By Ben Olive for Florida Luxurious Properties
You know how it goes—you’ve planned a wonderful trip, tied up all loose ends at the office, packed your bags and called for a cab to the airport.
All’s well, until you start wondering whether or not you left the iron on, or the coffee maker, or whether or not you locked the front door.
Not the way to start your vacation—your annual “rest” has started out any way but restful. Now you are anxious, and might be for a week or two. It’s not easy to leave home!
It’s not just that the house is empty, and may invite intrusion—someone could break in—but a pipe could burst, or a tree may fall, and really, you may have left the coffee pot on!
A burglary can be devastating, but so can water damage, or animal intrusion. The smart homeowner can do a number of things to protect their valuable investment while they’re away. Here are some suggestions.
HOME SWEET SECURE HOME
Get an alarm system! A home without an alarm is three times more likely to be burglarized, according to the National Council for Home Safety and Security. While installation of a system may cost a bit, and monthly monitoring services will be an ongoing expense, you will have peace of mind, and perhaps a discount on your homeowner’s policy.
SMART HOME SECURITY
There are a number of house-monitoring systems on the market, and they include everything from video cameras and motions sensors to garage door openers with smart locks, and all can hook-up to your smart phone.
LOCKING IT UP
Be sure to check all doors and windows in the house and garage before you leave. An open window provides easy access for intruders, not only human, but pests like bugs and rodents, too. And if it rains, things will get awfully soggy. Better to do one last run through the house, and check one last time.
GET A HOUSESITTER
If you have a pet, you’ll have to have someone look after them. If you don’t have a pet, you’ll want someone to look after your houseplants. Having someone on site can give you complete peace of mind. If not someone fulltime, then at least engage someone who will check on the house every day or two.
STOP DELIVERY OF MAIL AND NEWSPAPERS
A pile of newspapers, menus, flyers, packages or mail at a house that is closed up screams “No one home”. Stop delivery before you leave, or ask a neighbor to pick up daily and enjoy your vacation.
TIDY UP BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Get the lawn mowed, plants watered and pool cleaned. A tidy home looks occupied; a messy one looks like no one’s home.
GET RID OF THE HIDDEN KEY
Everyone knows where to look for it—under the doormat, or a planter, a rock, or inside a fake rock. Leave a spare key with your neighbor, or get a front door lock that works with your smartphone.
TURN ON THE LIGHTS
Put the lights on automatic timers, including the outdoor lights. Some can be programmed and linked to your smartphone, so that you can activate the lights at any time of day, from anywhere.
If you park your car at the airport, remove your GPS. A thief could steal the device and find your home address with the press of a button. Turn off location alerts on social media, as well.
SOCIAL MEDIA BLACKOUT
Those vacation photos that you can’t wait to share on social media will alert everyone to the fact that your house is empty. Wait until you get home!
With careful thought and a little prior planning, you can feel secure in leaving your home and taking that well-deserved vacation.