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Old 11-21-2011, 08:47 AM
 
4 posts, read 1,862 times
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Question Non 55+ Community Snow Birds need advice

I was wondering if there is anyone on the forums, not living in an Active Adult Community, who are presently snow birds. We plan on spending another year or two here before we move permanently and want to keep our present (non-community) home. We are looking for advice.

Not everyone has family or someone dependable nearby to check on things during those months the house is empty and we would like to hear about the services you use. Snow removal so the home looks occupied? Check on the furnace, water, doors and windows? Do you take out Vacant Property Insurance? What have you found to be the average cost? We have many questions and no answers.

Thanks, Chris
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:24 AM
 
1,393 posts, read 2,402,892 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orangebitters View Post
I was wondering if there is anyone on the forums, not living in an Active Adult Community, who are presently snow birds. We plan on spending another year or two here before we move permanently and want to keep our present (non-community) home. We are looking for advice.

Not everyone has family or someone dependable nearby to check on things during those months the house is empty and we would like to hear about the services you use. Snow removal so the home looks occupied? Check on the furnace, water, doors and windows? Do you take out Vacant Property Insurance? What have you found to be the average cost? We have many questions and no answers.

Thanks, Chris
Snow removal is usually handled by landscaping services.

A thought you may want to look into is motion-sensing webcams that can send you an email if they detect something inside the house. Of course, that means the house needs to maintain an internet connection, but it would probably be cheaper than hiring someone to check in on the house.
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SweepTheLeg View Post
Snow removal is usually handled by landscaping services.

A thought you may want to look into is motion-sensing webcams that can send you an email if they detect something inside the house. Of course, that means the house needs to maintain an internet connection, but it would probably be cheaper than hiring someone to check in on the house.
I suspected as much with the snow removal but the webcam scheme is very interesting and there is a constant internet connection. We even considered an alarm service but that wouldn't alert us to a tree through a window or a broken water heater. Thanks!
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orangebitters View Post
I suspected as much with the snow removal but the webcam scheme is very interesting and there is a constant internet connection. We even considered an alarm service but that wouldn't alert us to a tree through a window or a broken water heater. Thanks!
Depending on the sensors, the alarm could trip if a window is broken due to a tree.

As for the broken water heater, why would this be a big deal if no one is in the house? Pipes freezing would be more of a HVAC issue, not a water heater issue. As long as you have the heat set to 50-55 in the house and the water heater turned down to the "vacation" setting, you'd be fine.

As for the property insurance, I'd talk to your insurance company. Homeowner's covers the house whether you are there or not. Snowbirds I've talked to do not have a vacant policy, because they return to the house.

If you're going to have possessions in the house, I think you need to keep your homeowners. I think vacant policy is for truly vacant houses (nothing in there) - but talk to your insurance company, because each policy is different.
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:53 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SweepTheLeg View Post
As for the broken water heater, why would this be a big deal if no one is in the house? Pipes freezing would be more of a HVAC issue, not a water heater issue. As long as you have the heat set to 50-55 in the house and the water heater turned down to the "vacation" setting, you'd be fine.
We have had the water heater suddenly spring a leak and fill the basement with about 2" of water before we ever heard it. We have two freezers and the washer/dryer down there. So, thinking of all that could go wrong, this springs (no pun intended ) to mind.

We have also had a tree land on my father-in-law's empty home and the water damage would have been severe had a neighbor not contacted the family.

Critters made their way into the garage at my father's empty home and rain water began to seep into the basement due to a clogged rain gutter. These were found by prospective buyers viewing the home.

Maybe we're just being overly concerned. I would love to hear how others have fared under similar arrangements.
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:29 AM
 
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If you search on "house sitting" on google, you'll get some local results that pop up. It sounds like, with the concerns you have, you want an actual human checking on the house every couple of weeks.
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:31 AM
 
Location: Vermont
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I just shut off the main water when we leave, and drain the pipes, it takes 3 minutes. I set the heat to 55 or so. If you were REALLY leaving for a longer period of time, I think people drainthe water heater, pour glycol in the toilets and shut off the heat.
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Vermont
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You need snow removal if you have sidewalks also. Not necessarily to look like it is occupied.
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SweepTheLeg View Post
If you search on "house sitting" on google, you'll get some local results that pop up. It sounds like, with the concerns you have, you want an actual human checking on the house every couple of weeks.
I think we may have to go the house sitter route, thanks for your advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by joe moving View Post
You need snow removal if you have sidewalks also. Not necessarily to look like it is occupied.
Sounds like not having sidewalks may be to our advantage! Just a driveway. Thanks for the winterizing advice, too. I'm looking forward to our new lifestyle outside of Jersey.
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:57 AM
 
1,393 posts, read 2,402,892 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe moving View Post
I just shut off the main water when we leave, and drain the pipes, it takes 3 minutes. I set the heat to 55 or so. If you were REALLY leaving for a longer period of time, I think people drainthe water heater, pour glycol in the toilets and shut off the heat.
Yeah, I was gonna recommend this, swamp gas in toilets is nasty.

I'm sure if you google snowbird with some other parameters, some other tips will pop up.
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