A Checklist for Winterizing a Foreclosure

by Denise Brandenberg ; Updated July 27, 2017
Foreclosed houses must be winterized to prevent damage.

Most vacant houses, such as foreclosed properties or vacation homes, must be winterized in order to prevent harmful damage caused by cold weather. When houses are left sitting without regular care, they are prone to many types of expensive problems. If you are starting a winterizing business targeting bank-foreclosed homes, use a checklist to ensure you don’t miss any important steps.

Repairs

Any and all repairs should be made before the utilities are turned off. Check for leaking faucets, broken pipes, loose wires and other types of damage.

Water and Plumbing

Water and plumbing systems are some of the most important areas to include in a winterizing checklist. Plumbing affects many amenities of a home, including the sinks, toilets, water heater, dishwasher, washing machine and outdoor spigots. If the water is not turned off, water lines may bulge and bust during repeated freezing and thawing cycles. Your winterizing checklist may include opening faucets to allow them to drain completely, draining the water heater and all pipes, and shutting off the water at the main valve. According to Inspected Thoughts, you may want to keep water in the toilet bowls to prevent sewer gases from entering the home.

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Electric and Gas Systems

Most winterizing checklists include turning off the electric and gas systems in a home. If the foreclosed home’s heating system operates on electricity, turn it off at the circuit breaker and ask the local electric company to discontinue electric service. When you turn it off on the circuit breaker, be sure to check for any loose wires. If the home operates on natural gas, you’ll need to turn off each home appliance that uses it, including the oven and stove top, fireplace, dryer and heating system. After appliances are turned off, contact the gas company and request they turn off supply to the house from the main power station.

Closing and Security

Close up the home and hang up signage or notification of the foreclosure. Leave notes in the home’s entry ways and near the circuit breaker. You may even want to leave a copy of your checklist, so the bank management team can see exactly what you did. Don’t forget to close and lock all doors and windows on your way out, as well.

About the Author

Denise Brandenberg has more than 15 years professional experience as a marketing copywriter, with a focus in public relations. She also worked as a recruiter for many years and is a certified resume writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.

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