2017 RV-Dreams Spring Educational Rally - May 8 - 14, 2017 in Sevierville, Tennessee.
SOLD OUT as of 12/31/2016! Click Here For More Details & A Link To Our Waiting List Page

2017 RV-Dreams Fall Educational Rally - September 25 - October 1, 2017 in Sevierville, Tennessee.
Registration Is Now Open!! Click Here For Details

2018 RV-Dreams Spring Educational Rally - April 23 -30, 2018 in Pahrump, Nevada
Mark The Dates!! Registration To Open June 1!! Click Here To Get Email Notification

Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: How to handle the empty house


RV-Dreams Community Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 10
Date:
How to handle the empty house


How are the following items usually handled when part-timing?


Closing up the house, i.e. water, thermostat, etc.


How do you handle bill paying if on the road for a couple months, mail?


What else have I not mentioned?


 


thanx



__________________
Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.


RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 175
Date:



I don't camp a lot for extended periods, ie a month or so, but I have family that lives within 15 minutes of my house and watch over things for me. I also have an 18 yr old that doesn't always want to go with us, he parties at , I mean watches the house also.

__________________
www.rvdaydreams.blogspot.com
2002 29' Prowler TT pushing a 2002 GMC 2500HD "BIG RED"
Counting the days until we fulltime but not forgetting to enjoy everyday as a gift from God.


RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 397
Date:

Larry we went thru this, we were in out stick house about 3.5 month in 05.  We left electric and water on.  But did put our Pc to sleep and had our Son check the house.  We paid all our bill on line.  Our Bank sends out e-bill alert, then we go in and tell them when to pay and how much.  And it's paid on time every time.  We also put the direct TV box's off line until we return home.  It worked ok but was just a added expence.  So we done what we have been wanting to do,  Sold the house and almost all funiture, the rest should sell this week-end.  And in Sept. we will go full timing.  Life is good, and  we try to Live every day as if it's the first and last day of our life.  Good Luck on your travels, and GBY......... 

__________________

2012 Chevy 3500HD DRW's (SOLD)

Pressure Pro System  (SOLD)   
Trailer Saver  TS 3   (SOLD)

2010 Mobile Suites 38 RSSB 4 #5057  (Sold)





RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 518
Date:

Here's how *I* handle the empty house syndrome (whether a weekend or a full year):


1) First and foremost, water OFF at the main home entrance valve (not the street valve), no matter how short or long a time away. this also means water heater OFF and ice maker OFF and automatic humidifiers OFF. A plumbing burst, even a trickle, can turn to utter disaster over many weeks. Even if you have someone drop by every few days, OFF. This means you (probably) can still leave irrigation on if you have it.


2) Electricty - do nothing, no need to. Just make sure all appliances OFF, refer cleaned out - probably off and opened, also good idea to unplug TV, stereo, PC in the event of lightning surges. Leave no machinery running (i.e. fans) that could cause harm if it breaks while away. I do leave a couple lights on random timers.


3) Thermostat - set to HOLD at 50 in winter and 80 in summer. Colder in winter is fine if you don't have a history of pipe freezes under counters and the like. I would not go higher in summer due to humidity buildup (unless you are in Arizona). I do run a separate de-humidifier 24/7 that drains out of a locked window during the summer as well. That was one of the best things I did to eliminate the stagnant musty buildup problem. Make sure to leave the overflow devices intact on it however. 


4) Mail: 2 issues, 1) getting it when away if needed, 2) not having any pile up while away. Get an Escapees type adddress or do the same with a UPS Store (MailBoxes Etc, type of store) and move ALL bills and personal mail to that new address. In fact, I have all my mail including IRS, drivers license, and voter registration going to my local sticks/bricks home UPS Store mail box. It takes many months before you actually move ALL your mail to this type of address. I then declared the house permanently un-occupied at my local post office. The PO can not deliver mail (i.e. Homeowner, Resident, Occupant junk mail) to an unoccupied house. And the PO won't hold it longer than 30 days I think. Now, my home mailbox is lonely and always empty! If I need my mail while away I just call the store and they box it up and send it to me. While at home I just drive up the street to get it. And I never have to be home to sign for the FedEx delivery either! A US PO Box does not offer these types of services.


5) Bills: 2 considerations, 1) how to pay them, 2) knowing how much to pay when away. As for how to pay them I use online bill paying either through your bank or things like Quicken/MS Money. All of my bills (or any other items) are paid "online". Upon your direction, these services will simply send a check to anyone you direct or in the case of things like your electric bill they have electronic arrangements. Knowing how much to pay: I have a spreadsheet listing all my bills (monthly ones, even once a year ones) down the side and 12 months across the top. As I pay bills whether at home or away I jot down the amount for each month. Then, BEFORE I go away, I can pretty much guess what the next payment amounts will be, for however many months, and I just create an online payment, generously rounded up, to be be "paid" automatically by the online service on that future date.(* see note below). In this way I never ever worry about bills (or even getting my mail) on the road. Sort of simulates not having the dang bricks/sticks and it is nice to be able to completely forget about it while away. Using the "budget plan" for your utilities is excellent as then your payments are fixed each month. For the exacting crowd, most billers have some means of web access to your bill if you need to know exactly how much each bill will be. I do cheat and look at my visa bill online each month and simply transfer the amount owed while I am on my bank's website while I am looking at the bill.  


6) Arrange for lawn mowing and the like. Windows all closed, doors locked, all outside stuff put inside or undercver, or locked down from storms. You don't need a freak thunder storm sending your deck chair/umbrella through your windows. Cars locked.  Also clean out perishable pantry items. Probably move them right into the RV! Empty all trash. Leave nothing to entice vermin. Toilet lids UP to get light/air in there and stop mold growth. I leave all drapes wide open to let the sun in. I also open closet doors and even drawers as here in the mid atlantic, musty conditions will develop and your stack of beautifully clean towels will smell musty in just a couple months of being idle.   


7) I tell my neighbors my cell number and that I'll be away though I don't arrange for any formal check ups by anyone. I never like to impose. I also jokingly advise that upon the sight of smoke they should wait until there are just ashes before calling Sadly, truth is, it is far easier to claim a total loss than negotiate the extent of a partial loss! I know this from experience.


8) Make a checklist. Just like you might have a rig packing list, mine has a section at the bottom of everything to do in the house, item by item.


9) Have fun knowing you can forget about those sticks for a while!


(*) NOTE. Some bill payer services like, I *think* the web based Bank of America system, will deduct each and every payment you make from your balance AT the time you enter it regardless of when it is queued up to actually pay. BE AWARE of this or similar limitations! Other systems will NOT deduct the payment amount from your balance until the actual check is presented for payment. THIS is the method you want as you can queue up many months of payments even though your monthly deposits aren't deposited yet. 


10) And did I say have fun knowing you can forget about those sticks for a while?



__________________
www.RVDude.com


RV-Dreams Community Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 10
Date:

Wow dude, thanks for all the great tips.  Looks like I've got some plans to make prior to travel.



__________________
Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.


RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 175
Date:

Great list, I am going to print it and claim it as my own...


Do you take any security measures to guard against break-ins, robberies and the such? I was thinking about installing a good security system, on of those online systems. That way they can call me if the house is getting broken into. But then again, I will not be able to do anything about it while I am sitting on the beach somewhere..



__________________
www.rvdaydreams.blogspot.com
2002 29' Prowler TT pushing a 2002 GMC 2500HD "BIG RED"
Counting the days until we fulltime but not forgetting to enjoy everyday as a gift from God.


RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 518
Date:

Doncat...


No, I do not take any security measures above locking everything up and keeping the obvious out of view -  help keep an honest man honest as they say. I do nothing more for the exact reason you mentioned - I really couldn't do anything about it while out there in RV-Dreams (or extended travel) -land so what's the point in even knowing about it. To me the need to know is entirely predicated on being able to respond and do something. Hence, I'll just deal with it when I get home. All the more reason to lose the sticks when you make the leap!


Note that I have a complete digital photo inventory of my house and my RV, right down to the details with close-ups. Nothing too overboard, but with digital you can easily do this using as many pictures as you need to fully document things and not even have to write down anything. See Howard's journal post on the "fun" of doing this inventory on a picnic table! I can relate to that! It is key to have those pictures (put on a CD or something) in more than one place, and I mean like a set in the RV, a set in the house and most importantly a set at a friend's place or other OFF site location. Digital makes that a snap.    



__________________
www.RVDude.com


RV-Dreams Community Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 2
Date:

You could also upload the photos to WebShots or another photo site.  biggrin



__________________
Ron And Deb Tremblay


RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 1141
Date:

Just a thought.

I do realize that it may not be possible, but, If you sold everything and went full-timing, you would not have to go through all of that, and would not have to worry about it! biggrinbiggrin



__________________

Jim and Linda
Full-timers from 2001 to 2013
http://parttimewithjandl.blogspot.com/ 
2006 Dodge 2500 Diesel pulling a Heartland 26LRSS TT
May your days be warm, and your skies be blue.
May your roads be smooth, and your views ever-new.



RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 770
Date:

Depending on your climate an empty home is not good just standing for months on end or even yrs.  If possible sell it why would you want the taxes and the upkeep needed on an empty box.
southwestjudy & Bob & 2blackdogs


__________________
Judy & Bob & 2blackdogs
www.mytripjournal.com/elitesuitestravels


RV-Dreams Community Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 11
Date:

RV Dude has most of the important points covered.  We do some things differently for various reasons.

1.  We turn off all the electricity except the freezer, the phone machine and the furnace fan.

2.  We turn off ALL water at the entrance to the house. We do this even if we are going to be gone for only a weekend or a few days.

3.  Set the thermostat to 50 (we are home in the summer).

4.  Bills are paid on line except for a few

5.  Mail is forwarded by a friend.

6.  Our dog is our security.  She stays home.

7.  Neighbor/family checks the house and feeds the dog.

Some things will be different for us since we live on a farm in a rural area.  Our neighbor (he happens to be a cousin and he farms our land) still makes use of some of our farm buildings and water and has a seperate electrical meter for all but the house.  So - the outside automatic lights stay on.  Our garage is on a seperate breaker box and we leave a heat lamp on for the dog.  She also has an automatic waterer and feeder inside the garage and the heat lamp keeps the water from freezing. 

We purchase the "bulk" envelopes at the PO before we leave and our farmer's wife picks up our mail and stuffs it in one of the envelopes and sends it to wherever we are.  Those envelopes are a certain price, no matter how much they weigh or hold.  So, she puts as much as she can in and they still go priority mail.  She also gets a shipping number and emails that to us and we can follow our mail pkg and know exactly when to go pick it up.  All catalogs go to the recycling (We STILL are receiving some).  Magazines are sent once a month.  And of course, we need our weekly community newspaper so we know what is going on at home.biggrin  BTW, our small PO has a winter Texan/snowbird forwarding service.  They will do all the above for $10 a month. 

We pay a "bulk" price for our propane (for the house), so all we have to do is go online and see how much was used, but we have never run out before we get back home and the propane company knows to make sure the tank is kept full every month.  If we happen to use our allottment, they would just start sending us a bill.  That said, we are thinking of totally turning off the furnace/propane this year.  There is no water left on and everything else is electric.  It would take a little more prep time since we would have to blow out the water lines etc., but it would save a bunch of money while we are gone.  Still discussing this.  If we turn off the furnace, we could also turn off the electric fan for the furnace, thus saving a little more $$$

Our electric company is the most difficult.  They do not have online services and they can't give us an estimate, and they will charge interest on any unpaid balance.  So, I know what day they read our meter each month and I call a couple of days after that and they tell me the amount of our bill.  Kind of a pain in the *****, but we need to do it.

Our big question is homeowners insurance.  In all our investigations, we have found that no company will insure an empty house.  Empty to them is less than one week every 90 days.  In their wisdom, it becomes an abandoned home at that point.  Our policy gives us full coverage in that 90 days, but if it is vacant any longer than that, we only have 40% coverage.  I have found that to be pretty standard.  I have talked with many agents with many different companys and always get the same answer.  They didn't like my response that if that was the case, then I should only have to pay 40% for the months I only get that much coverageweirdface.  How do you all handle this?  I am finding it is a little known fact, and it is in the VERY SMALL print of our policy.

We are usually gone for 5-6 months, so we approach it as we are home at the beginning of the first 90 days and home at the end of the second 90 days.  Don't know if that would qualify or not.

I know - the best thing to do would be to sell everything a go full time.  That is our hope, but we just can't give up our family farm yet.  smile

-- Edited by Howard at 07:48, 2009-02-09

__________________
Page 1 of 1  sorted by
 
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Tweet this page Post to Digg Post to Del.icio.us