My wife and I have just spent a wonderful first season here in Bucerias. We’ve enjoyed our new home and meeting new friends. Now we drive back north in a few weeks with an expanding list of household items to bring back with us in November.
We plan to close up our house for the months we’re away, but are concerned about this. What do other people do to properly close up a house here for six months? What are important precautions to take?
In order to properly close up your house for the season, you need to first ask yourself these general questions. Is my house protected against theft or vandalism? Is my house leak proof? Have I covered payments in my absence for the phone, electric and water bills, and, if applicable, the homeowners fees? What do I do with the clothes and linens I’m leaving here, the T.V. and other electronics, the water heater, air conditioners, swimming pool, garden, etc.? As you can see, there’s much to consider in leaving your house unoccupied for six months in the tropics.
I recommend you consider the following options for the care of your house in your absence. First, you might have a house sitter live there; a person or couple with good recommendations, willing to care for the house in return for living for free, reduced rent, or just paying utilities. This ensures that your electronics will be used regularly, so that they don’t corrode during the rainy season here. (If televisions, etc., are left for even a short while without being used, they often don’t work any more upon a person’s return. There are techniques that you can Google, such as using rice, dryer sheets and even fine black pepper, for preserving electronics in the tropics.)
A second option is to consider hiring a person to regularly check in with the house. This person may be a professional property manager, or a neighbor you trust. If you choose to have a professional property manager to take care of your place, I can recommend a couple of possible people to interview.
Apprehensive: whichever option you choose, you should expect that person to regularly check for leaks or other damage, ensure that plants, lawns and pools are cared for, and have the house cleaned regularly, just to clear it of dust and the bugs that will invariably “take up house” during the rainy season. Whether you use a house sitter or a house “carer,” keep in mind that it is important to stay in regular communication with this person or persons, so that any problems arising can be quickly resolved.
Hopefully, this will help you to no longer be as apprehensive about leaving your house for the time you’re away, and return to enjoy another great season in Bucerias!