Dec 22 | Posted by Barry Cohen

When it's time to hit the ski slopes for a week or the need to escape the Toronto chill strikes, there are some steps local homeowners must take before leaving on vacation. Steps may vary according to the length of your trip. A weeklong tropical reprieve is different from Toronto residents flying far south for several months. Adjust these tips based on the vacation timing and your home’s needs.

Take Care of Appliances

Check the temperature, or freeze alarms and forward alerts to the appropriate phone numbers. Before walking out the door, unplug and turn off all unnecessary electronic items. Turn down the heat to save on expenses while away. Just 4 degrees can make a big difference. Empty the refrigerator of perishable items and take out the trash so your home smells fresh and clean upon your return.

Vacation Security

Let someone know that you plan to be out of town so they can keep an eye on any suspicious activity at your property. Inform your security company of your impending trip and any authorized property caretakers. Avoid posting your trip on social media until after your return, as thieves use social posts to target homes of people they know are on vacation. Don’t hide keys under mats or in flowerpots. Place valuable jewelry in a safe deposit box or other secure location. Consider using light timers to make it appear that somebody is home. 

Short Vacation Tips

Have a friendly neighbour offer to check your mailbox and pick up any packages that may be delivered in your absence. Make sure all bills are paid that are due during the vacation. Make pet care arrangements and include their veterinarian contact information. Run all appliances the day before you leave and not departure morning. 

Extended Vacation Tips

Place your mail on hold or have it forwarded to your winter vacation address. An overstuffed mailbox is a billboard to thieves. The same with a yard that isn’t snow cleared on a regular basis. Make arrangements for snow removal. Use automated payments to avoid utility shut-offs and late fees. Disconnect automatic garage door openers and secure all doors, windows, and locks. Shut off water lines to appliances like washing machines and dishwashers to avoid accidental flooding. Schedule a caretaker to routinely check on the property to ensure all is in working order. 

Wherever you may go, the Barry Cohen Group wishes you an enjoyable winter vacation. Securing your home before you leave ensures peace of mind during your trip and a stress-free return.