What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Setting Up a Vacation Home (4) - The Essentials

There are a few essentials with setting up a vacation home.  They will differ depending on whether you are mobile or permanent.  From experience the following may apply for your vacation home whether mobile or permanent:

  • insurance - This is a must have for either mobile or permanent vacation homes.  Go through an insurance company specializing in this type of coverage and make sure your investment is covered.
  • license - This basically applies to mobile units and manufactured homes.  Traditionally built cottages will not have a license.
  • lot rental/lease - Both mobile and permanent vacation homes can have a lot rental or lease charge depending on location.  Essentially you own the house itself but the land is either rented or leased.  
  • utility connections -  Utility connections may or may not be included with lot rental for mobile units.  In general you pay more for utilities in mobile/provential/national parks and some may not offer utility hook-ups.  Parks specializing in seasonal lots where you park a mobile unit for the season and normal vacation homes (cottages, etc) will normally have utility connections for a fee.  In permanent locations getting the utilities connected is the same as getting utilities connect to a regular house.  You may or may not need a deposit and you will need to arrange to have someone there when the utilities are being turned on.  For permanent vacation homes the utilities may offer an option to have them turned off for an extended period when the home is closed up.  This is especially useful for internet and phone BUT not necessarily helpful for hydro or gas.  In northern Ontario you may need to keep a low level of heat on to prevent pipes from freezing or turn the water off entirely and drains the lines if pumping from a local lake.  In the southern States and Caribbean countries it is necessary to leave the AC on to prevent humidity damage, specifically moulding problems.
  • basic maintenance -  The problem with permanent vacation homes such as cottages is they are going to be closed up for extended periods of time.  There-in lies the problem.  In a normal house you are able to catch minor problems before they become major problems.  When a house is closed up for any period of time insects, rodents, humidity, snow/ice and moisture can all cause problems and get out of hand during the time the house is closed up.  The real trick is to anticipate any of these problems then take preventative measure before they become a problem.  In addition to the basic DIY maintenance you may have to have certain hired out maintenance work performed in your absence.  You will need a list of trusted maintenance workers to do this work as well as a trusted neighbour with the key to your vacation home.
  • contact information - Your neighbours need your home contact information so they can get a hold of you in the event of an emergency.  At least one trusted neighbour should have a key to your vacation home so they can enter in the case of an emergency.  At the same time you need to have their information and make sure you keep in touch during any periods that your vacation home is not occupied.  

Garden Gnome