In 2014, more than 1.1 million vacation homes were sold in the United States — many of them here in Broward County. These are more vacation homes than any prior year since data collection began; 21% of all residential transactions in 2014 were the sale of vacation homes.
Although many of us dream of owning a vacation home, and in some circumstances it makes great sense financially and logically, it is never a decision that should be made lightly.
There are risks involved in owning vacation property, especially unattended vacation homes. These risks must be carefully considered and planned for if you decide to take the plunge and buy a beach house in Miami or elsewhere.
What are Some of the Risks?
The biggest risk for any unattended home is the risk of burglars. This risk is especially high for homes located in seasonal rental areas, like many parts of Florida. Burglars are much more likely to attempt a robbery in an area where there are no people around. You should always make sure the doors are locked and that access to your property through gates and windows is also secured.
It is imperative to install and activate an alarm system in an unoccupied vacation home. These are the types of obstructions that dissuade burglars from carrying out a robbery on your home. Obviously the main goal of a burglar is not to get caught, so the more safeguards you can put in place to deter a would-be thief from entering your home, the better protected you will be.
Another major issue with unattended vacation homes are maintenance issues. A simple leaky pipe or a small electrical fire can have dire consequences for homeowners who are not present.
This is especially true in this area of Florida, because we are prone to hurricanes and serious tropical weather. From the smallest issue to major disasters, if you are not present at the scene, the initial issue will be worsened with the passage of time. The good news is, there are some ways to deal with these issues.
If your vacation home is in an area with year-round residents, you can always ask a friendly neighbor (or a friend you can trust) to keep an eye on your home and periodically check it for you. This can help you spot issues right at their inception, sparing you the cumulative damage caused by the passage of time.
It is important for whomever you have looking out for your property in your absence to have your contact information, along with the closest neighbors to your property, so they can alert you if they see anybody suspicious on your property or if they see any external threats of which you should be aware.
You should also ask somebody to pick up your mail and any packages periodically, so that it does not send a signal that the home is empty. If you cannot find an actual person to help you with these tasks, you could also look into hiring a property management company.
Little things can make a big difference. You should always leave a light on in the house when you are not in it. Leave the light on over your stove or oven, since the kitchen is the most popular room in the house. You can also program your television and certain other lights in the house to go on and off at random times throughout the day so that no clear pattern emerges.
Things like turning your phone ringer off and having a mail slot rather than a mail box, can also assist you in maintaining your privacy and the safety of your vacation home in your absence. If you are thinking of purchasing or you already own an unattended vacation home, and would like to discuss how to minimize your risks with knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale property damage attorneys, call us now at (954) 767-6333 or use our convenient online contact form.