Chasing Summer - Part 2! My Adventures As A Snowbird!
In just a couple of weeks, we'll be enjoying the snowbird life at the condo we are renting in North Myrtle Beach, SC!
If you haven't heard the news, since I'm working from home anyway, my husband and I decided to escape winter this year and spend a few months as snowbirds down in South Carolina. I've decided to document our adventure on my blog, as well as share some tips that we are discovering along the way.
Deciding to become snowbirds was the easy part. The hard part is getting ready to leave your home for four months. In today's blog post, I'll focus in on some of the things we are doing to make sure we can have peace of mind that our house will be fine while we're gone. So keep reading as I share the tips we've discovered along the way!
Who Is Going To Take Care Of My House?
The decision to go live at the beach for the winter felt great. Then reality sunk in. My house is going to be sitting empty for four months!
Of course the first thing that comes to mind is security. But when you start thinking about it, it's not just security but lots of other things. What if one of our pipes leaks? Who is going to shovel our snow? What if the power goes out?
Invest In A Security System
One of the first things we did when we made this decision was to invest in a security system. We had one many years ago, and ended up canceling it. Today's security systems are completely different then the one we had 20 years ago. They offer so much more than just a loud siren that goes off if someone breaks into your house.
The security system we invested in not only has sensors on all of the doors, it also has cameras that we can view from our phones. In addition, it has other features like automatic electronic locks for the doors, panic buttons and water detectors.
Tip #1: The security system we decided to invest in is from SimpliSafe. We found it to be the most comprehensive, and you can install all of the equipment yourself. There are tons of different options, so you can go all out or keep it basic. We even were able to get smoke detectors and CO monitors that all tie into the system as well.
Like A Good Neighbor... State Farm Is There!
We are extremely lucky that we have really good next door neighbors. The best part is that they are home all the time. And when I say all the time, I mean all the time!
The second best part is that an old school "Italian Mom" lives next door, who spends 90% of her time in her kitchen. And their kitchen window faces right into our house.
Tip #2: Make sure you have a trusted neighbor or two that knows you will be gone. Not only can they keep an eye on things, but they can check in on the house when needed.
Get A House Sitter
When we first came up with this idea, we weren't considering renting our house out to anyone. We have a lot of stuff in our house, and it would have taken a lot of work to get the house to a point where we could rent it to a stranger. It just didn't make sense.
It never even crossed our mind that someone we knew might want to stay at our house. But to our surprise, we actually had a couple of people that are friends/relatives that were interested in staying in our house while we are gone. This is really the best of both worlds. We have the peace of mind that someone will be living in our house for the next few months, and they have a place to stay.
Tip #3: If you have college age or just out of college age friends/family, consider checking with them to see if they'd like to stay at your house. With students going to school remotely or young people working remotely, they may be looking for a place to live on their own - away from their parents - where the rent is cheap.
Is Anybody Home?
If you opt not to have anyone line in your house, make sure you do everything you can to make it look like someone is in your house. Consider things like timers that shut your lights on and off. Ask friends to come over from time to time to check things inside the house. Something as simple as just having their car in the driveway for a couple of hours every week can be a big help.
Tip #4: In addition to stopping your mail and newspaper, think about other things that get delivered to your house. We have a weekly ad circular that gets thrown in our driveway. There was a toll free number on the packaging and I called and asked for delivery to be stopped. Be sure to ask a neighbor or friend to check around your house regularly for things that might be sitting around.
How Will I Be Away From Friends And Family For So Long?
Being away from friends and family is never easy, but the idea of it is much easier right now. Let's face it. We only see a small circle of friends right now on a sporadic basis and we really don't see our family at all. We don't live close to our parents or siblings anyway. And with our parents being older and high risk, we haven't felt safe spending time with them.
In addition, we are very lucky that our travels over the years have meant that we have friends all over the world. We're actually looking forward to spending time with friends that live in South Carolina while we are there.
The Holidays Will Look a Little Different This Year
I'm sure the holidays will look different for most people this year. Holidays are always a little tricky for us, as my family lives here on the East Coast now and my husband's family still lives back in Ohio. We have had to alternate holidays for years - Thanksgiving in one place and Christmas in the other, then flip the next year.
Regardless of this snowbird move, we have made the decision this year to not participate in any large family holiday gatherings. That means that Thanksgiving dinner will be just the two of us at our house this year. We'll actually probably spend most of it packing, since we plan to start making our way to South Carolina the next day.
Christmas is still up in the air. We are due to go to Ohio, but neither of us are sure about getting on an airplane right now. And let's be honest. Would you rather spend Christmas on the beach or in snowy Toledo?
Tip #5: Even though we haven't been able to spend much time with our parents right now, it is important to use to be able to be there for them if we need to be. That's part of the reason we chose South Carolina as our snowbird residence. While we would have loved to have spent winter in some place like Jamaica, we just didn't want to take the chance that we couldn't get back to our parents if we needed to. Getting in our car and driving to them from South Carolina might be long, but it can 100% be done no matter the circumstances. Flying to them from another country may not be possible on short notice - particularly if things continue to get worse with COVID-19 and borders shut down again.
So Let's Go!
Now that we have everything lined up with our house while we're gone, the only thing left to do is pack and go! In my next installment, I'll share with you some tips around what I'm packing. Talk to you soon!
Are you a snowbird? I'd love to hear about your experience! Comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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