Prepare Your Home for Vacation

You know the old saying, “safe as houses,” but is your house safe while you’re off to an amazing destination? The last thing you’ll want to do while having fun is to worry needlessly.  Here are some important safety tips to keep your home in perfect working order while you and your family enjoy your vacation.

Don’t announce your trip – The check-in features of social media make it easier than ever to tell everyone about your exciting trip and what a great time you are having, not to mention make your friends envious by showing them pictures of your feet stretched out on the beach or the exciting adventures you are having.  However, this tells everyone that your home and possessions are unguarded, and social media is not as secure as you may think. Wait till you get back to share the joys of your vacation. Sign up online at to have your mail held and cancel all deliveries like the newspaper. Also, light your home like you’re there. The kitchen is usually a favorite spot for break-ins, and it often has no plug-in lights. Move a lamp into the kitchen and plug it into a timer that you can set from dusk to dawn. You’ll want to put on several lights in front, possibly the front door light as well (which will require an outdoor timer).

Eliminate Easy Access – According to statistics from the FBI, 61% of burglars use force to gain entry, but they’ll often look for open doors and windows first. Check that all door and window locks are working (including the second story), and repair any broken glass, particularly in basement windows. Bring in any hidden keys.  If you’re leaving your car at home, park it outside against the garage door to block access and make it look like someone’s home. Unplug the electric door opener (usually attached to the garage ceiling), so the door can’t be opened while you’re away.

Avoid An Unpleasant Return – Empty the dishwasher, then leave the dishwasher door open. That will allow the interior to dry, so it won’t smell musty by the time you get home.  Flush the toilet and leave the lid up to avoid stagnant water.  Set the air conditioner to 82 degrees and your house will stay cool enough to prevent both mold and mildew that can grow in just a few days. Unplug any small appliances and electronics that aren’t plugged into a surge protector (such as the toaster and coffeemaker) and turn all your surge protector switches to off to prevent a power surge from starting a fire.

Helen Oliveri is a 13-year real estate professional who loves our community: helping clients achieve their real estate goals is her priority.  She is the managing broker of the newly opened Keller Williams Realty Partners, home of The Helen Oliveri Team in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois, where she also resides. Feel free to visit the new office in Cherry Hill Plaza at 101 W. Gilmer Road or online at