With just a few more weeks left before kids go back to school, many residents in your community may be planning last-minute vacations. But as they prepare to escape the scorching Arizona temperatures, are they also getting their homes ready for that upcoming trip?
True, there’s enough to think about when going on vacation. That’s why we are providing these simple guidelines for your residents. Your HOA management company can also offer additional maintenance and safety tips that address the unique aspects of your community.
1. Ask a nearby friend or relative to keep an eye on your home.
Give this person a copy of your house key so he or she can check up on your home from time to time, especially after a storm. Provide a phone number where you can be reached, as well as a local emergency contact in case you aren’t available.
Your friend or family member may also be willing to take care of any pets you leave at home (so you don’t have to pay a pet sitter), as well as any houseplants. Additionally, he or she could put out trash cans, bring in mail or packages, and take care of other minor tasks. It’s great to have people you can count on when you’re away, so don’t forget to return the favor. Also, show your appreciation with a gift or souvenir from your trip.
2. Protect your property from heat and monsoon rains.
Both heat and heavy rain can damage your home and belongings. So before you go, put away outdoor furniture, make sure gutters are clean, and close your blinds to keep out the sun. Remove any containers where standing water can collect to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

Remember that the additional rain in the summer can also cause more weeds than usual. If you don’t already have a landscaping company maintaining your yard, you may want to consider hiring someone while you’re gone to avoid being cited by your HOA. Rely on referrals to ensure it is someone you can trust while your home is empty.
3. Give your home a lived-in look.
The last thing you need after a relaxing vacation is to come home and find that you’ve been burglarized. Make sure your home doesn’t appear empty by taking a few precautions: 
  • Use a timer on your lights and TV to make it seem that you are following your usual routine.
  • Stop your mail (if you aren’t having a friend collect it daily). You can ask the US Postal Service to put a temporary hold on your mail delivery by visiting www.usps.com.
  • If you have a house phone, turn down the ringer, and have your answering machine pick up calls after two rings.
  • Request that one of your neighbors leave a car in your driveway.
Be sure that you aren’t letting passersby know you will be leaving. If possible, load up your car from inside your garage. It’s also a good idea to tell your community manager that you will be away. If a lot of homes will be empty at the same time, notify the local police department. Remind household members not to broadcast your upcoming trip on social media. And save vacation updates and photos for when you return.
4. Be smart with electricity.
Lightning storms can affect computers and electrical appliances, so be sure to unplug laptops, printers, toasters, etc. Save energy by turning off unused devices, such as fans and lights. You might also want to turn off your hot water heater to keep it from starting unnecessarily. Set air conditioners to a higher temperature (unless you have pets at home).
A little foresight can go a long way toward peace of mind for your residents when they go on vacation. Learn more about how a professional community management company can add to your community’s sense of security. Contact FirstService Residential, Arizona’s leading community management company.
Tuesday July 19, 2016