Your home might be temporarily vacant for any number of reasons. Maybe you’re planning a vacation or holiday with family. You might be moving and your house is on the market but you've already moved away. Sometimes there’s no getting around leaving a house unoccupied, but vacant homes can also be a beacon for the wrong element.
ABC News explains that property owners are at risk when nobody’s home. While you’re safe and sound elsewhere, your home might not be. But you can help protect it, even when you’re not there. (Read: Home Security Tips for Your Castle)
Vacant Homes Can Look Like an Invitation
An empty house is an open invitation for people to break in. And once inside, there’s nobody around to protect your belongings.
ABC says teens broke into a $12 million home in California while the owner was on a 10-day trip. After all was said and done, the teens had done $1 million worth of damage, including breaking windows and emptying out his wine cellar.
In another story, Brian Holloway, NFL offensive lineman, came home to find his vacation house nearly destroyed. There was graffiti on the walls, broken windows, beer and liquor stained carpet, and a host of other damage.
Any time a house is unoccupied for a few days or longer, people who want to get in can usually find a way. The damage can be overwhelming, and you or the authorities may never know who was to blame.
You Can Help Protect Your Vacant Home
An alarm system is one of the best ways to keep out trespassers. But a standalone system won’t help, as they can be disabled and nobody would be the wiser. The best systems are monitored. If there’s a break-in, the authorities will be alerted right away. (Read: Home Automation: Keeping Home and Family Safe)
Cameras are another way to protect your home and everything in it. You can see who is in your home, and that can help authorities track them down. If your house is on the market, you’ll probably have a sign in the yard. That’s unavoidable, but it’s also an indicator that nobody’s home. With cameras, you’ll at least have the ability to know who might be responsible for any damage.
If you’re only away for a while, avoid the telltale signs of an empty house. Using timers for your lights can help, but it’s not enough on its own. Ask a neighbor to collect your mail and newspapers. And if you’re away for more than a week, arrange for someone to mow the grass or shovel snow. Anything that can help avoid the obvious appearance of an empty house is good.
You shouldn’t have to worry about your property while you’re away from home. But the unfortunate reality is that no house is 100 percent safe. Taking a few measures to increase security can make all the difference in the world.
Lock up your valuables, such as fine jewelry, get a good, multi-zone alarm system and keep it monitored. And try to avoid the “vacant house” appearance as much as you can. With no supervision, teenagers can find your property enticing. So it’s up to you to keep a watchful eye, even when you aren’t there.
What tips can you share about keeping your home and possessions safe from intruders?