It's almost time for the holidays! Although this time of year means we have to bundle up, it also means that we get to celebrate with our friends and family! As a homeowner, one of my greatest fears is coming home, rested and relaxed, only to find out that my house has been damaged and ransacked while I was away. Whether you're heading leaving to Mexico to dodge the upcoming Edmonton snow or you plan on meeting up with the family for a holiday get together, these 5 tips will give you peace of mind during your much deserved R&R.
Shovel That Snow
Driveways, walkways, and steps covered in fresh snow can only mean two things: you're either binge watching a show on Netflix or you're away from home. If it's the latter, a crook might see that as an opportunity to break in and take some of your valuables. The easiest way to prevent this is to ask one of your neighbours if they're willing to clear the snow surrounding your home. The few bucks you pay them or their children to take care of the snow is cheaper than having to replace a damaged window or an expensive item in your home. Plus, the added bonus of not having a massive amount of snow to clear from your sidewalks when you get back from your vacation.
Install a Security System
If a burglar breaks into your home and hears an alarm, there's a good chance that they'll think twice before looking around for something to take. Talk to your local security company and get them to install a system in your home. These companies generally give out stickers that you can place on your door and signs that can be placed near your home's entrance. If someone tries to break in but sees that your home features a security system, they reconsider stopping for an unexpected visit.
A study by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology found that most burglars try to determine if a house has an alarm system before attempting a home invasion.
Empty Your Mail
Perhaps the most obvious sign of someone not being home is a mailbox stuffed with newspapers, packages, and other items. Once again, ask a neighbour or friend to stop by and collect any deliveries that might come while you're gone (you can return the favour by promising to take care of their mail when they go on vacation). If you're expecting mail, you can also phone the post office and ask them to hold your mail while you're gone.
Reinforce Your Sliding Doors
Sliding doors are notorious for being a thief's favourite way to get inside your home. Many of us are guilty of leaving them open to let our pets out or forgetting to lock them altogether, which makes them a prime target for burglaries (30% of burglars entered through an unlocked door, window, or opening). In order to prevent any possible robberies, consider installing a horizontal bar to reduce forced sliding. You can also attach an anti-lift pin that goes over both the sliding and stationary sections of your door so that there aren't any moving parts.
Update Your Privacy Settings
While we all love to tell our friends and family about our travel plans (including the occasional selfie), most of us aren't aware that others may be able to see our messages. If you're posting on Facebook, make sure you update your privacy settings so that only people you are friends with can see your posts. You can avoid a lot of potential headaches if you take a few minutes to make the necessary changes.
I've also got one more bonus tip for you: if you plan on surprising the family with a flat screen TV or something that requires a big box and a lot of packaging, don't leave the box out on the curb for longer than you have to. If someone passing by sees it, they might consider you as a potential target.
Do you have a tip about preventing home break-ins that I missed? I'd love if you could let me know on either my Facebook or Twitter page. As always, if you're considering buying a new home or selling your existing one, give me a call at 780-438-2500 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.