Do You Have a Home Emergency Plan for Travel??

As real estate professionals, we learn something everyday, and each day brings new challenges and opportunities to assist! Recently, a client asked us to check on their home a few times a week and retrieve their mail while they were out of town. We were happy to assist, and knowing that pools can be a problem during freezing weather, we discussed this before they left and made sure they had an emergency plan even for their pool. 

Unfortunately, during their time away, one of their furnaces went out, leaving parts of the home not heated. Two tankless water heaters in the attic, along with plumbing pipes, froze during the roughly 72 hrs of sub-freezing temperatures. Thankfully, the homeowners were not out of the country and we were able to FaceTime with them allowing them to make some decisions and we were “boots on the ground” to oversee the repairs. Their planning and our efforts averted potentially devastating damage to their property. 

All was well for these clients, but the day that temperatures first rose over freezing temperature we got another call from a neighbor who remembered that we listed the house next door to him. He didn’t know the homeowners, and he was calling to report water pouring down their driveway. He could see through the windows that water was in the entry and hallway downstairs, as well. I’ve witnessed one other home devastated by water damage when the homeowners were out of town, and it’s so encompassing that it is almost like a fire. 

This unfortunate incident reminds me that everyone should get to know their neighbors! Make sure that someone knows when you are out of town  and can get in touch with you or gain access to your home in case this type of an emergency were to occur. There are sensors that can notify you of water leaks, but oftentimes in extreme temperatures or loss of power these gadgets just don’t work!  There is no substitute for human action and neighborly kindness!  Know where the water shut off is inside your home and share that with at least one person that can gain access to your home.

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