The holidays are getting closer by the day and millions of Americans will soon be traveling to be with family, or vacationing, at this special time of year.
If you’ll be counting yourself in that number, there are a few important preparations to help make your home as secure as possible while you’re away.
Video monitoring – While you might think they are very exotic, complicated and expensive, home security systems have never been more affordable and easy to install and use. Smart wireless video door bells are mostly inexpensive and can be installed very quickly and will give you great peace of mind while you’re away. They link to your smartphone, so that literally every time someone is at any door in your home fitted with one of these devices, you will immediately know about it through automatic alerts using wifi and the mobile telephone system. You’ll then be able to access a high-resolution video image so you can see what’s happening. With some systems you can even have a two-way conversation with the caller, even if you’re on the other side of the world.
You can invest in more advanced multi-camera systems that enable you to see what’s happening throughout your home, but smart door bells are a very quick way of making you less nervous about leaving your home unoccupied.
Make the home look occupied – It’s important that your home exterior gives the impression that the home is occupied. This can be partially achieved by more traditional sensible measures, including making sure that mail and newspapers are held until your return, as well as ensuring that your front yard is well manicured. Smart devices can again help you here too. Software such as Ring or Wink can be used via your smartphone to control a range of smart home devices that can, for example, turn lights on and off and even switch on a radio. Outdoor motion-sensor lights can also be controlled remotely, so that they are on a critical times, such as in the hours of darkness.
Don’t broadcast that you’re away from home – How many times have you read posts on social media from friends who are keen to not only tell you that they’re going away, but then proceed to post all kinds of images at every stage of their trip, to show everyone what a great time they are having. Even if you strictly control who sees your posts, there’s no control over who may see them on your friends’ devices, especially if they are stolen… Therefore it’s just sensible to maintain a very low key profile on social media while you’re away. There’ll be plenty of time to post pictures and memories when you get home.
Garage doors – Remote control of garage doors can easily be hacked, so disengage your automatic opener before you go away and manually lock it.
Ask a family member or a friend to help – No matter how well you prepare, there’s no telling when a forgotten package or just a flyer can be left on your drive or at the front door. Thieves will notice they have been there several days and gain in confidence that you are away, even if you have deployed other measures such as remotely controlled security lighting. So ask a family member or friend who lives nearby to periodically pass by and collect anything that’s been left outside your home.
Don’t hide keys – Thieves know all the places to look for hidden keys, so don’t think they can’t guess where the key is, no matter how clever you’ve been. If the home needs to be visited for any reason, make sure you leave a key with a family member or friend.
Valuables – These should ideally be secured in a safe while you’re away.
We hope you find at least some of these suggestions useful if you’re not at home this holiday season. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us at the Hyland/Schneider Team at 928-445-2100 if you have any questions related to real estate.