Sometimes, people may have to move before selling their house or before the lease on their apartment comes to an end. No big deal, timelines between new and old tenants rarely align. However, it can be worrisome being responsible for two properties at once, especially since vacant properties are more susceptible to break-ins, vandalism, and other forms of criminal activity. So, what’s the best way to protect your vacant home or empty apartment in the days, weeks, or months you’re still responsible for it?
No need for a property-wide electric fence or alligator-filled moat — instead, just follow these seven simple security tips from the UF Mover Guys!
Make It Look Like Someone Still Lives There
One of the most effective ways to protect your empty home is by making it look like someone still lives there. The reason vacant properties are targeted in the first place is the lack of human presence, so simulating occupancy will naturally deter criminals by erasing any perceived opportunity. A couple of good ways to simulate presence is by leaving a car parked in the driveway and scheduling indoor lights to turn on at certain times. Also, an overflowing mailbox is a dead giveaway that a home is vacant, so stop by and empty the mailbox now and then.
Don’t Leave Any Spare Keys Outside
It sounds obvious, but it’s not uncommon for people to leave their spare key underneath the welcome mat, in a potted plant, or above the doorframe of their vacant home in case they need to come back inside at a later time. Never do this, as those are the places a would-be intruder would check first. Instead, leave the spare key with a trusted neighbor or friend. Even if you believe you’ve found the perfect hiding spot, don’t leave your key outside — it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Double-Check All Windows & Doors
Amidst the hustle and bustle of move out day, you may forget to lock and secure all of the home’s windows and doors. To help avoid this, make sure the last thing you do on move-out day is to go through the house and double-check that every window and door is locked and secure. Also, a few weeks ahead of time, ensure that all the home’s locks hold strong. If any locks have been compromised, replace them before moving out. The last thing you want to do is leave the house wide open to intruders.
Keep The Alarm System Running
The more protection you have in place, the better, so hold off on ending the contract of your vacant home’s security system until necessary. Also, be sure to have anything that advertises the security system, from window decals to yard signs, prominently displayed. If you do decide to disconnect the home’s security systems on move-out day, at least leave the decals and signs up to convince criminals otherwise.
Ask Someone To Check On The Home
Moving too far away to check on the house yourself? Have a friend, family member, or even trusted neighbor stop by the property a few times a week and report any suspicious activity. Ask them to empty the mailbox, park their car in the driveway occasionally, and do anything else they can to make it look like people are still living there. Having watchful eyes on the property is worth it just for the peace-of-mind.
Install Motion Detector Lights
Motion detector lights are more than enough to discourage would-be intruders from entering a vacant home and make for cost-effective alternatives to a home security system. If you’re worried about someone lurking around the vacant home at night, install motion detector lights over the garage door, front door, backyard, and sides of the house. This strategic placement greatly reduces the number of ways an intruder could approach the house.
Take Care Of The Yard
An overgrown lawn is a telltale sign of a vacant home. For as long as the house is under your ownership, keep up with the landscaping. If you’re moving too far to stop by and give the grass trim, hire someone to do it for you. No need to keep every bush and tree trim and manicured; just ensuring the grass is cut regularly will suffice. Plus, having lawn care professionals stop by regularly is the kind of frequent activity that would deter criminals.