So, you are getting away for a bit. Locking up the house, closing the garage door – turning on a few timers to turn lights on and off and taking off for a vacation. Is your house going to be safe and secure while you are away? Do you have a plan in place in case an emergency happens, such as a broken gas line or fallen tree on the roof?
While going away from home is a great way to blow off steam and reduce stress, the truth is that protecting your house when you are away is essential to you being able to completely relax. Just like you don’t leave work for an extended period of time without making sure all of the loose ends are taken care of, you shouldn’t just leave your home and hope that nothing happens while you are away.
There are several ways to protect your home while you are gone. One of the most popular ways to do so is to hire a home sitter. If there is a young adult in your neighborhood that you trust to ‘live’ in your home while you are gone – you can rest assured that not only will your house look like it is occupied, but also that if any problems arise you will know about them immediately. This is also an excellent choice if you have pets that you are leaving behind because the person staying at your home can not only watch the house, but take care of the pets as well. On average in the United States, home sitting services start out at around $15 to $25 dollars per day. The price increases if pets are to be watched as well. That being said, asking someone that you know and trust may be less expensive and ensures that you know the person who is in your home. Even so, if you do hire a home sitter, you should make sure that all pertinent documents and access to your personal information – valuables and weapons are kept secure.
Another option is to ask a neighbor to watch a home for you. Make sure that the neighbor picks up your mail every day, and that they know you will be gone. This way if they see any activity at your home, they will know to immediately call 911. Make sure you neighbor has the key to your home so that they can get inside and make sure that everything is okay inside the house. And yes, they will likely look in your medicine cabinet so if there is anything that you don’t want them to see – make sure to put it up.
The following are some other tips that will help keep your home safe and secure while you are away:
- Avoid posting on Facebook or other social media sites that you are going away – when and for how long. Remember, that much of the information you put out there on the internet can be seen by others, and advertising that your house is empty only invites thieves.
- If someone will not be around to get your mail, then do a hold mail service or have your mail forwarded.
- Make sure that you keep lights on all floors of your home on timers. You may even want to leave a simple radio on in the house so that if a thief does come by, they will hear noise from inside the house. Motion sensors are also an extra precaution that can easily be installed on the outdoor lighting. Leaving your outdoor lights on all day long, is a dead giveaway that you are not home. Instead of doing that, set them on a timer to come on at dark.
- Stop newspaper deliveries or any other daily deliveries to your home.
- Sounds simple, but you would be surprised at how many people forget to secure all the doors and windows of the home and garage. Before you leave, do a quick double check to make sure that all windows and doors are secure, and don’t forget basement doors or garage doors.
- Make sure that someone knows where you will be at all times. Provide them with cell phone numbers, and give them important numbers to family members that live in the area in case something unthinkable happens – such as a tree falling on your roof. This way, your loved ones can help remedy major problems while you are en route back to your home.
- Make sure that you before you leave you have your grass cut, the trash taken out, and all the normal activities around the outside of your home taken care of. Nothing screams ‘empty house’ more than knee-high length grass and empty trash cans. If you are going to be gone for an extended period of time – have someone come by and tend to your yard while you are away.
While it would be nice to imagine that we can simply lock up and leave for vacation – without a worry in the world – the reality is that each and every day – every few minutes a home gets broken into or vandalized. Criminals are smart, and they are looking for homeowners who do not take appropriate precautions before they go on vacation, which makes their criminal activity much easier. You will feel better knowing that your home is being watched and taken care of properly while you are away – which will only make your vacation (or business trip) even more enjoyable.