Your Empty House in Winter | Centers And Squares

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As a Cambridge real estate agent, the city squares of Cambridge, Somerville and Medford and the town centers of Arlington, Watertown and Belmont, Massachusetts are my home turf. And as a lifelong New Englander who’s lived within twenty miles of Boston most of my life, I can introduce you to other nearby towns as we search for your new home. If you’re planning to sell your home in Cambridge, MA or nearby you’ll find plenty of info about the home selling process here too. Questions? Send me an email or call me at 617-504-1737.

Your Empty House in Winter

Will your house be empty this winter?

Will your house be empty this winter?

Winter’s coming – with a snowstorm in October it becomes more difficult to ignore the impending cold weather.

An empty house in winter is a potential disaster in the making.  In the last few years, I’ve noticed a number of properties listed for sale at a fraction of their former value.  Not because real estate values have dropped but because the houses were severely damaged when the pipes burst during the winter.

Water cascading through a house is devastating.  Floors buckle, plaster comes down, fixtures and appliances are ruined.  A flood from burst pipes can easily result in $100,000 or more of damage or loss of value.

Ideally, you won’t leave your home empty through the winter.  Perhaps a family member or friend can stay in the house.  Insurance coverage for vacant properties is very expensive – because the risk is high.  My vacant property insurance came from Lloyd’s of London – with a price tag to match – when my house renovation was underway.  It’s worth it to have someone stay in your home – even if they’re camping out in an empty house.

Empty bank-owned properties are “winterized” by companies that drain the radiators and plumbing and shut off the utilities.  It’s by no means the best way to show a property – freezing cold, no lights, and tape over the toilets – but it does prevent damage.

At a minimum someone should be checking the house daily.  Make sure the heat is on and there’s plenty of fuel if you heat by oil.  Economizing on heat could be a very expensive way to save money if problems ensue.  If your heat is turned down too low and goes off for some reason the house will too quickly cool to a dangerous temperature when the weather is at its coldest. If the house is kept at 68 degrees and it’s down to 50 degrees when someone checks you can catch the problem before you’re in serious trouble.

If your house is vacant it’s time to start thinking about how to make it through the winter.

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