This is the time of year some residents begin to make plans to return to their summer homes.

When preparing to leave, local home watch companies can help with the planning.

Jeff Stack, owner of Home Watch Neighbor, has a list of things he recommends people do before leaving for the season.

“People need to prepare their homes when leaving the desert,” Stack said. “The number one thing for people to do is to make sure the water is off to the home. Water will cause the most damage of any other problem that could arise.”

Stack’s website,, features a number of videos demonstrating different things people can do to get their homes ready to leave.

Stack also provides services to help people who are away, including checking the home at least three times per month or every week, which are recommended by the Home Watch Alliance.

“I recognize people have budgets, so they might not want to have their home checked every week,” Stack said. “But best practice is three times a month, or once a week.”

Tammie Ott, who owns While You Were Gone, agreed that water can cause the most damage.

She described a home she had been servicing for several years that had a major water leak. A pipe had burst in the master bedroom upstairs. The result, in addition to the damage upstairs, was a completely collapsed ceiling downstairs.

“These are unusual occurrences, but they do happen,” Ott said. “It is part of the home watch business to help the homeowner with these kinds of things when they are not in Fountain Hills.”

Fountain Hills has a number of home watch businesses that provide a variety of services. For additional information, check the Fountain Hills Directory under “Home Watch Services.”