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Tips for Closing up the Cottage

Tips for Closing up the Cottage

Dock at a cottage in the fall before closing it up

We’ve certainly enjoyed great weather this summer, but now that fall is officially here, it’s time to start planning the cottage close up. Whether it’s a tiny cabin, a waterfront oasis or a woodland retreat, there are certain maintenance essentials that must be tackled when closing your cottage before winter sets in.

Here is a list of the important jobs to get started this fall so you can protect your investment and have peace of mind when those winter winds start to blow.

Pull the plug on appliances & electronics

Some cottagers leave the main power turned on for the winter, especially if there’s a sump pump or security system, while others turn it off completely. Either way, it’s important to unplug everything else, including the fridge, TV, stove, radio, space heaters, water heaters…and anything else with a cord.

Shut off the water

Pipes will freeze if there’s water in them, and then they burst! To avoid this disaster, shut off your water completely and then drain your pipes; you may need some buckets and old towels for this job. Plus, don’t forget to drain the hot water tank, dishwasher, washing machine, and toilets.

Pack it up

There are likely a lot of items in and around your cottage that need to be stored away, locked up or covered up. For example, your outdoor furnishings, BBQ, propane tanks, water toys, and so on. Not only will this keep them looking good and lasting longer, locking them away will help deter would-be thieves. Be sure to check for any needed repairs or touch-ups and tackle those while you’re at it. If you have any portable valuables, be sure to take those home with you for the winter.

Cleaning up

Return in the spring to a cottage that looks and smells great! Don’t forget that critters large and small want to get into your cottage in winter, so don’t leave a single crumb for them. Clean out the fridge and all cupboards and give your interior a thorough cleaning before you leave. You can also set mouse traps at this time, but the best prevention is not letting them in at all by making sure your cottage is sealed up tightly. You’ll also want to clear fallen leaves from the entrance, deck or gutters before you leave, not only to keep it clean and safe, but to help make your cottage looks more lived-in.

Inspect your cottage in and out

Grab a notepad or clipboard and take stock of your interior and exterior. Inspect your roof, eaves, chimney, deck boards, railings, pipes, flooring and so on. Walk around the exterior (and underneath) to look for any cracks – even one centimetre wide can let in critters, not to mention ice or frost damage. Repair what you can as soon as possible, or hire someone handy to help before winter sets in. Don’t forget that your septic system may need some attention, so it may be a good time to book a service appointment.

Make it look lived in

To deter potential thieves, let them think you still use your cottage during the winter – at least on occasion. If you live close enough, you can drive up the odd weekend to clear snow off the laneway or roof and turn on a light or two. If that’s not an option, you can hire a maintenance or security company, or offer to pay a neighbour to do this for you. For more cottage security tips, be sure to click here.

Your cottage is not just a family getaway, it’s an important investment. By taking on these important jobs to winterize your cottage, you’re protecting it along with your hard-earned money. If you’re in the market to purchase a vacation or residential property, or it’s time for your mortgage renewal, connect with me. We can discuss your financial goals, your mortgage options, and get you started with a plan of action! Call today at 705-315-0516; I’m here to help.

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