We like to think that our homes are our safe haven and no one would dare enter without your permission. However, did you know that there were over 1.1 million burglaries in 2019, amounting to $25.3 billion in property loss? When our homes are invaded, we feel violated and that we’re no longer safe in our home. It’s not a good feeling.
If you’re a new homeowner, you might think that keeping your home safe while you’re on vacation is as simple as locking the doors and windows. Sure, that’s the bare minimum you should do, but we have 10 tips from real estate agents that can help keep your home safe while you’re away.
1. Lock up tight
We mentioned that you should lock your windows and doors, but you’ll also want to check any secondary entrances (the basement door, the door in the garage, and even the garage door). Also make sure that any windows on the second floor are locked as well. Burglars can be quite the acrobats when they target a “good” house.
2. Put mail on hold
When you’re going on a vacation that’s longer than a few days, we recommend that you go to your local post office and put your mail on hold. By doing this, potential burglars won’t be able to tell how long you’re away because there won’t be lots of mail in the mailbox. You’ll also want to do this with your paper delivery service.
If you’re only going to be gone for a couple of days, you don’t have to have your mail stopped – you can just ask a trusted friend or neighbor to collect it for you.
3. Security alarms are essential
A security system that connects to your smartphone is a great way to protect your home and raise the value of your property (use a net proceeds calculator to see what you could earn when you sell your house). When you’re away, you can check in and look at the surveillance cameras you’ve placed around your home. Should there be any intrusions, you’ll get a notification and you could call the authorities (if the system doesn’t do that for you).
4. Hire someone to do yard work
It doesn’t matter the time of year, yard work is a year-long thing. To keep up the appearance that someone is home, ask someone to care for your yard while you’re away. This means they’ll have to cut the lawn when it needs it, shovel the driveway and walkways, and (depending on how long you’re away) rake leaves.
5. Timers will be your best friend
It doesn’t matter what you connect to a timer, they will be your new best friend. By having things like various lights in the house, the television or even the radio will give the illusion that someone is home and would-be burglars would be deterred from breaking in.
6. Keep a car in the driveway
If possible, keep a car in the driveway to add to the illusion that someone is home.
7. Remove spare keys
It’s fine to have a hide-a-key near the back door, but when you’re away, you’ll want to remove that key until you get home. Burglars know the tricks and have a good idea of the most common places to find those spare keys.
8. Keep mum on social media
We like to share everything on social media, but when it comes to going away on vacation… You don’t want to discuss it online. You never know who’s scoping out social media sites to look for their next target?
9. Store expensive items in a safe
There are some things that you won’t be able to put in a safe (televisions and other large electronics, expensive clothing, jewelry, and so on) that’s tucked away in a closet. If you don’t have a safe, you could close the blinds so no one can peek through the windows.
10. Have a house sitter
One of the best ways you can keep your home safe is to have a house sitter to stay at your home for the duration of your vacation. You could also ask someone from the neighborhood watch to spend an hour or two at your place if you don’t have someone to stay there all of the time.
We all love a good vacation but we don’t like the idea that someone could break into our homes while we’re away. These ten tips can help ease your mind because you’ll know that you’ve taken precautions to keep your home safe from intruders.