Summer is the season of travel for many of us - long weekends at the beach, adventures in Sunriver, week-long family reunions, tropical cruises and more. It is so much fun! Unfortunately, while you're sipping a mai tai on the beach, your empty home can be a potential target for break-ins. Burglars watch houses for signs that owners are away - mail and newspapers piling up, untended lawns, and trash cans left at the curb.
The good news is there are are several simple things you can do to protect your home while you are away. Read on to find out what to do, then download my printable checklist below to help you get organized!
1. Lock your doors and windows. Did you know that a surprising 30% of burglars enter homes through an unlocked door or window? It can be easy to forget that a window or back door has been left unlocked, so take 5 minutes to walk through your home and check all of them. If you have a sliding glass door, make sure it is locked and also anchor it closed with a dowel or yardstick.
2. Make plans for your mail. If you're anything like me, the Amazon delivery guy is your best friend - so many packages! This can become a problem while you are
gone. Arrange for your mail to be held at the post office if you are gone for more than a few days (you can do this online), or ask a neighbor to bring in your mail and any packages that arrive.
3. Turn on some lights! Set up your lights on a timer that will turn them on and off at certain times of day. Most timers can be used on other electronics too - think stereos and TVs that can make it seem like you are home going about your normal nightly routine. Look for a timer that has multiple setting options so you can vary the on and off times. Some can even be controlled directly from your smart phone while you lounge on the beach in Hawaii!
4. Tell your trusted neighbors about your trip. It is a great idea to let your neighbors know if you plan to be gone - also let them know if you have someone coming to feed your cat or water your plants. They can keep an eye out and shoot you a quick text if anything seems amiss. Also, ask them to wheel your trash cans out and back in on trash day. You can return the favor next time they go away!
5. Place your valuables in a locked safe. The FBI reports that the average property value loss during a burglary is a whopping $2,251! Yikes. If a burglary does occur, minimize the potential damage by placing your most valuable items in a safe before you jet off on your trip. Cash, jewelry, passports, small electronics, and car keys are all major targets for burglars - stash them away and hide your safe in an unlikely location, or bolt it to the floor.
5. Install a security system. The home security system scene has come a long way - while they used to be super complex and cost prohibitive, there are now so many affordable and user-friendly options! Having a security system installed (and posting the signs on your windows, front lawn, etc.) can be a significant deterrent to a burglar. Not only will you deter burglars with this, you can also monitor your home from your smart phone or tablet with many of the smart systems. Companies such as ADT will take care of everything for you, from installation to professional monitoring, or you can take matters into your own hands with smart systems such as Blink, Nest, Ring, or SimpliSafe. Smart systems range from about $200 - $400, can be installed without the help of a professional, and most have the option to either monitor on your own or to add professional monitoring for about $15 - $30 per month.
With these few steps, we can all make our homes more secure so that we are free to truly enjoy those fabulous summer getaways! Don't forget to download your printable checklist here!
Always remember, I am here for you! If you have questions or need help with anything, I am just a phone call, text, or email away. Let's chat!