The Brandee Kelley Group enjoys publishing our Blog posts on all sorts of topics related to real estate. We hope that you find these posts informative and/or entertaining, but perhaps none of these posts are more important than homeowner safety and security.
No matter where you live, as a homeowner there are specific, preventative steps you can take to lessen the chance of falling victim to crime. The following tips and advice, courtesy of the National Association of REALTORS, are steps you can take to protect yourself, your family and your home.
SECURITY TIPS FOR NEW HOMEOWNERS
Nothing compares to the feeling of being settled in a new home, but home security can sometimes be overlooked in favor of more pressing issues for new homeowners. While major safety issues such as fire alarms and working locks are top of mind, other important aspects of home security can fall by the wayside and go unattended.
Burglary and theft are two of the most common household property crimes, and they’re the easiest to prevent. There are many precautions homeowners can take to limit the chance of a burglary or theft that should be addressed soon after moving into a new home.
1. Maintain your yard and keep your shrubbery trimmed so criminals aren’t able to hide behind them.
2. Install outdoor lighting. A well-lit exterior discourages criminals from hiding in your landscaping. Lights with motion sensors are also a good idea.
3. Update door and lock hardware. It’s always a good idea to replace your locks and make sure that all entry points are secure when you move into a new home.
4. Meet your neighbors. The more friendly eyes watching out for your property the better. By introducing yourself to your neighbors, you’ll both be more comfortable alerting each other if something appears different.
5. Consider installing an alarm system. Security systems are a major deterrent for criminals. They don’t need to be expensive to be effective.
6. Homeowner crime is not your only safety concern. So is fire and carbon monoxide poisoning, so check batteries in your detectors to make sure you are protected.
Summertime brings an uptick in crime rates across the country. The following are important tips to protect your home during warm weather months:
1. Lock doors and windows, even when you are outside working in the yard or swimming in your pool. Unlocked doors and windows are just what criminals are looking for, especially while family members are busy outside the house.
2. Use specialty locks. Not only should doors and windows be locked at all times, but homeowners should make sure the locks they’re using are a bit more complicated than the average lock. Burglars want a quick in and out, so using a lock that will frustrate thieves is an easy way to prevent a break-in.
3. Lock and large items. Protect your larger items that you store in the garage or in your yard. Lock lawn mowers, bikes, grills, etc. and engrave them with your initials so that you can identify your property in case it’s stolen.
4. Light things up. Outdoor lights are a great deterrent to criminals who don’t want to be seen. Focus especially on the rear and sides of your home.
5. Be aware of neighborhood activity. You know your neighborhood better than most, so be a good neighborhood watchdog, and alert your neighbor and police to unusual activity.
6. Protect yourself. Be aware of con artists running home improvement scams and deception burglaries, and don’t leave personal information lying around.
YOUR VACATION CHECKLIST: MAKE SURE YOUR HOME IS SECURE WHILE YOU’RE GONE
Your bags are packed and you’re about to head out the door for a vacation, but preparing your home for your absence is just as important as remembering to pack your toothbrush.
Just like you create a packing list, homeowners should have a home safety checklist they follow before leaving their home for any extended period of time.
1. Lock doors and windows.
2. Make the residence look occupied. Try to make things look as normal as possible while you’re gone. Keep your blinds in their normal position, hire someone to mow your lawn, ask neighbors to park in your driveway, place a hold on mail and newspaper deliveries.
3. Use timers. Placing lights, TVs, radios, etc. to turn on and off at normal times is an easy way to make it seem like someone is home. Nothing says you’re away like a dark house multiple nights in a row.
4. Beware of social media. Don’t announce your vacation plans on Facebook or social media. Don’t broadcast the dates that you’ll be away from home. Share your photos and travel stories AFTER you return from your vacation. If you have a landline, leave a normal message on your answering machine, and don’t share that you’re out of town.
5. Tell select people that you’ll be away. Ask neighbors to keep an eye on your property, and leave a phone number where you can be reached in case of emergency. Notify police if you’ll be gone longer than a week and consider asking a friend or neighbor to check in on things while you’re away.
6. Remove your spare key. If you keep a spare key hidden outside your residence, either take it with you or leave it with a neighbor. A criminal will often check for a spare key if they’re trying to enter your home.