If you’re moving out of your current home while it stays listed on the market for sale, or, advertised for rent, you’ll obviously want to keep it safe from theft and vandalism. While you already have enough on your mind, it’s smart to take precautions because you certainly don’t want to deal with costly repairs. Graffiti, stolen appliances, and vandalism can be more than a little costly, especially when you’ve just put most of your liquid assets into your new home.
Just because you’ve moved out all of your furniture and possessions, doesn’t mean your home will be safe from nefarious characters. As the old saying goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry,” and, you’ll be thankful for being proactive.
Ways to Protect a Vacant Home
The single best way to dissuade any criminal activity is to make the home appear as those it’s occupied. This is especially important if you’ve moved far enough away that it’s unrealistic to visit your property now and again. The reason making it appear the residence is occupied is because homes which are most targeted are known to be empty. This is a favorite mark precisely because there’s little to no chance of running into the owner.
“…there are plenty of easy and generally inexpensive steps you can take to make yourself and your home less vulnerable. Basically, the more you can make your property look ‘lived in,’ the more likely it is that thieves will pass you by.” —U.S. News and World Report
What’s more, you don’t want to find yourself in the unenviable position of filing an insurance claim should your home become a target. It’s no secret that insurance companies will go to great extent to drag-out and/or deny claims. Fortunately, there are ways you can protect yourself, by doing the following:
- Enlist the help of neighbors, nearby family or friends. The more people you have watching the property, the better. Ask a neighborhood to keep an eye on it, or, family and friends that are close to the home. Have them pickup any mail and remove any door handle flyers as piles of these are telltale signs.
- Keep the landscaping and lawn maintained. There are a few giveaways a home isn’t occupied, and, tall grass and unkempt landscaping is definitely one way to tell nobody lives there. By maintaining the landscape and lawn cut, the home will not only have more curb appeal, it will also look occupied.
- Make all exterior repairs. If anything becomes damaged on the exterior, you should fix it or hire a contractor. While some might seem minor, like a crack in the front window, it’s something a live-in owner would definitely not neglect it.
- Keep the driveway occupied. Another way to give the impression a home is occupied is to have a car, truck, SUV, or minivan parked in the driveway. Ask a neighbor for this favor and you’ll probably find an eager person who welcomes the extra parking space.
- Keep window treatments drawn. While open windows are great for an open house, they are open invitation to trouble if people can see into the home. Keep curtains or blinds drawn to keep prying eyes away.
- Watch what you say. If you’re going to rent the property out, it’s best not to give too many details about it to a stranger. For instance, telling someone over the phone the residence is fully appointed with new furniture and appliances and giving him or her the address leaves too much to chance.
In addition to these, you should install and set timers for lights to go on and off. Another timer to set is for lawn sprinklers, so, the grass doesn’t die and the home looks occupied. of course, having an active security system is another great measure, if possible.