LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The annual spring-time migration has begun; seasonal visitors to Southwest Florida are packing up and heading back north. Many will leave this weekend, or right after Easter Sunday.
"Well I have mixed emotions. It is bittersweet. We will miss our friends here, but we also look forward to seeing our relatives and friends back home. We will be back for next season here in sunny Florida," said John Falk of Indiana. He and his wife are getting ready to leave their home in the Orange Harbor Community in Lee Co.
Many offer a key motive for leaving. "I miss my grandkids," says Sue Walker of Ohio. "We would stay longer, but I really miss them. It is time to go back."
Once visitors leave their second homes in this area, things really get busy for Lee and Jay Mercer of Cape Coral. They run Better Home Watch. They charge $210 for three months of weekly checks on vacant homes. They go inside, make sure things are okay, and also check to make sure the pool cleaners are doing their jobs, and that the lawn service is cutting the grass.
"We send an e-mail to the customer up north, to ease their minds, to assure them that everything is okay," said Lee Mercer. "Our business is booming, even during the recession, because people hear news of home break-ins and air conditioner thefts. So they want to make sure their property here is whole, safe, and secure. That weekly check gives them real peace of mind."
Florida Power and Light Company offers advice to cut electricity costs when you are gone for the summer and fall. And the Cape Coral police also offer a home check service.
Here are the links for both: