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Shutting up shop at home

Gemma's lego home

 
 
For those leaving an owned or rented property behind to travel, here are some items to consider in the months ahead to make your transition easier.
 
 
POSSESSIONS
 
You've probably been paring down and getting rid of some possessions (do they possess you or you them - hmmm?) but will also have some to store. 
 
  • Will you use an off-site storage facility?  
  • Store them in a loft / shed / container on your property?
  • Lend large items to friends and family to use?
  • Stash some boxes with friends here and there?
  • Leave your stuff right where it is as you are renting your place furnished?
  • Will you install an alarm system to protect your stuff?  Who will monitor it or respond if it goes off?
  • How will your contents insurance be affected by the various options?
     
  • What will you do with any vehicle(s)?
  • Will you loan it to a friend?  Will they insure the vehicle or will you need to name them on your policy?  Will they pay the excess in case of an accident; and tickets/fines in the case of traffic infringements?

 

POSTAL SERVICES
 
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Catalogues
  • Subscription products
  • Invoices
With the advent of electronic correspondence aka email we often have the choice whether we receive invoices/receipts/mail in our letterbox or via our inbox.
 
When there is no alternative you can consider having your mail forwarded.
 
As for magazine and/or subscription products, now is the time to evaluate if you want to continue these.  Will you still NEED them on the road?  Can you switch from a tree mail version to an email edition?
 
 
UTILITIES & ONGOING COSTS
 
  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Telephone
  • Internet
  • Rates
  • Water
  • House insurance
  • Contents insurance
Some utility companies will allow you to suspend your account so you don't have to go through the application process all over again nor lose your credit rating; others won't.  Give them a call now to find out.  If you are continuing any services for tenants, and are paying the bill yourself, can you get it sent to your email account?  Generally it is NOT advisable to continue your own account and have the tenant pay that, unless you can guarantee it will be paid in full and on time.
 
Will you set up a direct debit for the regular foreseen costs?
 
 
HOUSE-RELATED SERVICES
 
If you are retaining a property and not selling off all your material possessions to travel, then you may also have a few ongoing maintenance and service costs to (budget &) pay for.
 
Which one of these applies to your situation?
 
  • Lawn or gardening services
  • Chimney cleaning
  • Pool maintenance
  • Pest control services
  • House cleaning / painting
  • Roof cleaning / painting
  • Solar panel / energy system maintenance
  • Gutter clearing
  • Septic tank waste collection
  • Rubbish removal services
  • Emergency repairs

 

If you are renting your property out to tenants:

  • Will you appoint a property manager to co-ordinate tradesmen and do inspections?  
  • Will you negotiate a service contract directly with the tradesperson instead; and have a friend or family member do inspections?  
  • Will you permit the tenant to contact service personnel themselves if something goes wrong?  
  • Will you set up an automatic payment or direct debit from the tenant to a separate housing account?
  • Will a friend/family member or colleague have access to a housing account to pay bills; or will you do everything online?

If you need a tenancy agreement, the basic one can be bought from local booksellers, or downloaded from MBIE where there is also more information about tenancies.

Make sure that you lodge the tenant's bond with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment along with the appropriate form.

 

If the property is not being lived in:

  • Have you checked with your insurance policy on any exclusions?
  • Will you put a padlock on your letterbox if you have someone clearing it on your behalf?
  • Do you have automatic security lights installed outside?
  • Do you have lights on timers inside?
  • Does the house looked lived in from the the outside?  Washing on line? Shoes or gumboots at back door?
  • Might you allow a neighbour to park their car in your driveway?
  • Consider adding security stays to some of your windows so that you can leave them ajar to aid air circulation.

Take a look at the list on the NZ Police website of how to protect your property.