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This guest post was written by Megan Frizzell.
Owning a vacation home is something many people dream about. But they don’t fantasize about showing up for a relaxing stay and finding their vacation home has been ransacked by burglars. There are things you can do to secure your vacation home and decrease the risk of it being broken into while you’re away.
1. Install A Professionally Monitored Security System
Having a security system is the top recommendation for keeping your vacation home secure. Nearly 83% of burglars look to see whether the home has a home security system before they attempt to break in. Read our article on home security crime statistics for more facts.
There are lots of security systems on the market today, and many of them have easy DIY setups. Plus, you can keep tabs on your vacation home from your smartphone, tablet or computer and receive notifications no matter where you are. The moment the monitoring station notices something is awry, local police will be sent to the home to scout things out for you.
As an added bonus, most security systems also allow for environmental hazard upgrades to notify you if there are any concerns of flooding, freezing, smoke or carbon monoxide leaks.
Lock all doors and windows before leaving. Consider installing double-lock doors with a deadbolt or a door jammer on your sliding door.
Close all blinds and curtains to make sure no one can see inside your home while you’re away. This can prevent potential burglars from seeing what valuables you have inside.
3. Get To Know Your Neighbors
You can create extra community support by getting to know the neighbors around your vacation home. Ask them to keep an eye out for any unusual activity and leave a contact number to reach you in case of an emergency. And, if they do notice suspicious activity, they should not hesitate to call the police rather than waiting for your reply.
You may even ask your neighbor to periodically step inside the home to make sure everything is in working order and there’s no sign of attempted break-ins. .
4. Forgo A Hidden Or Spare Key
Leaving a hidden spare key outside can literally open the door for unwanted visitors. Consider leaving a spare key with a neighbor or installing a smart lock. You can share the entry code with others and also change the passcode as needed. Just be sure to change the battery routinely to avoid any lock-outs of your own. Some keyless entry systems even have WiFi options, allowing you remote access.
5. Utilize Lighting
Installing extra lighting outdoors (ideally with a security camera) can keep darker areas in and around your vacation home more lit, decreasing the appeal and spatial area for burglars to sneak around. It can also provide more curb appeal for your home and walkways.
Consider smart light bulbs for inside your home. You can control smart lights from an app on your phone, so you can make it look like you’re home when you’re not. Light timers offer a lower-tech but reliable option.
6. Make Your Home Look Occupied
Hiring someone to keep up yard maintenance for your shrubs, trees and lawn can make it look like your home is lived in 24/7. Keeping the bushes trimmed around the house will also make it harder for a burglar to hide while preparing for a break-in. But, make sure to lock up any yard tools or ladders that could assist an intruder in entering your home.
Also, schedule a mail hold or forward your mail to your home address with the US Postal Service (USPS) to stop delivery to your vacation home. The Postal Service also offers a helpful service called Informed Delivery that sends a daily email, allowing you to see a screen capture of envelopes that are mailed to you at this address. The last thing you want is mail and packages piling up while you’re away.
7. Bonus: Prevent Pipe Bursts
Don’t forget to turn off the water and the water heater at your second home to prevent any major mishaps. We also recommend leaving the temperature at 50 degrees or higher when you are away. These tips are especially important in colder climates or winter months to prevent burst pipes from frozen water.
Don’t Forget To Secure Your Primary Home Too
Before leaving your vacation home, make it a habit to run through this checklist before heading back to reality. This will give you the best chance of keeping your vacation home secure while you’re away.
And be sure to maximize your primary home’s security while on vacation, so you can fully relax knowing your home is safe.
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