How to Keep Your Home Safe While You Are on Vacation

No one wants to worry about their home while on vacation. Here are some tips to help keep your house safe from burglars while you are enjoying your holiday.

Don’t Advertise

It’s only natural to want to share your vacation plans with others. But sharing them on social media is a bad idea. Once it’s out there, you have no control over where the information ends up. Your plans could end up in the hands of thieves. And they’ll know that they have lots of time to do a thorough job of clearing your home of all your valuables. Likewise, sharing photos and updates on social media isn’t a good idea either. I’ll admit, I was guilty of this. It’s hard to not share photos and exciting stories about the fun things you’re experiencing. But wait until you get home to share your vacation online.

Lock it Up

Lock up valuables and documents in an immobile safe, bank safety deposit box or leave them with a trusted friend or family member. For Example:

  • Tablets and Laptops
  • Important documents (Social Security Cards, birth certificates, spare credit cards, password lists, etc.)
  • Keys to your home, office, car, etc.
  • Expensive jewelry and electronic devices
  • Firearms and ammunition

A portable, fireproof safe is fine for protecting valuables from fire. But it won’t stop a thief from walking off with it. If you use portable safes, leave them with a friend/family member while you’re away.

Make Your Home Look Occupied

Put your mail and newspaper on hold or ask someone to pick them up for you. If you’re gone for more than a week, have someone mow your lawn in the summer. (If it’s winter, ask someone to shovel your driveway after a snowfall and leave footprints going to and from your door.) Don’t leave your garbage bins by the road. Ask someone to put them out and bring them in or skip it altogether.

Put a few indoor lights (in various rooms) on timers. Don’t use just one light; it’s a dead giveaway that you’re not home. And don’t have the lights all go on and off at the same time. Try to set them up so they switch on and off at the same times that you would switch them on/off when you are home.

Put outdoor lights on timers, too. Or hook them up with light sensors so they’ll go on at dusk and off at dawn.

Put your radio or TV on a timer so that there is noise in your home now and then. If you have a home phone, turn off the ringer so that thieves won’t hear your phone ring, and ring, and ring…

A silent air conditioner on a hot day is a good indicator that no one is home. Leave it on, but set it at a high temperature so that you won’t spend too much extra on electricity.

Whether or not to close the blinds/drapes has always been a topic of debate. On one hand, if they are all closed, it gives the appearance of being deserted. On the other hand, leaving them open allows burglars to look into your home to see if there’s anything worth stealing. One idea is to leave them closed part way. Or you could close the living room/family room curtains and leave the rest fully or partially open. Think about what you normally do with your blinds/drapes and plan accordingly. Remember, though, if you choose to leave them open, be sure to move any valuable items out of sight. If you have someone coming over to water your plants, etc., they could also open/close your blinds.

Ask Neighbors for Help

Some thieves like to use a ruse where they show up at a house in a work van acting like they’re supposed to be there. What they’re actually doing is stealing your stuff. Let trusted neighbors know that you will be out of town and ask them to keep an eye on your house and report any suspicious activity. And tell them that you will not be having any work done on the house while you’re away.

Notify Your Security Company

If you have a security system, notify the company that you will be away. Make sure you set the alarm properly before leaving.

Notify the Police

Some local police departments will provide extra patrols by your home if you notify them that you will be out of town. Check with yours.

Do You Rent?

Notify your apartment manager or landlord that you will be away and ask them to keep an eye on your apartment/home. Some landlords want you to let them know if you’ll be gone for more than a couple days. Some even put it in the lease. If you plan to have someone house sit or check in on your apartment, you may want to let your landlord know that, as well.

Garage and Cars

This is another subject that causes debate. Some say leaving a car outside gives the impression that someone is home. If you do leave a car in the driveway, take out any valuables and the garage door opener. Make sure the car is locked up.

Others say that it’s safer to put your cars in the garage with the windows closed and the doors locked. This protects your cars and also takes up space so thieves can’t park a van in your garage where they can remain unseen by neighbors while they clear out your home.

Leave your car keys with a friend or hide them carefully so, if your home does get invaded, the thieves won’t have easy access to your cars.

Unplug the power to your automatic garage door opener to keep thieves from opening it with a universal remote. Many garage door openers come with a manual release which consists of a rope with a handle on the end. Some burglars are adept at catching the handle with a coat hanger and disengaging it so they can open the door manually. If you have one of those, secure the handle up and out of site so the burglars won’t be able to see it. Lock your garage doors (most doors come with a manual locking device). Securely lock all exterior garage doors and windows.

Lock the House

Lock all exterior doors and windows. Check patio doors, balcony doors and skylights as well. Lock or secure all pet doors.

Don’t Hide Keys Outside

Don’t leave spare keys outside the house. Every thief knows the trick of keeping a spare key under the welcome mat, in a fake rock, etc. If you insist on hiding keys outside of the house, bring them in and hide them in a safe place or leave them with a friend while you are on vacation.

Catching a Ride?

If you take a taxi or shuttle to the airport, don’t discuss your travel plans in front of the driver. To be extra cautious, have the driver pick you up at a friend’s house or have a friend drive you.

Stay Safe…

7 Great Reasons to Buy a Hawaii Vacation Home

Have you ever considered buying a vacation home? If so, you might have thought of vacation spots close by where you could easily go for a long weekend or to spend the whole summer. And while this is not a bad idea, a much better idea is to buy a vacation home in Hawaii ! You are probably thinking that this is not an option because it would cost too much money, Hawaii is too far away, and other similar excuses. However, there are considerable benefits to buying a vacation home in Hawaii that you should consider because Hawaii is probably your number one destination for a vacation home if there were no other considerations like money. Consider the following tips and you will likely be clicking on links to Hawaii real estate so you can find your new vacation home!

Reason for Hawaii Vacation Home #1 Amazing Vacations

When you buy a vacation home in Hawaii you will have amazing vacations each and every time you visit the island. Additionally, there are many islands that make up Hawaii so you can explore on a regular basis and never have the same vacation twice. Not to mention the sun shines almost year round in Hawaii so you won’t be worried about rain affecting your vacation. Every time you head to Hawaii you will be sure to enjoy new experiences, meet new people, and truly enjoy the exotic islands.

Reason for Hawaii Vacation Home #2 Additional Income

Buying a vacation home in Hawaii probably seems like the best way to spend money as quick as possible rather than the best way to make additional income, but when you make an investment in a vacation home in Hawaii you really will have the ability to make a considerable income. The reason for this is you can simply rent your vacation home out when you are not using it. Hawaii is a year round vacation hot spot for individuals all around the world so finding interested parties to rent your home will not be difficult at all. Additionally, individuals pay high rates to rent a Hawaiian vacation home for their vacation and you will benefit significantly from this. All you need to do is list your Hawaiian vacation home with a variety of Hawaiian vacation rental sites and not only will you enjoy your Hawaiian vacation home, but you will be able to share it with others as well.

Reason for Hawaii Vacation Home #3 Vacation for Free

Not only will you be able to make an income from your Hawaiian vacation rental but the income you make will be more than sufficient to cover your monthly mortgage payment that is as long as you are diligent about renting the home out when it is not in use by you. As a result, you will be able to enjoy your vacation home in Hawaii whenever you want basically for free because the rental money will cover the major expense of this purchase.

Reason for Hawaii Vacation Home #4 Frequent Flyer Miles

You might be worried about the price of plane tickets and having to buy one each time you want to head to your Hawaiian home. However, the more you travel the more miles you receive and will be able to enjoy discounted and free tickets from time to time. This makes traveling to your vacation home easy and more affordable.

Reason for Hawaii Vacation Home # 5 Escape

When you have a vacation home in Hawaii you have an escape from your regular life and the day to day activities you must deal with. Even if you had a vacation home close by you would still not be escaping from your real life because of the very fact that it is so close by. In fact, many individuals who buy vacation homes near their permanent homes never really get away because they don’t have to plan to do so. With a vacation home in Hawaii you must plan your vacation and then you will certainly escape and enjoy all of the wonders of the islands.

Reason for Hawaii Vacation Home #6 Unbelievable Real Estate

When looking for vacation homes you will likely find high priced homes that are really nothing special. However, in Hawaii you will find amazing pieces of real estate that are reflective of the asking prices. Not to mention you can buy real estate right on the ocean if your heart desires, or else more inland. Regardless, with the islands all being surrounded by the beautiful Pacific no matter where you buy your Hawaii real estate you won’t be too far from the beach.

Reason for Hawaii Vacation Home #7 Sunsets

The sunsets alone are reason enough to choose to buy a Hawaii vacation home. Something about the setting of the sun in Hawaii makes you feel as if it is the only place on earth and it is so beautiful that your cares, worries, and stresses will all be forgotten during the majestic and colorful streaking of the sky as the sun is setting.

While these are some amazing reasons why you should buy a vacation home in Hawaii there are thousands more reasons just waiting for you to discover them on the islands. Go ahead and start looking at Hawaii real estate listings today and make an investment that will benefit you financially and vacationally as well!

Can A Log Cabin or Mountain Vacation Home Pay For Itself?

When the real estate market was thriving, vacation homes were a luxury that only those with expendable income could dream of owning. Today’s market sets a different tone for second homes with a country wide rise in affordable properties and some of the lowest interest rates in centuries. While second homes of years past may not have been able to pay for themselves, is it possible for today’s vacation home to pay for itself?

When vacation homes were more of a luxury and finding affordable log cabin foreclosures was like searching for lost treasure, the idea of renting out a property for a few weeks a year to counter expenses and taxes often left owners falling short. However the market is flooded with mountain homes for sale and log cabin foreclosures galore. The log cabins and mountain vacation properties available now have a greater chance of producing a positive cash flow if the buyer is diligent in making sure it does just that.

An affordable second home purchased at or below market value would need to be rented for at least 12 weeks out of the year to start paying for itself. This is about 3 months, and for mountain vacation rentals this works great for summer rental properties, but can work equally well for log cabins located in ski areas or attractive fall foliage areas which can extend their renting season beyond the 12 weeks of summer. With renting out a mountain vacation house you have to book the property early. Leave room in your rental price to offer a discount for booking the property for the next year to encourage return renters. It also pays to advertise your log cabin or mountain vacation home on the Internet where you are able to reach a wide audience for minimal expense.

A huge money saver and big step for making your mountain vacation home pay for itself is to leave the middleman out of the picture. Management companies suck upwards of 30% of your rental income into their pockets and not in yours. Handling rentals and maintenance isn’t that difficult, even from a distance. Consider a reasonable property manager instead of a property management company but check the references well as a bad property manager has the potential to hit your return on investment pretty hard. You should take the time to establish relationships with local services near your mountain vacation home and a simple calendar can make scheduling rentals a breeze.

Selecting the location of your mountain vacation home or log cabin will also play a big role in its’ ability to pay for itself. Obviously you will want to select a property in an area that people would want to rent. This usually means a resort area or an area with local attractions in addition to a beautiful mountain setting. Once you select an area to purchase a mountain vacation home, you are going to want to check to be sure the area does not have any fees for vacation-home-owners or costly permits for renting out the property for less than a month at a time. These fees would have an obvious negative effect on the bottom line of your investment and you would need to adjust your weekly rental rate accordingly.

If you have decided to take the plunge and are looking to purchase a mountain vacation home and have it pay for itself, here are the final questions that you need to ask yourself. Are you ready to invest a lot of time and research into costs, maintenance, taxes and more before buying anything? Are you willing to give up use of your great mountain vacation home during the peak renting seasons for at least the first three to five years? Are you willing to put in necessary work for unforeseen issues that arise with any property purchase? And finally, you need to be sure that you can cover the cost of the property should times get rough or you are unable to rent. If you can answer yes to all these things, you just might be ready to buy a log cabin or mountain vacation home that can pay for itself.

5 Tips To Help You Choose A Vacation Rental Home

Are you putting together a travel plan? Since there are so many options, it may hard for you to opt for a vacation rental home. In this article, we have given 5 tips to help you choose a vacation rental home with ease. Hope these tips will make your next trip just amazing.

1. Pay Attention To The Pictures

The importance of taking a look at the pictures of the home can’t be denied. In fact, you should review each picture with great attention. During your review, if you don’t find a lot of clear, well-lit, most recent pictures of house, just keep digging deeper. Keep in mind that a reputable rental property will offer a lot of brilliant photos.

Make sure you can find photos taken from different angles, such as the outside, the inside, and the street view, to name a few.

2. Consider The Amount of Space

Although square footage is important, this doesn’t tell the whole story about a house. For instance, if a house has high ceilings, the home will look spacious. On the other hand, low ceilings will make a house look confined. Make sure the place is not teaming with lots of unnecessary furniture. But it should have the required furniture. After all, you can’t take chairs and tables with you on your trip.

3. The Home Should Be Well-stocked

Before you go on a trip, make sure you don’t pack too much stuff. Actually, what you need to do is opt for a vacation rental home that is stocked with all the stuff that tourists usually need. The house should be able to meet your day-to-day household needs.

Apart from the sheets, extra pillows, towels, and the toilet paper, the place should also offer necessary kitchen stuff, such as serving trays, utensils, cups and plates, to name a few. Apart from this, make sure the place provides routinely used appliances, such as microwave, toaster, and office maker.

Reputable vacation rentals also keep their properties stocked with family-friendly stuff, such as magazines, books and board games. Some also provide video game consoles, yard games and foosball tables.

4. Family-Friendly Activities

You should look for a place that offers tons of fun activities in the neighborhood. It can be a museum or a zoo, for instance, where you can have fun with your family. If the fun activities are at a walking distance from the rental home, that is even better.

5. Customer Service

Lastly, it’s important that you search for a vacation rental that offers the top-notch customer service. In fact, the way they will deal with you even before you have chosen them will give you a better idea of their customer service. It will help you find out more about the type of house you are going to rent and the type of experience you will enjoy.

So, these are a few tips that will help you opt for the best vocational rental home for your next trip. By following the tips given in this article, you can make an informed decision.