precautions before leaving it. Since your assignment is likely longer than a week or two, there are steps you can take to keep your property safe while you’re away.
This might be the last thing you want to do, but coming home to a clean home is much better than walking into a surprise. You don’t need to deep clean everything, but it’s important to get rid of food in the refrigerator that will spoil, run the garbage disposal and empty all the garbage cans. Scrub out the sinks, vacuum the floors and add white vinegar to the toilets. Leave your washing machine and dishwasher cracked open so any standing water in the systems evaporates and you don’t return to a smelly home.
Before you leave, make sure the washer and dryer are empty and unplug all your electronics and appliances around the house. This will also help you save on your energy bill as well as lower the risk of an electrical fire. Routers, televisions, computers, and your toaster oven all drain electricity even when they’re not being used.
Another way to save is to program your thermostat. Many of the newer models can be programmed, and some of the smart ones can be adjusted even when you’re not home. If you’re traveling during the winter months, keep the cabinets open under the bathroom and kitchen sinks, so the pipes get warm air from the home when the temperature drops. Although this doesn’t affect your energy bill, shut your water off at the mainline running into your home, so if any pipes develop a leak or are frozen in the wintertime, you won’t walk into a mess when you return.
Use timers on a few lights strategically placed throughout the home that remain plugged in. You can use a smart device to help you control the lights remotely or place them on a timer that uses a rotating schedule while you’re away. This helps to simulate a presence in the home and detract burglars. Remember to put your mail and newspaper deliveries on hold. This helps to keep things from piling up and can be done online.
Check all the windows and doors and every other entry point into your home to be sure that they’re locked, and nothing has been left cracked. Using motion-activated sensors for an outdoor flood light since most burglars hate this and even animals can trigger the lighting making the home look lived-in. In the summertime, make sure the lawn stays trimmed, and in the winter, the snow is plowed. Consider hiring a house sitter or asking a trusted friend or neighbor to make periodic checks on the inside of your house.
Flush the toilets routinely so sewer gas doesn’t build up in the house if you have a septic tank, and mold doesn’t begin to grow even if you don’t. Leave a gallon of white vinegar next to the toilets so your sitter can put more in with each flush. They can also adjust the thermostat in your home just before the end of your trip and be sure there’s a little bit of food in the refrigerator, so you return to a comfortable home. Your house sitter can water the plants and ensure the exterior is also being cared for.
Whether you own your own home or rent, long-term travel assignments are possible and an adventure you’ll enjoy. Contact our professional recruiters who can help you find your next assignment and give you pointers on preparing your home for your absence and the fun things you can do in your new city away from home.