Each year, thousands of “snowbirds” escape their snowy landscapes to spend time in the warmer southern states during the winter. While some people choose to rent for years, others purchase a second home that eventually becomes their permanent residence. Whatever the case, this type of seasonal migration offers the best of both worlds: It lets snowbirds maintain connections with family and friends in their hometown while enjoying new scenery for a few months out of the year. If you think you’re ready to become a snowbird, consider these essential tips.
Moving to a second home in a warmer state requires preparation, and it starts with winterizing your northern house. This may include suspending services for the season and shutting off the water, which could help minimize the risk of flooding and water damage. Consider turning down the heat, too, but do not turn the heat off or your water pipes could freeze.
It’s important to prep your appliances and car, as well. Depending on how long you’ll be away, consider unplugging the fridge to reduce energy costs. Don’t forget to throw out perishables and leave the fridge doors open to prevent mildew. Be sure to unplug other electronics and appliances to prevent “vampire” usage and reduce fire risk.
You may also want to forward mail and stop any regular deliveries, such as newspapers, magazines or subscription boxes. Consider logging onto the USPS website to forward your mail, which can be done for up to one year.
Perform routine maintenance by having your heating system inspected and serviced by a professional. If applicable, don’t forget to get your chimney inspected and close the flue. This can help keep out any unwanted pests such as squirrels, birds and bats.
Additionally, don’t forget to inform the neighbors that you’ll be leaving. It may be beneficial to have someone nearby to keep a watchful eye on your house. Be sure to give them your emergency contact information and the date on which you’ll return.
Take all medications, prescriptions and eyeglasses with you. If you need to arrange for houseplant care, consider asking your neighbors, friends or family. It may also be wise to notify the police department that the property will be vacant for a while and provide emergency contact information.
Following these steps may seem overwhelming, but it’s essential in order to ensure peace of mind before you make your move. The accompanying resource provides more tips to ensure a successful snowbird retirement in a sunny and warm climate. Courtesy of Transport Advisers.