Having a vacation home can be an excellent investment. However, maintaining it can pose a serious challenge when you’re away. Not only can closing it be a tedious process, but you’ll also need to ensure the home is protected while you back at your permanent residence. 

In this piece, we’ll take you through a checklist to help you keep your Florida home in good shape while you’re gone!

Checklist for Closing Up Vacation Home

Living Room

Here’s what to do to prepare the space for your departure and also make setting it up easy upon return:

  • Remove any ashes that may be at the fireplace. Also, remember to close the chimney flue. 
  • Move furniture some distance away from the walls. 
  • Cover all the furniture with dust covers.


Avoid odors by thoroughly cleaning your kitchen. Besides cleaning, there are other things you should remember to do before leaving your home:

  • Ensure the disposal is clean. 
  • Disconnect all appliances. 
  • Throw away any perishable foods you may have. 

Clean the refrigerator and leave its doors open to prevent odors. You may also want to leave a few boxes of baking soda inside there. This will help remove any lingering smells. 


You want that hotel feeling for when you eventually come back so here’s what you’ll want to do:

  • Make sure to clean the bedsheets. 
  • Allow air circulation by leaving the closet and dresser drawers open. 
  • Store linens away. Alternatively, leave clean ones on the bed. 

cleaning bedroom


To avoid any plumbing issues or lingering odors, you should ideally call a professional plumber to make sure that everything is fine before you pack up and leave. Furthermore, you should:

  • Clean the shower drains. 
  • Prevent stain-causing bacteria by pouring half a cup of chlorine bleach into the toilet bowl. 
  • Shut off the main water supply. 
  • Flush to drain the water from the tank. 

Laundry Room 

Here, your goal should be to prevent floods or mold. You also want to avoid unnecessary use of power while you’re away, therefore:

  • Ensure not to leave any water clothing in your washing machine. 
  • Disconnect and unplug the hoses connecting your dryer and washer. 

Exterior Maintenance 

You also want to ensure that your exterior remains in food condition. Prevent major issues by ensuring your home’s exterior is in good shape. Before you leave:

  • Weed and clean up the yard. 
  • Trim bushes and trees. 
  • Fertilize the lawn. 
  • Secure the shed and any other outside dwelling you may have. 
  • Disconnect the propane tank. 
  • Cover the grill. 
  • Check caulking around the windows. 
  • Empty and store the garden hose. 
  • Drain the pool. 
  • Install storm windows if you have them. 

General Tasks 

Don’t forget to do any of the following before you leave:

  • Thoroughly clean the home. 
  • Empty all trash cans. 
  • Leave packets of baking soda or charcoal to absorb moisture and lingering odor. 
  • Turn off lights, water, gas, and water heater.
  • Replace dead batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. 
  • Set up cameras, light timers, and alarms. 
  • Close curtains and shades. 

preparing vacation house for end of season

  • Check the sump pump and install water-level sensors, especially if you live in flood-prone areas. 
  • Unplug non-essentials such as electronics, appliances, and the garage door opener. 
  • Change air and furnace filters and open all the interior doors to circulate air throughout the home.
  • Ask your local post office to forward mail to your new home address and ask your waste management company to hold service until the next season. 
  • Temporarily discontinue internet, phone, and cable services. 
  • Stop further newspaper deliveries and call the telephone company to temporarily suspend service until you return.
  • Ensure that your home has a properly graded foundation. 
  • Install surge protectors throughout your home.
  • Set the air conditioner at 78 degrees and the dehumidifier at 45.
  • Check your air conditioner’s condensate line 
  • Ensure the pool water supply autofill is still running. 
  • Run water in all the faucets for 10 minutes to flush the system. 
  • Review homeowners’ insurance policy and update, if necessary. 

Checklist for Opening Up Vacation Home

The last thing you want is surprises when opening up your vacation home. Here’s a checklist to help ensure everything runs smoothly and that the house remains in great shape for the next season. 


  • Turn on the water supply. Do this slowly, as rushing water can cause damage to pipe fittings and fixtures. 
  • Turn on the water heater and refrigerator. 
  • Empty the pest or mouse traps. 
  • Change any burned-out light bulbs. 

changing out lightbulbs 

  • Clean the windows. 
  • Give the home a thorough clean. 
  • Refill the water softener with a salute. 
  • Change the HVAC filters. 
  • Make adjustments to the thermostat. 


  • Inspect the landscaping. Are there any signs of soil erosion, pest issues, damaged plants, or soil nutrition deficiencies? 
  • Beautify the landscape. Prune bushes and trees, power wash hard surfaces and mow overgrown grass. 
  • Return hammocks, and patio furniture to their places. 
  • Inspect your home’s exterior and patios for damage such as peeling paint, rotting wood, and even mold. 
  • Inspect and clean out the gutters. 


If you follow these checklists you’ll be able to close and reopen your vacation homes more easily each season. While you’re away however consider hiring a home watch service to ensure that the property is protected.

Income Realty Home Watch can keep your home safe. We understand the perils your Florida property faces when no one is around to look after it. Put your property’s well-being in the hands of trusted experts while you’re away! 

Our home watch services are customized to your home’s particular needs. Get in touch with us today to learn more. 

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