Close your Nantucket Home For the Off-season

Tips on Preparing Your Nantucket Home for the Off-season

As the leaves begin to turn and the air grows crisp, vacation rental homeowners in picturesque locations like Nantucket are faced with the task of closing their property for the off-seasons of fall and winter. How do you close a coastal property vacation home for the season, you might ask? It's a process that requires careful attention to detail and forward planning to ensure that your property remains in top condition, even when you're not there to oversee it. We'll walk through the essential steps and share expert tips on how to prepare your Nantucket vacation home for the off-season, while also setting the stage for maintenance and upgrades that will enhance its appeal and functionality for years to come.

HVAC Checkup

As temperatures start to dip, give your home's HVAC system a full checkup to avoid any heating or cooling hiccups. Book a pro to inspect and fix any sneaky issues, swap out air filters to keep the system breathing easy, and program your thermostat to a cool-but-safe 55 degrees to keep those pipes from freezing without burning through your wallet. Don't forget to add antifreeze — it gets cold in Nantucket!

Check that your insulation is snug around the ducts and clear any clutter from around the units for top-notch airflow.

If your system is getting on in years, chatting with your tech about an energy-efficient upgrade could be a smart move for smoother, cost-effective winters ahead.

Roof and Gutters

When prepping your rental property for a severe winter, it's essential to prioritize roof and gutter maintenance. Start with a thorough roof inspection to fix any vulnerabilities, such as damaged shingles or inadequate flashing, which could invite leaks.

To combat the risk of ice dams, install heating cables and ensure your attic is well-insulated and ventilated, promoting an even temperature that discourages ice formation.

Gutter upkeep is equally crucial; clean out debris to facilitate proper drainage and secure them firmly to the house to handle the extra weight of snow and ice. Adding gutter guards can also be a wise move to prevent clogging.

Lastly, establish a snow removal plan with professionals to regularly clear your roof, preventing dangerous snow accumulation that could compromise the structural integrity of your home.

By managing these elements diligently, your vacation home’s roof and gutters will be well-equipped to withstand the winter onslaught.


Winter-proofing your investment property’s landscape will safeguard its charm and preserve its curb appeal. Begin with a thorough trim; enlist a landscaper to prune back trees and bushes, especially those looming over your home to fend off limb damage from snow or wind. Protect your tender perennials and at-risk shrubs with burlap wraps or a thick layer of mulch to shield them from the frost and snow.

Next, thoroughly drain your irrigation system and any outdoor plumbing like showers and faucets to prevent frozen and burst pipes — winter is notorious for turning minor leaks into major headaches. If you have an outdoor shower, make sure it's not just drained but also insulated to withstand the cold.

Don't let your outdoor furnishings become victims of winter's fury. Store them away or secure them with durable covers to protect against the elements. The same goes for your planters; the ones too bulky to move should be wrapped up snug to prevent cracking.

Lastly, give your lawn some TLC — this means aerating it for better drainage and applying a winter fertilizer to reinforce the roots. This little bit of prep means you'll be greeted by a lush, green lawn when the warmer weather rolls back around.

Taking these steps not only keeps the outside areas of your property in top shape but also ensures a drama-free comeback to your vacation haven.

Pest Control

Ensuring your vacation home is pest-free when you return is a non-negotiable aspect of closing it for the season. Start with a thorough inspection from a pest control expert. They can identify potential issues and take preemptive action, giving you peace of mind while you're away.

Next up, fortify your home against tiny invaders by sealing up any cracks and gaps. Pay special attention to unnoticed entry points like where pipes and wires enter the house. If you're leaving any food behind, it needs to be in secure, airtight containers to avoid enticing pests with an easy feast.

Moisture is a pest magnet, so tackle any leaks and ensure your property has adequate airflow. A dehumidifier can work wonders in damp-prone areas like basements. Also, keep the perimeter of your home clear of leaves and debris, which are perfect hideouts for pests.

Applying preventative treatments both inside and outside forms an invisible shield against insects and rodents. And for continuous protection, consider setting up a contract with a pest control service for regular checks and treatments throughout the off-season. This way, you'll ensure that your investment remains as inviting to you as it is uninviting to pests.

Exterior Maintenance

The exterior of your rental isn’t just the most visible aspect of your property; it’s also the first line of defense against the elements. That’s why it’s crucial to give particular attention to preserving it, ensuring it remains in great shape for years to come. A well-maintained exterior starts with a paint job that does more than beautify — it protects. Inspect your siding and trim for any signs of wear that could let in water, leading to mold or structural damage, especially during the winter months.

Make sure your windows and doors are properly sealed with fresh weather-stripping to prevent drafts and deter pests. Check the foundation for cracks that could become serious issues if water enters and freezes. As mentioned before, keep gutters clean to avoid overflow that can damage your home's structure. Applying a water-repellent sealant to your wood decks and porches will protect them from the ravages of the weather.

Don’t forget to inspect and repair any cracks in your driveway and pathways to prevent further damage from the freeze-thaw cycle.

By focusing on these exterior elements, you’re not just maintaining the curb appeal of your vacation home; you’re taking critical steps to protect your investment for the long haul.

Indoor Cleaning

When closing your vacation home for the season, remember that the interior is often the most scrutinized aspect if you rent it out. It's the space where guests spend the majority of their time and form their impressions. As such, comprehensive indoor cleaning is not just a nicety — it's an imperative for maintaining your rental's reputation and ensuring guest satisfaction.

Begin the process with a deep clean of carpets and upholstery, which are fundamental to a fresh and inviting atmosphere. Professional cleaning can remove the embedded dirt and odors that might otherwise linger and disappoint future guests. Every surface should be dusted and wiped down with disinfectant, particularly in high-use areas like kitchens and bathrooms, to leave a spotless environment that also curbs the growth of mold and bacteria.

Window treatments also demand attention; clean curtains and blinds contribute significantly to the overall cleanliness and aesthetic of your home. With linens and bedding, ensure they are freshly laundered and, if you're storing them, sealed to protect against dust and pests. Remove all trash and food items to prevent any unwelcome surprises upon your return.

By prioritizing a pristine interior, you not only safeguard the condition of your home during the off-season but also uphold a standard of quality that guests will appreciate and remember.

It’s a critical investment into your home’s appeal and longevity, guaranteeing that each season begins with stellar reviews and the promise of a well-cared-for getaway.

Maintenance Updates

The off-season is an opportune time to consider maintenance updates that will keep your property fresh and appealing for the next round of guests. This is about going beyond mere repairs and looking at enhancements that could elevate the guest experience.

Start with a critical assessment of your current furnishings and decor. Replace any worn or outdated furniture pieces that could detract from your rental's charm. Fresh coats of paint in living spaces can dramatically uplift the ambiance. For decor, consider the latest trends while still ensuring that the style remains timeless and inviting.

Upgrading appliances is another area that can have substantial impact. Modern, energy-efficient models not only look better but also offer improved functionality and reduce utility costs. Look for signs of wear in your kitchen and laundry appliances, and upgrade if they’re not up to par with the expectations of discerning guests.

Technology updates are also worth considering. Entertainment systems such as smart TVs add an extra layer of comfort for guests. Smart locks can provide both you and your guests with added security and convenience.

Lastly, don’t forget the small details that contribute to a guest's overall experience. Replace any chipped dishes or glassware, upgrade linens and towels if they show any signs of wear, and stock up on any consumable items like light bulbs and batteries.

By thoughtfully updating and maintaining your vacation home, you ensure it remains competitive in the rental market and continues to garner positive reviews. Moreover, these improvements signal to guests that you are invested in their comfort, which can lead to repeat bookings and recommendations.

Additional Considerations

Inventory Update

An up-to-date inventory is not only critical for insurance claims but also helps in maintaining the integrity of your vacation home. Go room by room, documenting each item with photos and a detailed description. Pay special attention to new acquisitions, antiques, and high-value electronics. This meticulous approach ensures that you have a comprehensive record that reflects the current state of your home's contents.

Insurance Check-In

Before locking up, reassess your insurance policy. Make sure it is not only current but also encompasses any new risks associated with being unoccupied during the off-season. This might include coverage for natural disasters common to the area, vandalism, or damage from undetected repairs needed. If necessary, update your policy to reflect any new valuables documented in your inventory or changes in property value following upgrades.

Property Manager Check-In

Hiring a property manager as caretaker can be your eyes and ears while you're away. They can provide regular checks to ensure the property remains secure, immediately report any issues, and manage emergency situations like storm damage or security alarms. This proactive step can make a world of difference in preventing small problems from becoming big ones.

Moisture Control

Moisture can be a silent destroyer within a closed-up property. Manage humidity levels by strategically placing dehumidifiers in areas prone to moisture, like basements or bathrooms. These devices will keep the air dry and discourage the growth of mold and mildew, which can cause health issues and structural damage over time.

Fire Safety

Fire safety checks are non-negotiable. Verify that smoke detectors have fresh batteries and are in working order. Check the expiration date on fire extinguishers and replace or service them if needed. Remember, a small investment in fire safety can prevent significant loss and damage.

Seasonal Décor

Outdoor elements can be harsh on seasonal decor and furniture. Clean, cover, or store items such as patio furniture, grills, and decorative lights to protect them from the winter weather. This not only preserves their condition for next season but also prevents them from becoming projectiles during storms or turning into habitats for pests.



Knowing how to close a vacation home for the season involves a multi-faceted approach that touches on everything from HVAC care to security. By following these steps, not only do you protect your investment during the colder months, but you also set the stage for upgrades and improvements that will keep guests coming back year after year. Remember, a well-maintained property is a profitable one. So, close it with care, plan for the future, and rest easy knowing your Nantucket vacation home will be ready to welcome you and your guests with open arms when the warm breezes return.

If you are a current Nantucket rental property owner and would Iike to list your home with me, or discuss updates for your home, or find a reputable local service provider, please feel free to contact me.

Work With Bernadette

Bernadette’s experience, diligence, and professionalism has earned her the distinction of being one of Nantucket’s top producing real estate brokers.

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