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RISMEDIA, September 29, 2010—It’s one thing to examine your property with an eye toward pleasing your guests, but smart second homeowners realize the value of regular preventive maintenance as well. Even if your guests don’t notice, say, a leaky roof, it’s likely to cause bigger, more expensive problems down the road. After you’ve done your end-of-season audit, plan a second working weekend aimed at protecting your investment. Based on the “stitch in time saves nine” theory, Christine Karpinski, director of Owner Community for and author of How to Rent Vacation Properties by Owner, 2nd Edition: The Complete Guide to Buy, Manage, Furnish, Rent, Maintain and Advertise Your Vacation Rental Investment offers the following recommendations to protect your investment:

-Remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts.
-Pressure-wash wood siding to prevent mold.
-Check the exterior paint for bare spots.
-Inspect and replace exterior caulk.
-Check window and door sills for leaks and caulk where necessary.
-Clean air conditioning unit.
-Check the foundation.
-Trim trees and bushes.
-Check the sprinkler system.
-Check all decks for loose boards, railings, and stairs.
-Inspect the condition of the roof.
-Check window screens.
-Check fences and gates.
-Check the automatic garage door opener.
-Examine the septic system for flooding or unusual odor.
-Check the latches on storm windows.
-Inspect the grading around the house to make sure water drains away from the house on all sides.
-Check outside walls for termite tubes and damaged wood.

-Clean and seal tile and grout.
-Check and fix leaky faucets.

-Clean and seal tile and grout.
-Make sure all toilets are properly secured to the floor.
-Check and fix leaky faucets and toilets.

-Check the attic for signs of moisture (i.e., water stains on the underside of the roof sheathing).
-Check all wooden materials for mildew and rot.
-Look for indications of a pest infestation.

Miscellaneous Interior
-Clean out ashes from the fireplace.
-Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors.
-Replace batteries in clocks.
-Clean furnace ducts.
-Change furnace filters.
-Check the main electrical panel for rust and/or water marks.
-Test circuit breakers.
-Inspect fire extinguisher.
-Check walls for condensation and mildew.