Planning To Be A Snowbird When You Retire? Here Are A Few Tips For Managing Two Homes

One of the great things about being a snowbird with a winter home in a warm southern location, is you can carry on with your usual life without worrying about hotel restrictions. When you go to your warm locale for the winter, you can putter in your yard, grow plants, entertain, and decorate your home any way you wish. However, the downside to owning homes in two geographic locations is the property maintenance when you're away. Here are a few tips for winterizing your northern home so it is safe and sound until you return in the spring.

Turn Off Water

Turning off the water is one of the most important things you can do. You sure don't water pouring into your home for weeks or months at a time if you develop a leak. Not only that, if the winter is extreme, your pipes might freeze and burst. You can avoid those problems by turning off your water and draining all your pipes.

Limit Electrical Use

Don't waste electricity while you're gone. Unplug every appliance in your home. You may be able to arrange for the power company to shut off the power to your home for a few months, but consider if that is a good idea. With your power left on, you can run your HVAC system, alarms, and security lights. A dark house for weeks on end is a sign your house is sitting empty, and this may encourage burglars.

Lower Your Furnace Settings

Lower the thermostat, so your furnace runs on a low setting to protect your belongings from freezing temperatures and changes in humidity. Maintaining climate control might also help prevent mildew and musty odors since your home will be closed up tight for a few months.

Secure Your Home

Install a good security system for your home. One with video surveillance is a good idea, because that allows you to check on your home any time you want, even when you are miles away. Consider putting some lights on timers or programs that turn them on and off at random times of the day so it looks like someone is home. Make sure all your doors and windows are securely locked before you leave.

Property Maintenance

Unless you have a family member or good friend who will check on your home on a regular basis, it is a good idea to hire a company to take care of your property maintenance while you are away. It is definitely worth the expense. The company keeps up with yard maintenance and fixing things—such as a busted window—so your property doesn't look abandoned.

The company can do as little or as much as you want, so this helps you control the cost. If you will be gone during the spring months when your landscaping grows wild, it is good to have someone you trust to keep your yard under control, so you don't get in trouble with your neighbors. During heavy winter snows and storms, it gives you peace of mind knowing someone is checking on your house and roof, so damage can be repaired right away.

When you leave your warm winter retreat and head back to your home in the north, you'll have to reverse the process so your southern home is safe and protected until you return. It may seem like a lot of work, but you'll find it's worth it to be able to enjoy life as a snowbird.


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