July 21, 2024
Close this search box.
Close this search box.
July 21, 2024
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Featuring Lydia Russo, Broker, Owner, Russo Real Estate, Teaneck, New Jersey

ASK THE REALTOR: My husband and I have decided to go down south for the winter months this year and are wondering if there is anything special we need to do to prepare our home.

LYDIA RUSSO: Whether you’re leaving your house during winter for an extended period, closing up a summer vacation home, or cleaning a foreclosure, it’s important to make sure that your property is ready for any weather conditions, protected from animal or insect infestations and your possessions are safe from theft. Whether you’re leaving for a few weeks, a few months or a year, the following suggestions will help you to plan and will even help you save some money.

To begin, you might contact all of the professionals who regularly service your home including your landscaper, plumber, electrician and contractor. Have them make a list of items that need to be attended to. You should also contact your insurance agent to make sure that your coverage is adequate while you are away.

Here are some categories and information to get you started:

Utilities and Plumbing

Exterior – Interior and Exterior Water sources including outside hoses, icemakers, outdoor pool, washing machines and sprinkler systems should be drained and turned off at the source and/or properly winterized.

Thermostat – Having a programmable thermostat can help you manage the fluctuations in temperature while you are away. Turn thermostat down to a temperature that will keep your home warm enough to keep pipes from bursting.

Appliances – Unplug your appliances (microwave, stove, toaster oven, etc) unless you are shutting off utilities to prevent using unnecessary utilities and to avoid possible fires.

Water Heater – If you have an electric heater, drain and unplug otherwise, turn down to vacation setting.

Have your heating and air conditioning system serviced and make sure filters are changed/clean.


Clean out refrigerator and freezer, turn off and prop open door.

Remove all trash and wash out trash cans and cabinets where trash cans are stored.

Clean out pantry. Remove items that could potentially freeze-soda, beer, etc.

Remove/store items that may attract rodents including sponges, candles, soap, open food packages, etc.

Other Rooms in the Home

Wash everything including all linens, trash cans, draperies, etc.

Vacuum/wash all rugs and floors.

Remove fire hazards; stacked papers, magazines, dirty rags, etc.

Close flues and dampers.

Check windows and doors for drafts. You can put window plastic/insulation over your windows to buffer against drafts. Install storm doors and windows. Make sure storm windows are pulled down and securely shut. Check caulking and weatherstriping around windows and doors.

Arrange for plants to be watered or remove them completely.

Remove window a/c units.

Look around for any openings near windows or in the building that might invite animals, insects or intruders.


Arrange to have your lawn, shrubs and sidewalks regularly mowed, swept and watered in warmer months and snow removed in colder months. If you are going to be away in the fall arrange to have leaves raked and removed and have gutters cleaned out to prevent ice buildup in winter months.

Store outdoor furniture and accessories and make sure anything that might blow away is tied down.

Lock away anything of value in a shed or garage and block any windows so no one can look in.

Wash out and store trash cans.

If you keep wood for a wood burning fireplace make sure it is not left piled against the house or garage.

Home Security

Lock all doors and windows.

Close all blinds.

Put a few lights on timers to make it look like someone is home.

Have a neighbor or friend check the house regularly.

Stop delivery of all papers and mail.

Take small valuables with you.

Russo Real Estate is a family owned business that has been servicing the northern Bergen County area of New Jersey for over 40 years. Lydia Russo and her son Robert, offer a personal service not often found in large, corporate owned agencies. Our agents have the knowledge, experience and dedication needed to make the process of either buying or selling a home an easy one. From start to finish our agents will provide assistance with any of your questions. Please visit us online at www.RussoRealEstate.com or call us directly at (201) 837-8800

By Nicole Idler

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles