Many overseas property investors own holiday homes and need to maintain them during periods while they are empty. Many of these homes are not occupied for a long period of time and are only used occasionally during the summer season, therefore the need to maintain them is crucial.
So what do you need to do in order to maintain your holiday home in the sun?
Place an alarm system for security and have it connected with your own telephone, or to a friend /neighbour who can look after the property.
Vacant periods in excess of 30 continuous days as a result of which you suffer damage, the insurance company may not pay for the damage. Make sure that your insurance covers the vacant periods.
Visit your property at regular intervals (at least every month) or have a person to do it for you to inspect and maintain the property both externally and internally.
When away turn off the electricity and water supplies, so that you reduce the risk of accidents.
Nearer the time for your own use, make sure that the house equipment is operational, e.g. white goods, electricity, air conditioning etc.
If you have a swimming pool, electricity is needed for the water circulation, and the provision of chemicals is also a must to maintain the pool. The hours of the pool operation could be reduced to 50 per cent of the summer hours i.e. instead of 6-7 hours per day 3-4 hours. If the pool is covered, the time will be shorter, but still, you need to inspect and make sure that the water is reasonably clean.
When away close the bathrooms/sink taps and make sure that you place in the drain ½ cup of diesel oil. That will reduce the intrusion of cockroaches and will also prevent smells from coming in (it prevents water evaporation also).
Notwithstanding the non-occupation, it would be preferable have someone to ‘clean’ the house around once every 1-2 months.
Make sure that if you decide to disconnect the electricity supply that your alarm system works, as well as the pool filtration.
If you are away for some time and you have good relations with your neighbours and trust them, let them know your days of absence, in order for them to keep an eye on your property and help maintain it. (You can do the same when your neighbours are away).
If you have a garden make sure that your caretaker visits the garden in order to examine any damage, leaking water pipes and damage to the plants etc.
If you have a car and do not have a garage, it may be better to place it into storage while away for long periods.
Bear in mind that even if you do not live in the property, you will be still charged with Municipal services (e.g. refuse collection), as well as ownership taxes including sewage costs.
If you acquire a house costing €300,000 you should budget for all the above around 4-5 per cent running costs to maintain it. For apartments, the cost is less, but in addition, you have to pay the common expenses (independently of use).
If you decide to let your property, ensure you tell the insurance firm that this is what you are doing. The insurance fee will be slighter higher, but then you will not have serious arguments regarding theft and damage.
Avoid tempting thieves such as leaving your garden unattended, having numerous leaflets in your letterbox, having ladders resting on walls outside facilitating the entrance of ‘visitors’ at the house. Double lock all door and windows.
To maintain your holiday home costs, but it is the only way to have the property in good maintenance and retaining its value.