The time is coming time to leave SW Florida and return to your northern home. Among the things on your to-do list before you go, preparing your Florida home for an extended absence is among the most important. What type of preparations should you do to keep your home safe during your absence? There are many articles available on this topic. What is important to remember is that everything is a suggestion and it is up to each homeowner to prepare their home as they see fit.
Preparing Your Florida Home for An Extended Absence Includes Getting Organized
Creating a checklist of items to accomplish will help ensure that tasks are not missed. Group items into categories such as “exterior”, “interior”, “auto”, etc. To help get the list going I will provide a few of the items on an extensive list that we provide to our clients to help them in closing their home.
Prepare for Hurricane Season in Your Absence
In SW Florida it’s not a question of if we’ll experience a hurricane, but when will we experience a hurricane. For this reason, it is important to prepare your home before you leave. If allowed by your HOA, install hurricane shutters. Brace your overhead garage door. Remove all outdoor furniture, trashcans, yard ornaments, garden hoses, doormats, recreational equipment, and place inside. (A screened lanai is not considered inside.)
Even if we don’t experience a hurricane, you can be sure we will have some heavy rain and strong winds so attempt to make your home as waterproof as possible. A few suggestions to do this are: cleaning gutters, sealing where pipes and cables enter your home, sealing around windows and doors, and replacing loose or worn shingles or roof tiles. Another way to avoid water issues is by turning off the main water valve to your home.
The Interior of Your Home
Preparing the interior of your home can help avoid issues with mildew, mold, insects, and rodents. Make sure to have your air conditioning system serviced. Set your thermostat between 76 and 78 with the fan on auto and humidistat set between 50% and 55%. If your thermostat is battery operated, install a fresh battery. Turn ceiling fans on low and open closet and cabinet doors to increase circulation. Remove cereals, pastas and crackers from your cabinets and all perishables from your refrigerator and freezer. Empty your ice bin and turn off the ice maker.
Three More Important Items to Prep Your Home Before You Leave
Aside from ensuring that your mail is forwarded, and your lawn, pool and pest services continue there are three other important items to add to your to do list.
- First, check with your insurance agent to ensure that your home is covered while it is vacant.
- Second, take pictures of the outside of your home and inside of your home making sure they are time and date stamped. These can be helpful if needing to file an insurance claim.
- Third, engage the services of a Home Watch provider that is accredited by the National Home Watch Association. Have them perform a visit every week or every other week. They will be your eyes and ears during your absence looking for obvious issues so they can be addressed in a timely manner.
With proper planning and routine checks by a professional Home Watch service, you will have added peace of mind concerning your Florida home until you return. Safe travels!