Keeping Your 2nd Home Safe and Secure
At this time of year, clients often ask for pointers on how to close up their homes before they return “up north” for the warmer months. Following is an article we wrote for SWFL Health & Wellness magazine, for which we are the exclusive contributing real estate group. We thought it would be a timely post for our faithful readers!
Well, “Season” is in full-swing, and though it’s been a bit chilly, warm weather’s on its way and, so too in just a few months, will be our wonderful Florida snowbirds. We thought this would be a great time to remind everyone before they head up north of some tried-and-true ways to leave their place in the sun safe, secure, and ready for a warm and trouble-free welcome in the Fall:
- Continue having pest inspections and pest treatments while you are away.
- Continue to have your pool maintained/cleaned.
- Clean the gutters if you’ve got them. (Gutter covers are a great investment.)
- Cut back any branches hanging over your home.
- Take patio furniture and grill, tools, and all outside items off the lanai / out of the yard, and place them in a storage facility or inside your home.
- Have your postal and newspaper service stopped or forwarded.
- Close all windows and blinds.
- Put up your hurricane shutters.
- Completely clean out the refrigerator (including ice trays). Unplug the refrigerator and drain the ice maker hose. Prop open the refrigerator door. Also, unplug all other appliances. Drain all the faucets in the house.
- Close sink drains in the kitchen and in all bathrooms.
- Empty your cabinets, making sure to get rid of any and all food items. Please contact us to find out how you can donate your canned items! There are families here in Collier County who would benefit greatly from your generosity and we’re happy to help with the process.
- Take clothes and linens with you. If you must leave them, clean them and then store them in airy, sunlit rooms, in open-bottomed plastic bags like the kind you get from the drycleaner.
- Strip beds and remove slipcovers. Prop up pillows, cushions, and box springs for best ventilation.
- Drape furniture with plastic or old sheets.
- Turn off the ice maker.
- Put a tablespoon of vegetable oil in your dishwasher and don’t latch it.
- Put a ½- to ¾- cup of vegetable oil in the garbage disposal.
- Put a few buckets of water around (on towels if tile or carpeting) – the wood in your home will appreciate it!
- Leave a few boxes of baking soda in the kitchen, bathroom, and poorly ventilated utility areas.
- I personally feel that humidistats often fail and can lead to mold issues. I would rather keep the air on 74 and not deal with mold vs. 78 just to save $30 a month.
- Close the water supply valve under toilets.
- Close the washing machine hoses.
- Unplug/lock the garage door.
- Make arrangements for the utility company to turn off the natural gas. The water and propane will need to be turned off at the main line.
- Check the irrigation and water clock—change the battery, if it is time.
- Check all air filters to make sure they’re clean before leaving.
- Find someone local that you trust to check on your home while you are away. Be sure to give them a phone number to reach you in case of emergencies.