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Lock up home and travel
Old 10-25-2013, 11:13 AM   #1
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Lock up home and travel

Hi-
I recently retired at the young age of 67 from teaching in international schools overseas, and have returned to the States. I was living in Singapore for 25 years, paying a large sum of money for international health insurance, and of course, living in a city that is the 5th most expensive place in the world. Since I first arrived in 1988, it has grown from a population of a little over 2 million to almost 6.5 million.

I decided to get Medicare at age 65, of course, and opted to get also the Part B, Supplementary, and the Prescription Drug, because I believe that if I did not, I would regret that in latter years. I have no regrets about that, and I only mention that because that was one of the many motivations that brought me back to the States.

I recently bought a beautiful new home in a new development in Blaine, Washington. I love the small town feeling it has, and I also love being near Asian friends in Vancouver I've known many years. I have the best of both worlds. My house has a small front and back yard. I love the interior of the house. It suits my single status beautifully, as it is 2 bedrooms and one den, 1495 sq feet on two floors, with the bedrooms and den on the second floor.
The back yard is a "protected area", which means that I can keep the growth in that area cut, but I am only allowed to plant "native" plants of Washington. Initially I disliked that, because I envisioned a beautiful back yard, but I decided that with my simple front yard, I have very little upkeep. I like that. Do any of you have the same situation where part of your property is "protected"?

I am thinking now that my desire for travel is still strong. I envision that after a few months I might lock up the house and leave for two or three months. Do others do the same? Do you feel confident that your house is safe if you travel, or are you worried at what might happen to your house while you are gone? I bought the house because it's new, little upkeep, but I am still concerned. Your thoughts are appreciated.

At 67, this is my first home. My whole life my rent was always paid for by the school I was working for. Now that I have retired, paying $1,500.month rent just does not appeal to me.

Thank you for any opinions you might have.

Rob
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:23 AM   #2
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Congratulations!

You might find this fairly recent thread useful with regard to planning for travel with an unoccupied home base: How long can you leave home and leave it empty?
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:34 PM   #3
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We have a trusted friend drop in twice a week to bring in the mail, make sure the heat is on, check around and very important: flush the toilets and run the water in the sinks.

He does it for us in the winter and we do it for him when he goes away for two months in the fall. Works out
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Old 10-25-2013, 02:50 PM   #4
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You can get a standalone Wi-Fi webcam for about $50 and connect to it from anywhere. We can check on our birds at any time while on vacation, including from a smartphone. Fancier solutions can act like alarms that alert your phone.
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Old 10-25-2013, 04:15 PM   #5
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Install timers on your outdoor & indoor lights so it looks like someone's at home. Give your local friends a key and ask them to drop by every so often. I used to have a neighbor park one of their cars in our driveway, but if you live in a neighborhood where most use the garage, you don't need that.
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Old 10-25-2013, 04:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walkinwood View Post
Install timers on your outdoor & indoor lights so it looks like someone's at home. Give your local friends a key and ask them to drop by every so often. I used to have a neighbor park one of their cars in our driveway, but if you live in a neighborhood where most use the garage, you don't need that.
+1

Our friends in the UK travel a lot and they also have a timer and motorized drapes which close in the evening and open in the morning. Their neighbors opposite them are only too happy to park one of their cars on his driveway, and put out trashcans each week. (even though the trash can is empty no one knows unless they actually look in, but I expect it is easy for them to drop in one their own bags of trash)
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Old 10-25-2013, 09:04 PM   #7
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You've gotten some great advice here, but at the end of the day, remember it's just a house and everything in it can eventually be repaired or replaced. That's why you have insurance after all, right?

Do your due diligence, absolutely, but then try and let go. If the worse happens, you can deal when you get home, and everything will eventually be put back to right. In the meantime, you'll be out there continuing to enjoy and explore our amazing world.
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Old 10-28-2013, 06:47 PM   #8
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We go out of town frequently and sometimes for as long as two months. I found this thread very helpful:

How long can you leave home and leave it empty?
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Old 10-28-2013, 07:55 PM   #9
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Before I rented out my house I was talking with the local telephone co-op about a monitoring system. They had a service available that would allow one to monitor the house for temperature and had motion sensors to keep an eye on the security. Cost was only about $20 per month. They would keep an eye on the place and notify service company if heat went out and call police if necessary for a break in. The home owner was notified of any calls that were made to cops or service.
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