Summer is in full swing people and families are getting out there and tackling their summer vacations all over the country. But, this can leave your home susceptible to burglaries, fires, or other issues.If you're like most people, you want to try and protect your home is best as you can while you are not there. There are several ways to do this but it's important to understand what to do and just be smart about it. These are my 10 tips for keeping your home safe while vacationing this summer.
#1. Make sure your security system is ready.
This could mean a variety of different things. Maybe you have one of those ADT systems so you want to call and make sure it is up to date, you are paid, and they are protecting and monitoring your home and also you want to ask what they do if something should happen. Remember those commercials? There's a difference between monitoring and actually doing something about it. Maybe you can even just get an ADT sign or sticker in your window or in your front lawn, which will actually deter people from even bothering you.
#2. Make sure the home looks lived in.
If you always have the lights on, garage door up, and close lines hanging outside, it obviously looks like your home but, if you put everything away, turn on one porch light and leave the house dark while you're not home, it will definitely look suspicious. Try to leave a light or two on in the house or set up a timer so lights come on and off throughout the day or the evening so it looks like someone is home. Of course, you can't leave your garage door open while you are gone, but there are ways to leave little clues to inform people that you might actually be home. You might even consider having a neighbor person mode your lawn halfway in between, especially if you are going to be gone a long time.
#3. Watch out for any door-to-door solicitations.
Yep, just like in Home Alone, these solicitors stakeout a home to see if you plan on leaving anytime soon. Be very cautious and avoid it altogether by putting in a No Soliciting sign in your front window or by your front door.
#4. Make sure all valuables are out of sight.
Closure windows, keep screens covered, and just don't leave anything out in the open for people to appear in the window and see a big screen TV, game consoles or other valuable electronics.
#5. Keep a record of your valuables.
Before leaving make sure that all of your valuables are tucked away, hidden and kept private so that no one can break in and easily find them but it's also a good idea to keep records of them. Take pictures of your stuff, especially big-ticket items such as laptops, computers and TVs.
#6. Don't make packing obvious.
If you have a good rapport with your neighbors it's okay for them to see you packing up to leave, especially if everyone looks out for each other and can keep an eye on your property when you're not around. But you don't want people knocking on the door when you have a suitcase full of clothes ready to go. It only shows them that you plan on leaving fairly soon. Try to keep packing to a minimum and out of sight from people you don't want knowing you will be gone.
#7. Don't talk about the vacation until after you're back.
This one gets me every time. I don't understand why people advertise that they are gone. Now, if you have a house sitter and you mentioned that or know that other people are looking at your property, it can be okay but most of the time just announce your vacation after you have returned. You don't want anyone to know that you are gone, especially how far away you are, where you are posting from and how long you will be gone. This is just easy advertisement for anyone to come by your house.
#8. Be careful about any deliveries.
If you plan on having deliveries or packages delivered while you are gone it's important to have a neighbor check your doorstep or porch at least once a day. If these packages add up not only could they be stolen but it definitely shows that you are not home.
#9. Use fake technology.
This is a great way to mimic the idea of being home without you actually being there. Reading is a great doorbell service that you can see who is at your front porch simply by the doorbell and then respond to them through your phone. They don't know that you are not home and you're talking directly to someone that you are seeing on your porch. You can also get devices like Fake TV, which mimics the flickering light of the TV to make it look as though you are home. These automation devices can be attached to your security systems or turn on and off throughout the day so it looks like you are home.
#10. Hire a house sitter or pet sitter.
This is one of the best ways you can protect your home by simply hiring someone to look out for your property and your pets while you're gone. Even if you don't have any pets or house plans that need to be tended to, having someone stop by at least once or twice a day will give the appearance that the home is lived in and that your home is being protected. Make sure the person checks in different times of the day so that lurkers don't get use to certain time frames.
The last thing you want on a summer vacation is to come home to a property that's been vandalized or burglarized. That simply puts a damper on everything, causes hassle and headaches and costs money. Do your part ahead of time to make sure that your summer vacation is everything you wanted to be.