What To Do With An Empty House?

Vacant Houses – 3 Tips for managing a vacant house

Top 3 things to worry about Vacant Homes | Academy Home Buyers | (757) 755-5587
Three major problems to avoid when your home is vacant

How Does A Home Become Vacant?

This is Matt from Academy Home Buyers.

I want to discuss a few things that you should concern yourself with when you have a vacant home.

How do you end up with a vacant home?

  • You’ve inherited a property and don’t have anyone to live in it while you go through the probate process.
  • Your tenants have moved out and you cannot put a new tenant in right away.
  • Forced sudden relocation due to work or illness or military.

This home in this video is on a pretty average street in Virginia Beach. Many people think that vacant homes are only in certain types of neighborhoods. This is not true. This neighborhood is a nice working class neighborhood where most of the homes are well maintained. This home was inherited by a family, who intended to fix up the home and sell it, but because of a million different reasons, have been unable to complete the project and decided to sell instead. In the time in between inheriting the home and now, it has remained vacant. This happens in every neighborhood in every city in America.

Vacant Or Empty Houses – Three Problems You Must Fix

1- The first problem you need to take care of is your lawn.

The city or town can fine you for not maintaining your lawn. In Virginia Beach you can be fined, and that fine gets attached to the deed of your home like a lien. If you live in a homeowners association (HOA), they can fine you as well, or take other measures such as mow the lawn for you and then bill you. In this house, I took care of most of the lawn myself so that the owners would not be subject to summonses or legal action.

2- The second problem you have to manage to prevent is Squatters.

You see the door back here and other garbage. This comes from squatters. Look at the boarded up window. Squatters took the opportunity to break into the home and make it their own for a while. Squatters do drugs, make a mess, and start fires. Squatters also have lots of legal rights once they are in your home. You may have to go to court to evict them once they have settled into your vacant property. Let’s go in and take a look at the inside of this house. Squatters tend to leave doors and windows open, and food and garbage all over the place. This house was overrun by rodents and animals. Look at all of the animal droppings on the floor, in the hallways, and on the shelves and counters.

3- The third problem you have to address is water pipes.

If you live in a climate that gets cold, you must take care of your pipes and winterize the home. You have to hire a company to come in and turn off the water, remove water from the pipes, and replace it with antifreeze. They will mark all of the sinks, toilets and faucets as winterized. A burst pipe will pour many thousands of gallons of water into your home everyday, and will likely go unnoticed for days or weeks. And you know what’s even worse? Your insurance will likely not cover the damage because the home was vacant!

  • Lawn Care
  • Squatters / Animals
  • Water Pipes

I Have A Vacant House And I Don’t Know What To Do To Protect It!

Five Tips For Protecting A Vacant Home

1-Lock and secure all windows and doors

People rarely forget to lock their doors, but oftentimes windows are left unlocked. Ensuring that all the windows and doors of your home are locked is arguably one of the most important things you can do to protect your empty house from becoming home to squatters and vandals.

2-Install motion detector lights

Gone are the days of needing all kinds of wiring and special lights, in order to give the appearance of a home being occupied. Simply go online and order one of the myriad of solar powered motion lights available for only a few dollars. Place them in strategic areas around doors, windows, garages, and sidewalks. Criminals hate light!

3-Maintain your alarm system

All too often, when people move they want to cut all expenses to a minimum, and turn off all utilities and services. Your alarm system, however, should be spared. The extra few dollars per month could be worth its weight in gold.

4-Make friends with your neighbors

Find a neighbor, or someone within sight of your empty house, and let them know the home is going to be vacant for a while. Ask if they would hold a key for you, in case you need it for a contractor or other unexpected reason. Doing this will also help deter your neighbors from calling the town on you to complain about overgrown lawns, or dirt and debris. You would much rather your neighbor alert you to problems on your property than to receive a summons from the town inspector.

5-Get proper Insurance

Did you know that your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover your home for damages if it is left vacant? That’s right, your insurance company will not cover losses for property when it feels that you have not done your due diligence to keep it up. But, you can purchase appropriate insurance for vacant or empty properties. Call your insurance agent and tell them the situation and be guided by their expert advice.

Do you have a vacant house that you are responsible for? Give us a call or E-mail with your questions, and we will be happy to point you in the right direction. Vacant houses are only problems when you ignore them!

Call or Text: (757) 755-5587 – OR- Email to: Matt@MattWalshHomes.com

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Academy Home Buyers, Real Estate Investing, Virginia Beach, VA