Articles & Alerts

Tips for Minding the House During a Summer Away

June 20, 2018

With summer here, many families are eagerly looking forward to packing their bags and heading to their vacation home for July and August. Yet to truly get away from the “rat-race” with a clear head, families will want to make sure they take proper care of their primary residence so that they do not find any unpleasant surprises awaiting them when they return from the summer break. Here are a few things to keep in mind before heading off.

Handle repairs before leaving: Well before heading away for the summer, families will want to do a thorough walk-through of their primary residence to make sure there aren’t any repairs that could lead to big problems if left unattended, such as leaky faucets and gas lines to the stove. Even the smallest of undetected leaks could lead to bigger issues such as mold and other damage.

Enlist caretakers to check in on the house: Urban families may only need to ask their building’s doorman and superintendent to keep an eye on things, whereas townhouse-dwelling or non-city families might need a more robust system to keep their house in order. Families may want to rely on one caretaker to check in on things periodically and manage any other workers, such as gardeners and handymen, who will be coming by. Make sure to update these professionals as to problem areas so that they can be most effective.

Invest in a security system: While many families already have a security system in place, it may be a good idea to invest in certain upgrades for longer periods away. Adding timers for lighting and other measures to make sure the house looks occupied and cameras to detect or capture unusual activity are considerations for additional protections during long times away.

Protect fine art and wine: Households with art and wine collections should take extra precautions to protect their assets. During the hot summer months, thermostat control is one measure that can be taken to ensure that the house remains at an optimal temperature and heat/humidity level to accommodate these types of assets. However, depending on how long the family will be away and how often caretakers will be visiting, families may want to consider alternative storage or protection for their most prized pieces during summer months.

Jewelry and Other Valuables: Consider moving high-end jewelry and other items to a safety deposit box and updating your insurance broker of such a move. This can provide double benefits of adding safety measures for the assets as well as potential savings on your annual insurance premiums.

Mail and other home deliveries: An overflowing mailbox can be an indication that a house is not being monitored, so it is important to have someone checking for and collecting mail during long periods away. Stopping newspapers and other mail subscriptions can help lessen the load. Also, make sure that any online orders that are placed while away are updated to reflect the new delivery address, and update any auto-deliveries or product subscriptions in advance to account for the vacation time.

Peace of mind is essential to enjoying an extended getaway, and making sure that a primary residence and other important matters are being monitored during a vacation can be an important step in the right direction. Including your “personal CFO” and other trusted advisors in your planning can allow them to help facilitate the progression of day-to-day activities in your absence. For more information or to discuss specific planning opportunities, contact your Anchin Relationship Partner or Jared Feldman, Anchin Private Client Co-Leader, at 212.840.3456 or [email protected].