Are you a snowbird heading back north again soon? Refer to this handy home management services checklist to help you prepare your Florida property for your prolonged absence.

Are You a Snowbird?

Did you know that one of the very first snowbirds was John D. Rockefeller? He spent his winters in Ormond Beach, Florida from 1914. Since then, the Sunshine State’s population has boomed from October through May! For more than 100 years, snowbirds have enjoyed mild winters on the peninsula – increasing the population of Florida by over 5%.

Traditionally, winter visitors have been people over 55 years of age who migrated from the colder parts of North America to the balmy southern areas for winter. As careers became more mobile, the demographic got younger as more and more families started taking advantage of the opportunity to be digital nomads.

While the snowbird lifestyle may seem idyllic, there is a fair amount of effort required to maintain more than one home. Winter visitors have extensive checklists to complete before relocating.

Pre-Departure Home Checklist

As the end of snowbird season draws near, your Palm Beach County home needs to be prepared for the lengthy period it will be standing empty:

Secure Your Home

  • Check the validity of your insurance cover as many policies include fine print that stipulates conditions for covering an unoccupied property.
  • Cut back overgrown trees and bushes that could be used by criminals to hide or gain access to your property.
  • Check that your alarm system is in good working order and remember to activate it when you depart. An IoT security camera or similar smart device will stream a live feed for you to check every few days.
  • Install motion-sensor lights to the exterior of your home – above the garages, front entrance and windows, and at the door to the yard. Use timers to switch lights on and off as if you were home.
  • Mount deadbolts, sliding door side locks for, and other security measures as necessary.
  • Double check that all try points are locked, including access through the garage and windows. Lower window blinds and close your drapes.
  • Do not leave any spare keys outside your home – especially under a plant pot! Be sure not to leave any keys visible through the windows.
  • Lock away all movable objects from porches and patios and take valuables out of your home.
  • Cancel newspaper subscriptions, notify the post office for mail forwarding, and arrange to have your mailbox cleared.
  • Organize lawn maintenance during summer to make it look like your home is being lived in.

Or, rest easy knowing that FEMS’ home watch services will keep a close eye on your property with weekly inspections and proactive measures to rectify any issues as they arise.

Deter Pests

  • Schedule a professional pest control treatment before you leave.
  • Thoroughly clean your home– from the outdoor grill to the food trap in your dishwasher.
  • Dispose of all non-perishables or opened food and take out the trash.
  • Close up any access for pests – inspect, clean, and close your chimney, rechalk exterior door and window seals.

Or, leave this tedious task to the licensed, bonded, and insured home management services team at Florida Estate Management Services.

Safeguard Your Home from Water Damage and Related Issues

  • Turn off as much water as possible:
    • At the water mains if possible
    • Shut supply to non-vital sections of the house (leaving water for your fire sprinkler system or irrigation system)
    • To washing machines, toilets, sinks, and dish washers
    • If your hot water heater does not have a vacation mode, deactivate the heat source and shut off its water supply.
  • Turn off then drain outdoor faucets and hoses.
  • Open all faucets and flush all toilets to drain your pipes and relieve pressure in the lines.
  • Service your pool, hot tub, or spa and close it up for the season.
  • Clean out your gutters.
  • Inspect and repair your roof as required.

Or, let our home maintenance services and handyman services take care of it all for you.

Prepare the Interior of Your Residence

  • Test your smoke detectors and replace their batteries.
  • Either turn off the gas main or ensure your stove and oven are switched off.
  • Unplug all the electrical devices, including televisions, telephones, ice-machines, and so on.
  • But leave your air conditioners set to 70 – 85 degrees with the humidistat at 55 – 60% to prevent mold and mildew. While you are at it, clear the condensate drain line, replace the unit’s air filter, and service your dehumidifier.
  • Keep the air fresh by allowing circulation – leave quilts off beds, stand pillows upright, open closet and cabinet doors and furniture drawers.

Or, let FEMS’ home maintenance services team do the work for you and/or prepare for your arrival with our housekeeping and interior home care services.

If this checklist seems endless and exhausting, get in touch with Florida Estate Management Services to find out more about our full-spectrum home management services.