Many people take off for holidays this time of year and nothing would make a sour end to your holiday then coming home to find your house or cars broken into.
I’ve always been more paranoid than your average person about this happening, not specifically about the loss of items (although that would suck) but more about the invasion of privacy.
So I’ve researched and talked to experts about how to protect your house while on vacation.
Don’t Have Stuff
Number one rule in our house, invest in adventures, not things! Therefore we don’t have a lot of valuable items in our home. One TV, a computer and a camera that travels with me, and not too much else that would be deemed valuable (sorry kids, you can’t have a Wii).
Get a Safety Deposit Box
The things that are valuable go into a safety deposit box. This includes my grandmother’s broach, my high school grad ring, and a few small pieces of jewelry. I only keep costume jewelry in the house, and ask for adventures for birthday presents :). Entertaining fact (for those that really know me) I even keep my Girl Guide Pins in the safety deposit box. The sentimental value of these items are priceless!
Also, be sure to store special documents in your safety deposit box. We have copies of our wills, house insurance, and copies of our important documents like passports and birth certificates in there.
Don’t Leave Your Home Unattended
Most of the time when we leave our house we welcome family and friends into our home to house sit for us. Our family members love it as it gives them a base camp to explore the region, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a free place to stay! Every summer we have family come up from California to visit our house and we plan a few days of overlap and then head out on our adventures while they take care of the house. It’s a win-win!
When family isn’t available, I reach out to a few friends, either single moms looking to sneak out of their basement suites, or family friends who are students looking to get out of the house for a few weeks. Once you start asking around it’s easy to find people to take care of your home.
Get A House Alarm
House alarms are a great way to ensure that an alarm will go off in case of an intruder. We recently switched from ATT to a local company and our monitoring fees went from $35 to $13/month!
The important thing to note though is, what happens once the alarm goes off, will your neighbours check in? Who does the monitoring company call? Make sure you have a process in place so that if something goes wrong the situation can be dealt with. Be sure to take into consideration whether you can be reached while you’re away, and if not have another person on contact who can.
One more piece of advice – Don’t advertise who your alarm company is. If you switch companies, keep the old stickers. If they know who the company is, they may be able to disable it.
Don’t Make it Easy
Don’t make entry into your home easy. Install extra locks, other than deadbolts. Put security rods in windows and make entrances harder to access. Lock gates that might give someone access to a backyard and doors in the back of your house.
Lock Down Your Cars
Don’t leave anything in your car of value, ESPECIALLY your garage door opener if you park your car outside. Thieves will be looking for easy targets, so don’t leave them any shiny objects to lure them in, or get attention that you may not be home either.
Light Up Your House
Light up entrances around your house with motion sensors, and good lighting so that someone can’t be concealed if they were trying to break in. Avoid tall and thick shrubs around the entrance to your home, and alert your neighbours that if the lights go on, they should check it out.
Be Social – But After You Get Home
Social media can be amazing, but broadcasting to the world that you’re not going to be home isn’t always the best idea, especially if your privacy settings aren’t set properly, or your friend’s friends aren’t of the best character. Save your social posts for when you get back. This will give you more time on the beach with your family and you can leave your phone at home.
Love Thy Neighbour
Work with your neighbours to create a community. Watch out for each other’s houses, water each other’s plants and pick up each other’s newspapers. Know what cars should be around the house and what cars shouldn’t. Get their cell numbers and text each other if something doesn’t seem right.
Before you go:
- Turn off your toilets! We always lock down our toilets so if there is a leak the damage will be minimal.
- Don’t leave anything running – ensure your dishwasher and laundry machines are not in operation.
- Double-check that the house is secure, checking windows and basement doors.
- Take air conditioners out of windows and secure windows.