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Preparing Your Home for a Long-Term Stay Away: Tips for Florida Snowbirds

Florida snowbirds prepare home for departure

For many Florida snowbirds, the transition from one home to another is a seasonal routine. Proper preparation can prevent damage, deter intruders, and give you peace of mind. Here’s a comprehensive guide to preparing your home for an extended stay away.




1. Install a Home Security System:

· A reliable security system with cameras, motion detectors, and alarms can deter burglars. Choose a system that allows remote monitoring via your smartphone.

· Display signs indicating your home is protected by a security system to discourage potential intruders.


2. Smart Locks and Doorbell Cameras:

· Install smart locks to control access to your home remotely. Doorbell cameras can provide real-time notifications and footage of visitors.


3. Timers for Lights:

· Use timers to turn lights on and off, simulating occupancy. Smart plugs can also control other devices like radios or TVs, adding to the illusion.





4. HVAC System:

· Set your thermostat to maintain a temperature that keeps humidity at bay. Programmable thermostats can be adjusted remotely.

· Schedule HVAC maintenance before you leave to ensure it runs efficiently in your absence.


5. Water Supply:

· Turn off the main water supply to prevent leaks. Drain pipes and appliances to avoid water damage.

· Consider installing a leak detection system that alerts you to any water leaks.

· Turn off the hot water heater, this will save energy and help to reduce the possibility of water damage.


6. Electrical Appliances:

· Unplug non-essential appliances to protect them from power surges and reduce energy consumption. Leave only critical devices like the refrigerator plugged in.


7. Roof and Gutters:

· Clean gutters and inspect the roof for any damage or potential leaks. Ensure downspouts direct water away from the foundation.





8. Landscaping:

· Arrange for regular lawn maintenance to keep the property looking occupied. Overgrown lawns can signal an empty home.

· Trim trees and shrubs away from windows and roofs to prevent damage and deter hiding spots for burglars.


9. Outdoor Lighting:

· Install motion-sensor lights around your property. Well-lit exteriors can deter intruders.


10. Pool Maintenance:

· If you have a pool, arrange for regular maintenance to keep it clean and functional. A covered and well-maintained pool prevents algae buildup and mechanical issues.





11. Fridge and Pantry:

· Empty the refrigerator of perishable items to prevent spoilage and odors.

· Seal pantry items in airtight containers to prevent pests.


12. Pest Control:

· Conduct a thorough pest control treatment before leaving. Inspect for any potential entry points and seal them.


13. Secure Valuables:

· Store valuable items in a safe or deposit them in a safety deposit box. Avoid leaving expensive items in plain view from windows.


14. Mail and Deliveries:

· Forward your mail or put it on hold through the postal service. Stop newspaper deliveries to prevent them from piling up. USPS offers forwarding services directly through their website and Snowbird Services offers mail forwarding for individual items upon request.


15. Prepare Toilets:

· Your pipe system can be an entry point for unwanted bugs and pests, especially if the main water supply is turned off. Consider using plastic wrap to cover toilets during a long absence.





16. Hurricane Preparations:

· For Florida snowbirds, hurricane season is a significant concern. Secure outdoor furniture, shutters, etc., and ensure your home is prepared for potential storms.

· Review your homeowner’s insurance policy to ensure it covers storm-related damage.





17. Online Monitoring:

· Set up online accounts to monitor utility usage, home security, and any smart home devices.

· Use a secure VPN when accessing your home network remotely.


18. Automatic Payments:

· Set up automatic payments for bills to avoid missed payments and service interruptions.





19. Final Inspection:

· Conduct a final walkthrough of your home before leaving. Check that windows and doors are locked, lights and appliances are off, and all preparations are complete.





Preparing your home for a long-term stay away requires careful planning and attention to detail. By taking these steps, you can ensure your property remains secure, well-maintained, and ready for your return. As a Florida snowbird, peace of mind is essential, allowing you to enjoy your time at home without worrying about your Florida residence. Implement these tips and tricks to safeguard your home and make the most of your seasonal migration.


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