Raise your hand if your new year's resolution list includes taking a long backpacking trip around the world, moving abroad to work or study with your partner or family. Have you thought about what can happen to an unoccupied home for a long period of time?
The longer a property is left unoccupied, the higher the risk of something unfortunate happening, both inside and out. From deferred maintenance to pests to security, there are a number of things to consider.
Things To Do Before Leaving The Island
They say that prevention is better than cure! Before leaving the island, make sure to do all you can to reduce the amount of potential damage that can be caused when leaving your house vacant for a long period of time.
Shut off the electrical power to your entire house from the main electrical panel. If you are going abroad for a shorter period of time, switch off and unplug all your appliances to prevent damage from voltage fluctuations.
Disconnect or switch off the gas cylinder, including the ones in your heater and your barbeque.
Ensure that no perishable food and no trash is left in the house to avoid unwanted insects or pests.
Place all outdoor furniture, barbeques and other movable items in a sheltered area or inside if possible to prevent any weather damage from the sun, extreme rain and strong winds.
Contact your internet and TV channel provider to assess whether it makes more financial sense to keep paying these costs or if it is best to set up these services again once you are back home.
If you have a security system set up in place, notify your security company that you will be away for an extended period of time.
Home Maintenance When You Are Abroad
Having someone check up on your home in Malta on a weekly basis when you are abroad for a long period of time can help you maintain your property and deal with any arising issues in a timely manner. This can be a family member, friendly neighbour or hiring a property manager to help with the needed home maintenance.
You never know when a leak will occur resulting in thousands of euros worth of water damage, or when one of your property walls decides to collapse due to the latest storm and excessive winds. A property manager can frequently check up on your property and organise repairs in the event of a minor or major emergency in your home during your absence and perform any required maintenance to prevent additional damage from occurring. It is also important to frequently air the property to prevent the generation of mould.
If your house continuously looks empty and abandoned, with letters piling up in the letterbox, an overgrown garden and always closed up, this increases the chances that buglers will target your house for their next outing. A property manager can sort through your post, throwing away irrelevant junk mail and forwarding important letters to you whilst paying electricity and water bills on time. They can also water your favourite plants and maintain your garden so that you can jump right in when you’re back home.
And when you want to come back for a little vacation in Malta or permanently move back home, a property manager can ensure that your property is clean and ready for when you return!
Renting Your Vacant Property
If you do not plan on visiting your property for an extended period of time, consider setting up your vacant property for short term rentals and generate a substantial passive income to help you finance your travels, or save up for your big financial goals.
Hiring a property manager is vital to the success of your rental property when you are travelling long term or living abroad. They take care of every step of the rental process, including managing pricing and availability, taking bookings, communicating with guests, collecting payment, dealing with check-ins and check-outs, laundry and cleaning. This comprehensive system means that you as the owner can take a hands-off approach to rental and enjoy truly passive income when you are abroad.
As a homeowner, having a property manager checking up on your home when you are abroad for a long period of time gives you peace of mind knowing your property is cared for, maintained in good condition, secure and ready for your return!