Tis’ the season for homeowners to winterize their vacation rentals for the inevitable- winter is coming. Whether you choose to welcome guests or close your short-term rentals, the key to winterizing your vacation rental is thinking ahead! You can’t simply wait until it’s too late. As they say “prevention is the best medicine”.
And if you are worried about the hassles that come along with winterizing your property, rest assured this reference guide below will keep your vacation rental in tip-top shape upon returning next year! So let’s take a deep dive into:
What is Winterizing?
Why is Winterizing your vacation rental important?
What to consider when winterizing your vacation rental?
What are the options for winterizing your vacation rental?
The winter season can create unexpected risks to your property especially to anyone who’s had to maintain the upkeep of the real estate. Whether it is a frozen pipe bursting or a mouse infestation, the key is to think ahead and take early preventive measures for your property. Winterizing comes in handy in the long run, saving you time and money.
Winterizing is defined as “making something able to fight back against the effects of the cold winter weather”. And before the cold winter reaches, the key in winterizing is thinking ahead of time, making it easier for you to take early steps to winterize your properties.
Think of winterizing your home as insurance! If you do it the right way, it would be less likely to regret if something goes crooked mid-winter. With that said, winter-proofing your property prevents you from any winter-related damage. Furthermore, winterizing your vacation rental helps improve your home’s efficiency.
On top of that, it gives your vacation rental the chance to be free of allergens, dirt, and grime making it clean and fresh upon returning. Never forgetting, giving your home a deep clean also improves the air quality, and last but not least, changing your vacation rental purifier filter prevents molds infesting, dust, and allergens from settling while being away.
Vacation rentals that sit on highly tourist destinations are normally targeted by thieves especially in the off-season a.k.a winter month, making it easy for them to steal anything valuable inside. With that said, properly securing your vacation rental should be your top priority to prevent fraud and burglary from unwelcome guests.
This can be done by simply implementing a number of smart gadgets such as smart locks, smart lights, or even motion-activated cameras with the convenience of using your phone or a laptop while keeping your vacation rental safe than ever. At the same time, prevent posting your whereabouts on social media as this can be used as an advantage of knowing when the property is unoccupied.
During the winter months, if your vacation rental is not bringing in any profits, consider cutting down costs as much as possible. This can be done by saving your monthly utilities though take note, it’s not possible to eliminate all costs completely.
Here are some considerations to take into account:
Do not turn off the heating but instead lower your thermostat at a lower temperature of around 50-degree Fahrenheit. Doing so will prevent the possibility of damaging your flooring, structure, and pipes if left too cold for too long.
Make sure to check for possible leaks as well as to turn off all taps around the house
Unplug all appliances and electronics. Though, before unplugging the refrigerator, make sure it's all cleaned out, and be sure to add towels to the base in case of melted water as well as baking soda to eliminate any smells from occurring.
Before leaving the vacation rental unoccupied and depending on the extent of the property, make sure to do a checklist. This can be done by doing numerous checks and inspections to remove possible problems that could occur during the winter. A few of these inspections include:
Carbon monoxide detectors
Exterior holes, cracks, or openings
Check for possible termite, pest, and rodents
Mold and asbestos check
Check insulations in any attics, basements, or crawl spaces. Doing so will help prevent freezing and burst pipes.
Take note, the extent of these inspections depends solely on your property as well as the needs of your vacation rental to provide sufficient guard for the upcoming winter season. If, for instance, you have a vacation rental below sea level, you might have to be more concerned about water damage but if it’s located in a forest or anywhere wooded areas, then a termite check should be prioritized.
If your vacation rental is unoccupied, do make sure to completely turn off the water supply though ensure that you do not turn off the water supply to your fire sprinkler system, if installed in your property.
Also, consider draining your pipes of all water by opening faucets and flushing your toilet to clear the water from the tank and bowl or the option to pour non-toxic antifreeze to prevent any remaining water from freezing.
At the same time, if you do not wish to go through all these, you could simply hire a licensed plumber to complete the steps and by confirming the pipes have been fully drained.
While winterizing your vacation rental, make sure to remove all trash to discourage “new residents” from moving in. More importantly, clean and inspect for openings that may allow animals from entering the premises.
Apart from the trash, consider removing anything that could be or anything that shouldn’t be sitting up throughout winter.
With the right marketing strategy and planning, off-season would not be scary as presumed. There are numerous ways to attract potential guests in helping increase the chances of reserving your vacation rental during the winter months like:
Marketing to skiers, digital nomads, and backpackers
Run discount offers and promotions
Advertise on social media platforms as well as your own website
Tie up with local businesses
Similar to security, you can find housesitter services you could opt to hire in looking after your vacation rental regularly ensuring that everything is in working order. Ideally, this is a good option if you aim at leaving your vacation rental unoccupied. Doing this saves the trouble of unwelcome guests from entering as well as attending to whatever needs of the property such as maintenance and so forth.
More than that, there are even people who are willing to trade housesitting for free accommodation found on local Facebook communities or groups though do make sure to know the person by interviewing them before exchanging your property for their services. Also, ensure that you are comfortable with this option and that the housesitter can be trusted.
Vacation property management allows you to earn an extra income during the winter month only by listing your property while helping ensure your vacation rental is taken care of. More importantly, this eliminates the stress of winterizing your vacation rental while earning an extra income- the best of both worlds.
For property managers living close by to the property, periodic checks on your property would be ideal especially when you do not want to open up your vacation rental to guests during the winter months. In any case, you live out-of-state, keep in contact with the nearby neighbors in case of unexpected events or visit at least once a month.