As the leaves begin to fall and the chill of winter descends upon the northern states, snowbirds prepare to migrate south to their second homes in sunny Florida. For these seasonal residents, the allure of escaping the frigid temperatures and enjoying the Florida sunshine is irresistible, even if you need to turn on the air conditioner.

However, owning a second home comes with responsibilities, especially when you’re away for an extended period and have an alarm system.

To ensure your Florida home remains safe, well-maintained, and ready for your arrival, a seasonal checklist is essential. This guide will help you through the must-do tasks to keep your Florida abode in top shape while you’re away.

Checklist Before Leaving Your Northern Home

Before embarking on your winter escape to your Florida home, it’s crucial to properly prepare your northern residence for an extended absence, like turning off the water supply. Here’s a checklist to ensure you leave your home in good shape and with peace of mind:

Secure Your Northern Home

  • Lock all doors and windows securely, taking extra care with exterior doors or sliding doors
  • Activate your security system if you have one
  • Inform a trusted neighbor or friend about your departure and ask them to keep an eye on your property. This is on top of having an alarm system. They can spot things like if you forgot to turn off the water supply.
  • Assign a few tasks to your neighbouring, including the responsibility to keep watch on things like humidity levels

Mail and Deliveries

  • Forward your mail to your Florida address or a trusted friend or family member’s address
  • Suspend newspaper and mail delivery services to avoid accumulation


  • Adjust your thermostat to a suitable lower temperature to conserve energy. This includes caring for the air conditioner condensation line.

thermostat in house

  • Turn off non-essential lights and unplug electronics to prevent energy wastage like an unused air conditioner
  • Shut off the main water supply to prevent potential plumbing leaks from the hot water heater and the pipes. This will reduce the need for plumbing maintenance tasks or checking in on toilet tanks. Overflowing toilet tanks can be a danger to your home, just as opening windows to allow cool air can leave room for break-ins.

Appliance and Electronics

  • Empty the refrigerator of perishable items
  • Clean out your pantry to remove any food items that may attract pests
  • Unplug small appliances and electronic devices to avoid power surges


  • Thoroughly clean your home to prevent mold and pests
  • Empty trash cans and dispose of garbage
  • Ensure no dishes or food are left in the sink or on countertops
  • Clean and cover toilet bowls so no toilet bowls attract unwanted pests while you’re at your Florida residence

Home Insurance and Documents

  • Review and ensure your homeowner’s insurance policy is up to date
  • Create copies of important documents and store them in a secure location
  • Take photos or videos of your home’s contents for insurance purposes


  • If leaving a vehicle at your northern home, ensure it’s in good working condition
  • Consider asking a neighbor or friend to periodically start the vehicle to prevent issues from sitting idle

Checklist When You Arrive at Your Florida Home

Home Inspection

  • Conduct a thorough walkthrough of your Florida home to ensure there are no visible issues like the water or heating system
  • Check for signs of pests, leaks, or damage that may have occurred during your absence

Security and Utilities

  • Activate your security system if you have one

door with five locks

  • Adjust the thermostat to a comfortable temperature
  • Turn on the water supply and check for any plumbing issues, including the hot water heater

Cleaning and Essentials

  • Clean and dust the interior to make it welcoming
  • Stock up on essentials like groceries, toiletries, and cleaning supplies
  • Check that your appliances are functioning correctly

Pest Control

  • Consider scheduling a pest control service if you notice any signs of pests
  • Seal any potential entry points to prevent future infestations

Lawn and Garden

  • Arrange for lawn and garden maintenance if needed
  • Trim overgrown vegetation and make sure the exterior is well-kept


  • If you left a vehicle at your Florida home, ensure it’s ready for use, including checking the tires and battery

Emergency Contact List

  • Update your emergency contact list to include local services and neighbors
  • Share this list with a trusted friend or neighbor in Florida

Hurricane Preparedness

  • Ensure you have the necessary supplies for hurricane preparedness if you’re arriving during hurricane season
  • Check storm shutters and secure outdoor furniture

The Benefits of Hiring a Professional Home Watch Service

While managing the seasonal upkeep of your Florida home is essential, it can become a daunting task, especially if you live thousands of miles away for almost half a year. This is where professional Home Watch Services like Income Realty Home Watch come into play.

two people shaking hands

Here are some of the significant benefits of entrusting your Florida home to a professional service in the winter:

Peace of Mind

One of the primary advantages of hiring a professional Home Watch service is the peace of mind it brings.

Knowing that a team of experts is regularly inspecting your property can alleviate the stress associated with maintaining a second home from afar. You can relax and enjoy your time in Florida without worrying about potential issues.

Preventative Maintenance

Professional Home Watch services, like Income Realty Home Watch, conduct routine inspections to identify and address potential problems before they escalate.

Whether it’s a leaky pipe, a malfunctioning HVAC system, or pest infestations, early detection and intervention can save you from costly repairs in the long run. Using things like DampRids can also help take care of your property while you’re away.

Timely Response to Emergencies

In case of unexpected emergencies, such as storm damage or break-ins, professional Home Watch services are equipped to respond promptly. They can coordinate with local authorities and service providers to mitigate damage and secure your property.

Customized Services

Services like Income Realty Home Watch offer customizable packages to cater to your specific needs. Whether you need weekly inspections, storm preparedness, or concierge services, you can tailor their offerings to suit your requirements.

Mail and Package Management

Home Watch services can manage your mail and packages on your behalf while you’re away, ensuring that your mailbox doesn’t overflow and draw unwanted attention.

black mailbox

They can forward mail to your second home or hold it securely until your return.

Vendor Coordination

Coordinating with service providers and contractors for maintenance and repairs can be challenging when you’re not physically present. Home Watch services often have a network of trusted professionals they work with, making it easier to schedule and oversee necessary work.

Regular Property Reports

Professional Home Watch services provide detailed reports after each inspection. These reports can include photographs and descriptions of any issues found, giving you a comprehensive view of your property’s condition.

Home Insurance Compliance

Home insurance policies may require regular property checks during extended periods of vacancy. Hiring a professional service like Income Realty Home Watch can ensure you remain compliant with your policy’s terms, avoiding potential coverage issues.

Home Improvement Projects

If you’re considering home improvement or renovation projects while you’re away, Home Watch services can oversee the work on your behalf. This ensures that the project is completed to your specifications and in a timely manner.

Bottom Line

While managing a second home from a distance can be challenging, the benefits of hiring a professional Home Watch service, such as Income Realty Home Watch, are substantial. Their expertise, customized services, and dedication to maintaining and securing your property can make your winter getaway in Florida even more enjoyable.

Contact Income Realty Home Watch today so you can fully embrace the snowbird lifestyle, knowing that your Florida home is in capable hands.

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