If you’ve recently purchased a new home, leaving your old one on the market, you need to take care of your empty residence. Likewise, if you’re about to take a vacation while your house stays for sale, there are steps to take before leaving.

Follow these helpful guidelines on how to prepare your house for being empty while you’re away:

Check all the locks before you leave. Though this may sound like a giveaway, you need to check windows, doors, screens, garages and even sheds. If a lock seems loose or rusty, replace it or tighten it.

If you regularly turn your outdoor lights on, set them on a timer so that they continue to turn on each evening. Keep them off if they aren’t normally on. Set some of your indoor lights on a timer too so it looks like someone is home.

Trim your bushes and trees before leaving, especially if they rest right next to your house. This way, if anyone is trying to get in, they will be more noticeably visible.

Keep up with the yard work by watering flowers, mowing the lawn and cleaning out the gutters. If you’re on vacation, have a trusted friend do this work. Keep a key with this friend too in case anything happens while you’re away.

Ask a trusting neighbor to pick up your newspapers and mail while you’re gone, and to keep a watch on your home. You could also let the post office know you’ll be away so they hold onto your mail. If you have a new address, let them know immediately.

Purchase a programmable thermostat so that the temperature goes up and down when needed. Or, choose a steady temp to keep the thermostat at so the interior doesn’t get too warm or too cold. Consider the weather conditions before you leave.

Draw your blinds or curtains. This doesn’t allow anyone to take a sneak peek at your belongings and it will keep your interior at a more steady temperature without the sun.

Take perishable food items to your new home immediately. You don’t want the house to smell when potential buyers come to view it! If you’re vacationing, eat everything perishable before you leave or throw the remainders out.

Disconnect electrical items, including your TV, radio, toaster and anything you possibly can. Not only does this avoid fire damages, but it saves on energy too! You can even go as far as turning off your water heater or your water altogether. If you are trying to sell the home, however, potential buyers may want to check the water flow and temperature.

Have your phone calls forwarded to your cell phone or your new phone line. This is especially important if you’re trying to sell the home. You don’t want to miss calls from potential buyers!