Vacation Time? Prep your home!

June 5th marked the last day of school for public school students in Greenbrier County. Many other schools in and around our area have finished up school as well. Which means…it’s summer break and time for VACATION! Many families make time to take a vacation during the summer months. But what if your home is for sale and you want to take a vacation? You’re faced with two kinds of challenges.

1. The house needs to be secure but not look like a fortress.
2. It needs to stay tidy even though no one is home maintaining it.

You deserve a getaway, so here are the simple things you can do to protect your home, not worry about it, and help it maintain that fluffed up look.


Keeping your home safe from troublemakers should be a primary concern. Some of these tips are obvious, but are still worth repeating.

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Look occupied. Stop the mail. Choose between having a neighbor save it for you, or notifying the postal service to hold it. 

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Photo by Binyamin Mellish on

Go bright. Put timers on lights.
You could use times that have irregular intervals or predictable ones.
If you use a weekly timer, you can vary the times from day to day for a more convincing illusion. A radio set to come on for an hour in the middle of the night can deter a troublemaker, too. If you have a security system that is programmed to tinker with your

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Some valuables are safer hiding in plain sight. Devices like this container are called “diversion safes.” You can buy or make them. 

Hide valuables. Thieves, should they find a way to get inside, know where people customarily store things of worth.
The first place they look for small valuables is the master closet. So, think outside the box, and consider places like your cleaning closet or laundry room, using containers that look ordinary and generic.
Hide prescription medicines, jewelry, cash, debit and credit cards, flash drives, and personal information like bank records, school notices, billing statements, and tax returns.

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Stay low. Don’t announce or post about your trip on social media until you are back home. Remember that the more people know about your absence, the greater the likelihood of a break-in.

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Maintain appearances. Make sure the exterior of your home doesn’t look neglected. Hire a lawn service (or neighborhood youngster) to mow the lawn, sweep the steps or driveway, service the pool, or do whatever else will give the appearance that your place is occupied. Someone should pick up deliveries at your door or circulars stuck in your  mailbox. Encourage neighbors to use your driveway or parking space while you’re gone.


An untended home can become a problem on its own. A water heater malfunctions.  A tree branch falls on the roof. A screen door blows open. A pipe bursts.

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Photo by Steve Johnson

Stay safe. Unplug unnecessary electric appliances, except the ones you put on timers. This could protect your home from an electrical fire or power surge. Pull the plug-in the big stuff, like TVs, but also for your toaster, your coffee maker, and other small appliances. Unplug any electric fragrance diffusers, too.

Grant access. Give your house or condo key to a neighbor or friend. Hopefully, this is the person who will water any houseplants and check to be sure things are as they should be.

Comfort counts. Remember that people can be touring your home with an eye to buying it. Set your temperature where it will be comfortable but not waste energy.

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Photo by Markus Spiske

Open curtains. Leave your window treatments open. People on vacation will often pull all draperies closed, but from the outside this isn’t the look of an occupied home. And from the inside, your home looks darker to prospective buyers.  Yes, people can look in, but you’ll have already hidden or removed things of value.

Tell some people. Make sure your real estate agent knows you’ll be away from home. Your agent may be the person you ask to do periodic checks of the home to be sure it’s up to snuff.

Find a caretaker. Consider having a housesitter live in your home while you vacation. This plan is especially helpful if you have pets that don’t like kennel boarding or staying with friends. A housesitter can maintain the perfect staged but lived-in appearance if you choose the right one.

Schedule check-ups. People on home tours sometimes sit on beds, leave closet doors open, turn on lights, and even use toilets. It should be the job of your listing agent, housesitter, or friend to periodically walk through and make sure nothing has been messed up or is malfunctioning.

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Stay connected. Although it’s nice to go totally offline when vacationing, you’ll need to be reachable when your home is listed. Questions could arise that only you can answer or problems pop up that only you can solve. When you are staged to sell, that sweet purchase offer might be emailed to you while you are relaxing on the beach!

Hope that you found some of these tips helpful! Have other ideas or tips? Reply with a comment!

As always,”One Call Does It All!”

Your #1 source for buying and selling real estate in the Greenbrier Valley!
Contact us for any questions or needs.

Greenbrier Real Estate Service
1047 Washington St. E.
Lewisburg, WV 24901

Gregory Allman, Broker

*Parts of article can be credited to DIY Home Staging


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