Florida draws an estimated 900,000 to one million seasonal residents, or “snowbirds,” every year. While there are many options for seasonal housing in Florida, manufactured and modular homes are popular and affordable options for many residents. At Jacobsen Homes, we not only help snowbirds find the perfect home, but we also share with them helpful information they need when moving in to a second home in Florida, or leaving that home for the summer.
Seasonal manufactured home owners want to ensure they secure their residences while they’re away. Here, we outline the steps you can take to protect your primary residence in winter and your manufactured home in Florida during the summer.
1. Secure Your Manufactured Home from Burglars
Install an alarm system on each of your homes and keep them in good working order. Consider installing security cameras or a full home surveillance system. Some models allow you to connect the cameras to an app on your phone. That way, you can keep an eye on your house whether you’re gardening, cooking a meal, or taking part in activities in the community.
It’s a good idea to set up motion-sensitive exterior lights and put interior lights on timers to prevent your home from appearing unoccupied. Secure external doors with deadbolt locks, and make sure to lock sliding doors and windows as well. Draw the curtains so thieves can’t peer inside.
Many manufactured home owners love to show off photos of their properties, but if you use social media, avoid posting any descriptions that hint that one of your homes is currently vacant. You don’t want to let potential thieves know that your house is unoccupied.
2. Prevent Water Damage Inside Your Home
Water damage is one of the most common sources of home damage when people go away for extended time periods. Most manufactured homes in Florida are built to withstand hurricanes and other severe weather. However, one way water damage can occur inside is if a pipe leaks or bursts. This risk is greatest for houses in colder parts of the country where pipes freeze. However, anytime you plan to spend more than a month away from your home wherever it’s located, consider turning off the water supply to prevent leaks or other plumbing issues. If you’re not comfortable doing this on your own, you can hire a licensed plumber.
3. Have Someone Watch Your Home
One advantage of manufactured home living is that you often live in a manufactured housing community. As a result, you’ll likely always have friends or neighbors who live in Florida all year and can keep an eye on your home during the summer. Similarly, while you’re visiting Florida in the winter, ask a trusted friend or relative to keep an eye on your primary home. This way, if anything out of the ordinary happens, you know your home is in good hands.
Exterior home maintenance is also important. Ask a friend or hire someone to shovel snow in the driveway at your primary residence in the winter so the house doesn’t look unoccupied. In the summer, schedule landscapers to mow the lawn around your manufactured home so it stays in compliance with any homeowners’ association guidelines. If you have a porch on your home, ask a friend or neighbor to sweep away any leaves or debris that accumulate.
4. Let Your Service Providers Know You’ll be Gone
When you change addresses for the season, remember to forward your mail a few days ahead of time. If possible, request bills and important notices by email. You should also stop newspaper deliveries at the vacant home and start them at the other residence. If you have someone watching your home, ask that person to pick up any packages or other items left at your door.
One reason people choose manufactured homes is that they’re energy efficient. But can the same be said for your permanent residence? Just in case, you should have a maintenance person check the heating, water, and electrical systems to make sure there are no issues that could result in high utility bills while you’re gone.
5. Be Prepared for an Emergency
While most seasonal residents travel between their homes for years without issues, it’s still best to make a plan in case of an emergency. Before you leave for the season, notify the local police department that your home will be vacant and provide them with your emergency contact numbers. Make sure to test the smoke detector.You should also give the person who’s keeping an eye on your home a key and alarm code so they can access the house in case of an emergency.
Start Dreaming of Your Seasonal Manufactured Home in Florida
Taking all of these precautions can sound overwhelming, but enjoying a nice, sunny winter day on the porch of your manufactured home will make the whole process worth it. Buying a manufactured home is a great, affordable option if you want to take advantage of the best seasons in both the northern and southern regions. Plus, when you decide to relocate permanently, you already have your retirement home in Florida ready and waiting for you. Contact us today to find out more about our manufactured home plans and communities.