Heading South for the Winter?

Dated: 01/10/2019

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If you’re a “snowbird” and headed south for the winter, there are some considerations you’ll want to make for your place up north. Below 10 things to remember to do before packing up your sunscreen and beach umbrella.

1.       Keep the heat on. As counterintuitive it might be to heat a place while no one’s there, you’ll want to be sure to keep the thermostat goes no lower than 55 F. There is a risk of frozen pipes if the temperature goes too low.

2.       Appliances can drain a lot or electricity, running up your utility bill. You can unplug any nonessential appliances like TV’s, microwaves, washers and dryers, Keurig machines, and spare refrigerators. Depending on how long you’ll be gone, you may want to also turn off your primary refrigerator, too, but don’t forget to leave the doors open and put baking soda inside to cut down on any odors. Do turn off the icemaker and empty the ice bin. If the power goes out, and the ice melts, there is a chance for water damage.

3.       Your mail, newspaper and package deliveries will need to be adjusted, depending on how long you’ll be away. The post office will hold mail for up to 30 days, so if you’re going to be gone longer than that it might make more sense to have it forwarded. Another option would be to have a friend or neighbor pick up the mail every couple of days and forward anything pertinent or timely to you at your other address weekly or biweekly. When it comes to newspaper and unexpected deliveries, consider having this same person watch your front door for them. A build up of newspapers in the driveway or an overflowing mail box is a tip off to intruders that the house is vacant.

4.       Notify your bank and credit card companies that you have a different address. Sometimes credit card companies will put a hold on accounts when charges occur from geographical areas that aren’t recognized.

5.       Bring copies of your prescriptions and pertinent medical records with you in case a trip to the doctor is necessary while you’re away. Before you go, have a visit with your doctor to ensure that all of your prescriptions are up to date, too.

6.       Depending on whether or not anyone will be in the home while you are away, some choose to shut of their water from the main valve. Others may choose to have a professional come in and have their pipes drained by a professional to minimize any leaks. In a case where someone might be checking in on the home from time to time, shutting off the valves to the washing machines, sinks and toilets will minimize any water damage should flooding occur. After fire, flooding is the next biggest risk to our homes.

7.       Be sure to close the flue to the chimney to keep out any unwanted guests like squirrels, bats or birds out of the house. Also be sure to check that there is a screen or guard over the top of the chimney, as this also keeps out animals.

8.       For general maintenance, clean the gutters and downspouts before you leave town, and be sure to have someone ready to plow the driveway and shovel the walkways while you’re away. Consider setting up multiple timers through out the house so it looks like someone is home and that the lights are going on or off at different times. If you’re leaving a car in the garage, consider over-inflating the tires a little and put fuel stabilizer in the gas tank. Have whoever is checking in on the house for you, also start up the car once in a while (with the garage door up, of course).

9.       Share your itinerary with a friend, neighbor or family member so that they know how to reach you while you are away. That said, don’t post your plans on social media: you never know who could be reading and who might discover that your house is empty all winter.

10.   If you’ll be gone through April 15th, remember to bring your pertinent tax information and important papers with you so you’ll be able to file your taxes on time.

Melissa Rolland is a Real Estate Salesperson and Realtor®, Accredited Home Stager, and author of the book Straight from the Kitchen Table: Every Day Real Estate. She lives in Tolland, CT along with her husband Todd, an Associate Broker and Realtor®. Together they manage the Rolland Realty Group powered by eXp Realty of CT, LLC. You can connect with them at www.RollandRealtyGroup.com or (866) 408-8059.“The statements and opinions contained in this article are solely those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the positions or opinions of EXP REALTY INTERNATIONAL, INC. or its subsidiaries or affiliates (the “Company”). The Company does not assume any responsibility for, nor does it warrant the accuracy, completeness or quality of the information provided.

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Melissa and Todd Rolland

Melissa Rolland is a real estate salesperson, accredited home stager and has been a real estate investor for over a decade, helping hundreds of homeowners buy houses, sell houses, and invest in real e....

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