Visiting your holiday home over Christmas? Top tips for moving back into previously empty property

With the Christmas season finally upon us, many of you will be taking the time off to visit your holiday homes and villas overseas. The perks of having a second home to call your own are immeasurable, and being able to visit whenever you like, without booking accommodation is priceless. But generally speaking, the one downside, when compared to hotels and managed holiday lets such as Airbnb, is that there’s nobody to look after the place when you aren’t there.

Top tips for moving back into previously empty property
Empty holiday homes require checking over

Whenever you leave your holiday home, you leave it in the hands of fate. Neighbours may be able to watch over, but things can still slip past unnoticed, the weather could cause damage, damp could set in, or perhaps worst of all, rodents and insects could move in.

Here is our checklist of what to do when you first return to your holiday home:

  • Check the outside of the property

Look for weather damage; missing roof tiles, broken windows, fallen tree limbs. All of these are signs that a storm has passed by and taken a toll on your poor holiday home. Luckily most of these can be quickly and easily repaired.

  • Check for signs of forced entry

Empty property often attracts squatters and burglars. Broken windows may also be a sign of this, but also check door handles and locks. Don’t forget to look in out buildings, especially if you store things like bikes, boats or other outdoor equipment in them.

  • Look out for critters

Similar to the first two points, we all hope that this wouldn’t happen, but it is worth checking nonetheless so that measures can be taken to remedy the situation. Look out for droppings, gnawed wood and greasy marks at the bottom of the wall. In terms of insects, if you see any more than a handful of the usual creepy crawlies, then there is cause for concern.

  • Open the windows, curtains and internal doors

Depending on how long since your last visit, your holiday home could’ve been stood empty for many months. Even in hotter climates, damp still has the potential to take hold. The air will probably be a little stale, so allow fresh, clean air to flow through. Opening the curtains will allow the sun’s UV rays to get to work on neutralising any lingering germs in the air. You’ll find that fresh air and sunlight is far more effective than spray air fresheners.

  • Run the shower

As much as you may want to jump straight into the shower after a day of travelling, it is important to remember this often-overlooked tip. Water will often stagnate if sitting in pipes and shower hoses for months at a time. This a major source of waterborne diseases such as Legionnaires. Combat this by turning your shower on, running your taps and flushing the toilet with the lid down. Run the taps and shower as hot as they will go for at least five minutes to kill bacteria. Make sure to be careful to avoid scalds.

In the majority of cases, you will return to a perfectly fine holiday home, and the first three points will not reveal any nasty surprises. It is, however, always worth checking. Tips 4 and 5 are just good practice!

From all of us here at Insure My Villa, whether you’re going to your holiday home, are staying put this Christmas, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

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