Winterizing Your Vacant House Can Save You Thousands Of Dollars!

Many people have found themselves in the position of moving into a new home before their previous home has sold.  While it’s not an ideal situation, it isn’t normally too much of a problem. However, if you find yourself in this position, in one of our typical Michigan “Winter-Wonderland” winters, it could be a potential catastrophe!

Here are a few tips for winterizing and keeping your vacant property safe and sound until it has sold.

  1. Address your pipes! It’s usually best to have a plumber come in and take care of the potential water damage areas of a home. He or she will ensure you don’t have water in your pipes, water heater, or hot tub. That way, if you’re going to leave the house unattended during the winter, at least you won’t have to heat the house to prevent the disaster that burst pipes can be!
  2. Before the snow flies – get your gutters cleaned! Gutters can’t do the very important job of channeling water away from your house if they’re not free of debris! If the water accumulates and we have a hard freeze, the gutters could expand to the point of damage to the gutter. Ice dams can also cause mold to grow in the roofline where you may not think to look for it; or worse, they could pull away from the house taking part of the roof, or siding with it!
  3. Make sure the house is “tight.” This means that you will have taken care of anything that is close or touching the house, which could lead to insects congregating and moving in to the house. It also means you’ll have closed up any unintentional points of entry like the dryer vent or the chimney. The last thing you want is for the neighborhood wildlife to take up residence in the home you’re trying to sell.
  4. Trim the trees that have “questionable” branches looming over the house. One good, heavy snowfall could cause a weak limb to break and collide with your empty house. (At which point anything you did to address #3 is a moot point) In Michigan, the weight of one good, heavy snowfall could cause even a strong branch to break. It’s wiser to remove any limbs that look like they could make a direct hit on the house if they fell.
  5. Get the gas turned off. Nothing ruins the market value of a home faster than having it eviscerated in a gas explosion!
  6. If you can’t make your home look “occupied” at least make it look as if someone is checking on it FREQUENTLY!
  7. Check on the house frequently if at all possible.