You’ve bought a new home, and now it’s time for your first vacation! You might have questions about what to do to secure and safeguard your home while you’re away. We’ve put together a few tips for you below so you can relax and enjoy your holiday.
Home Security Tips When You’re Away
Make your home appear occupied.
When you’re leaving on vacation, you want to make every effort to make your property appearoccupied, even though it isn’t.
Use a self-timer on indoor lights and set them to come on and go off when you’d normally have lights on in the house. If you have newspapers delivered, put your subscription on hold for the time you’re away. Ask a neighbour if they can collect any mail or flyers if you have them delivered to the house.
Depending on the season and the length of time you’ll be away, it’s also a good idea to have someone looking after the property – mowing the lawn, shovelling the driveway or raking the leaves.
If you can, ask a neighbour to park their second car in the driveway to give the house a more lived-in appearance. This is particularly the case in winter when the lack of tire tracks in fresh snow can make it obvious no one has been in or out of the house.
Leave your drapes as they would typically be if you were home. Closed drapes can attract unwanted attention to your home.
Make your property less inviting.
Consider installing a security system for that extra peace of mind while you’re away. Provide someone you trust with the code before you go on vacation in case there’s a need to access the home while you’re away.
Many security systems will send you alerts directly to your phone if any motion or suspicious behaviour occurs.
Suppose a security system isn’t an option. In that case, fake security cameras or stickers can be enough of a deterrent to keep a potential thief moving along to find an easier target.
Installing motion detection lights outside can also serve as a deterrent. Home invaders prefer to work under cover of darkness. Light coming on unexpectedly will make them more visible and less likely to continue sneaking around your property.
Don’t broadcast your travel plans.
While it’s tempting to share photos on social media of your vacation adventures, it also broadcasts that you’re away from home.
Instead, post those pics after the fact, once you’re safely back in your house. If you can’t resist posting while you’re away, be sure your privacy settings restrict who can see your post.
Home security tips before you leave for vacation.
Before leaving on your vacation, make sure all doors and windows are locked, including garages and sheds, which can be easy targets for theft.
Remove that extra key that you’ve cleverly hidden under the welcome mat or flower pot. Home invaders know where to look, and leaving a hidden key makes their work that much easier. Instead, leave a spare key with a trusted neighbour.
Store your irreplaceable valuables in a secure spot and keep any items that might look enticing to someone peeking through windows out of sight. Take pictures of your more valuable items and keep them stored in a file somewhere if you experience a home invasion.
Break-ins aren’t the only risk when leaving your house unattended. You also want to take steps to prevent flooding, burst pipes, power outages or other damage while away.
Turn off the water supply and set the water heater to vacation mode. In the summer, you can either turn the air conditioning off completely or set it about 5 or 10 degrees higher than you’d usually have it set. In the winter, leaving the temperature setting at around 50 degrees will help prevent the pipes from freezing.
For peace of mind and for insurance purposes, you should have someone looking in on your house every few days while you are away. This is particularly important during cold weather to ensure the heat is coming on and the pipes don’t freeze.
During the hot and humid summer weather, electrical storms and power outages are a greater risk. Unplugging electronics can help protect them against damage from a power surge.
Here’s a trick to determine whether there’s been a prolonged power outage in your absence. Put an ice cube in a container in the freezer section of your fridge. If the cubes are still intact when you return, you’ll know that the food hasn’t thawed and refrozen while you were gone.
Keep a home security tips checklist.
The final hours of preparing and packing for a holiday can be hectic. It’s easy to forget some of these important tips. Don’t rely on your memory to make sure you’ve taken the necessary precautions. Make a checklist that you can refer to each time you go on holiday.
If you have any questions about our home security tips, give us a call. As experienced realtors, we have access to an extensive network of security professionals in Ottawa and Barrhaven.
We’re fortunate to work closely with homeowners every day, and it’s our duty to make sure that their homes are well taken care of when they need us most!
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With over twenty-five years of experience in all aspects of real estate, we have bought and sold well over a thousand homes. We’ve been honoured to help thousands of clients in Barrhaven and across the Ottawa area close a deal with confidence and satisfaction. Give us a shout and let us show you what we can do for you!