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Tips for Closing Up Your Winter Home

As your friends in the north have been digging out of snowstorms, battling slippery road conditions, and dressing to the nine-belows, you've been playing golf, taking out the boat, and wearing flip-flops and Hawaiian shirts. But winter is finally coming to an end. It's time to close up the warm weather home and head back to your primary residence. There are several things to consider when shutting down your second home for the season.

A van packed up full after closing a winter home.

Empty, Clean, and Unplug Appliances

A clean house is a happy house. The last thing you want is to return to find that the fruit you forgot to take out of the refrigerator has turned the appliance into a moldy Petri dish. Take all the perishables out of the refrigerator and wipe it down with a disinfectant. It's a good idea to clean the oven, too. When everything is clean and disinfected, unplug all the appliances — this includes the washer/dryer, toaster, microwave, coffee maker, TV and computer. Unplugging the appliances protects them from power surges.

Social Media and Security

Thieves prowl social media looking for information about homeowners. In other words, if you post that you're closing up the winter home and heading to your primary residence, then it's possible you told a thief about an unoccupied house. Moreover, if you share a photo of the Jet Ski you just bought, a tech savvy burglar just might figure out where they can find your new toy.

Thieves can use Facebook and Twitter to determine where you live, what you have, and how long you're going to be away from a property. Don't make yourself an easy target. Be careful what you post on social media.

In addition to protecting your home against pre-meditated burglaries, don't leave anything outside that property that will attract thieves. Store all the patio furniture and other expensive items — small boats, motorcycles, bikes, etc. — in a locked shed or garage. Take valuables like jewelry, fur, and electronics (laptop, tablet) with you when you leave. Consider installing a security system or hiring a local caretaker to look in on the house once a week.

Follow this checklist to help reduce the likelihood that something will go wrong at your winter home when you're not there. Contact your independent agent to make sure you're second home is properly covered while you are away.

Family in the kitchen.

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