Do you own an empty home in Florida? Or are you thinking of moving and leaving your current residence unoccupied? Maybe your home is going through a major renovation?
Whatever the reason, it’s important to understand how to properly protect your Florida house while it’s vacant. No matter the city, town, or neighborhood, and empty house is a prime target for thieves and vandals. We hope these 11 Tips to Protect a Vacant Home in Florida After Moving will help put your mind at ease and protect what’s important to you.
Tip #1 – Lock and Secure Your Windows and Doors
Okay, first off it’s essential that you lock all your windows and doors in the house before moving. It’s pretty obvious but a lot of homeowners forget to check the locks due to a chaotic and stressful move. Most homeowners in Florida looking to move out of their house are not only in a hurry to get to their new place, but are also busy directing movers or loading a truck. Be sure to double check the locks. It’s one of the most important steps you can take to protect your current home when moving to a new house.
Tip #2 – Ask a Friend or Neighbor for Help
Are you moving far away? Maybe to another state? Homeowners looking to relocate to a new city or state should leave an extra key with a trusted neighbor, friend, or family member who lives nearby. That way you can let someone in the house, like a contractor or police officer, in case of emergencies.
Tip #3 – Don’t Forget About Your Yard
It’s easy to forget about the outside of your house when relocating or selling. But don’t let the yard get run down! The last thing you want when showing your house to prospective buyers is dead grass, dying plants or fallen tree limbs in the front yard. If you have a yard man or landscape team, we recommend hiring them to mow your lawn on a regular basis. It’s also a good idea to have an automatic sprinkler system that will water your plants. Finally, have a friend or neighbor stop by to check on your yard every week or so to make sure everything is okay.
Tip #4 – Utilize Smart Home Technology
If you don’t already have motion detector lights outside, it’s strongly recommended having them installed before you move. Afterall, a thief is less likely to break into your home at night when there is a bright spotlight on them. These exterior motion activated lights will turn on if and when someone walks around your property. It’s a good idea to have a set of lights over the garage doors, front door, windows and sides of the house. Don’t forget about the back of the home, as well as any porches or decks you have.
Tip #5 – Don’t Leave Your Valuables Lying Around
Planning to stage your home with furniture and belongings while you’re gone? If this is your plan, be sure to take all valuables with you. Valuables include expensive TVs and electronics, valuable artwork, expensive furniture and jewelry. If staging your empty home with furniture, we recommend utilizing used or rented furnishings. You can also head to donation sites, such as Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity, to find simple living room furniture and kitchen items for staging.
Tip #6 – Display Home Security Signs Outside
Even if you decide to disconnect your alarm system (which we don’t recommend), you should keep your security system signs out front. Most burglars and bad guys won’t attempt a break-in if they think the home is armed with an alarm system. Security system signs include anything from window decals to yard signs. If you don’t already have signage, we recommend contacting your security system company to have them sent to your house.
Tip #7 – Keep Your Alarm System On!
Speaking of security systems, it’s a good idea to keep your existing alarm system connected after moving out. Given that most monthly monitoring plans only cost between $15 and $30, we think it’s well worth the peace of mind. Make sure the alarm system is connected to the police department. This way, if your alarm does go off, the police will come to the house, instead of waiting on you to call 911. You may also want to consider giving a good friend or neighbor in town your alarm code – just in case someone needs to get inside to turn it off.
Tip #8 – Have a Reliable Handyman on Call
Have a handyman near your former home? Be sure his or her number is in your phone. From emergencies to general home maintenance, it’s a good idea to have a trustworthy handyman on call. This way, in case of leaking faucets, kitchen appliance problems or other simple home repairs, you’ll have someone nearby who can quickly and efficiently fix your problems. After all, if you’re showing your home to potential buyers, you don’t want to show them a house that’s falling apart.
Tip #9 – Leave a Parked Car in the Driveway
If you’re no longer living in your house, it’s important to make it look like you’re still there. Burglars are more likely to break into a home when the residents are away. By temporarily parking a car in the driveway, you’ll be adding an extra layer of protection for your vacant home. If you’re no longer in the area, we suggest asking a friend or neighbor if they wouldn’t mind parking one of their vehicles in your driveway – at least for part of the time.
Tip #10 – Consider Vacant Home Insurance
Believe it or not, you can actually purchase insurance for this situation. If leaving your home vacant after you move, we recommend purchasing vacant home insurance. Most insurance plans will cover acts of vandalism, as well as certain disasters, such as fire, lightning, wind, hail and more. Be sure to contact your current home insurance provider to ask about your existing plan, and their vacant home coverage options.
Tip #11 – Sell Your Florida House to a Cash Buyer
Not ready to deal with all the stress that comes along with owning a vacant house in Florida? Consider selling to a local cash home buyer like Orbit Properties. We buy houses for cash in Jacksonville, Ocala, and the surrounding cities and towns in Florida.