Whether you’re buying your first home or been in one for several years and just now addressing home security issues, you may feel overwhelmed with all the choices. Not knowing exactly what you should do next or wondering whether changing the locks or adding a home security system can lead to many sleepless nights.
You’ve invested a lot in your home, so protecting it is just as important as protecting your property and your family. Follow these six tips to ensure you and your family prepare, and stay safe and secure.
FIRST-TIME HOME BUYER TIPS
Start With a Home Security Audit
Your first step is to evaluate and assess your current home security measures. While the ideal time to begin this assessment is before you purchase your home, a more thorough security audit is possible once you’re living inside.
Check all entryways, including doors, windows, garages, patios, and decks. Evaluate how reliable the frame and locks are and how each one seals. Move to your yard and notice if any foliage or plants grow in bunches, creating potential hiding spaces or blind spots.
Keep track of necessary upgrades, renovations, and additions you might need to make to secure your home more efficiently. Also, consider whether it’s time to purchase and set-up your first home security system.
Secure Doors and Windows
Once you conduct the home security audit, it’s time to get to work. Secure all doors and windows, regardless of where they are located; even points of entry on upper floors are vulnerable to intruders.
- Doors. For doors, inspect the frame and hinges to see how strong and set they are. If necessary, replace them. Burglars often kick in doors, so the stronger yours are, the less chance of a break-in this way. Also, change the locks so no one else has a key, including the former owners. Consider installing deadbolts and video doorbells as solutions for home security for first-time buyers.
- Sliding Glass Doors. If your home has patio or deck sliding glass doors, you’ll need to add security measures. A simple solution is to place a dowel or bar in the track so the door can’t be forced open. Keep the inside of your home private from prying eyes by adding a retractable window treatment, especially at night or when you’re away.
- Garage Doors. Most homeowners make a garage a secondary storage locale, a trend that burglars are noticing. If you have a keycode for opening your garage, be sure to use a unique code and change it every so often. Never enter the code in front of anyone not living in the house. Also, check to make sure the garage door seals securely, and if not, make an appointment with a professional.
- Windows. Replace broken locks on windows and consider adding sensors. Windows are common access points for burglars so spend time on their security latches and levers.
Add Landscaping Safety
Add security measures outdoors as well as indoors. Include solar-powered lights along pathways and dark areas in your yard. Install motion-activated flood lights in corners and side or backyards. Trim bushes and trees to eliminate any potential hiding spaces or security camera obstructions.
Also, keep security in mind when planting new trees and shrubs. Keep them away from windows and doors to avoid creating new hiding spaces for criminals.
Put in Place Your First Security System
When considering the purchase of your first security system, you may feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, you have several options, including self-monitoring or professional set-up and monitoring.
Self-Monitoring Security Systems
Many DIY/self-monitoring options exist and meet home security needs for first-time buyers, requiring little technical knowledge to set-up and use. They can even be monitored from an installed app on your SmartPhone.
Benefits of self-monitoring systems include ability to customize the level of security to suit your needs and avoid long-term contracts and monthly fees. Things to consider when selecting the security system for your home includes:
- Number of indoor cameras
- Weatherproof outdoor cameras
- Video doorbellNighttime capabilities
- Motion detection option
- Video storage abilities
- Remote access on laptops, tablets, or cell phonesPush notifications or email and text notifications
- Ease of set-up
- Potential to add on professional monitoring services
- Integration with home automation
Professional Monitoring Home Security
Professional monitoring is another option you have when it comes to home security. While you will incur set-up fees and monthly monitoring costs, you also will gain peace of mind knowing your home is monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by professionals.
An additional bonus of choosing the professional monitoring option is the security team will alert you to break-ins and fires or other emergencies. Depending on the system and team you choose, they may also contact emergency responders when hazards are detected.
Shop around for the monitoring company you feel most comfortable with and fits your budget. Many security companies offer different monitoring plans, making their services accessible and affordable to more people.
Consider Home Automation
Home automation is a popular choice these days and involves making your home work better for you, whether that be turning your lights on or adjusting the thermostat on an automated schedule. You can also integrate your home security system with it as well.
A smart home security system may include:
- Smart locks, doing away with keys and allowing you to unlock with your phone
- VIdeo doorbells and wireless smart cameras
- Smart light bulbs, with internet connection to schedule on/off timesSmart plugs and switches, for anything from coffee pots to heaters
The benefits of incorporating a smart home security system are convenience and remote monitoring; however, these systems are more costly, and you may experience issues with power outages. Weigh all these factors before deciding on your first home security system.
Get To Know Your Neighborhood
Lastly, take time to get to know your neighborhood. Introduce yourselves to your neighbors and learn what you can from them. Look up the crime statistics in the area and consider ways to make the entire neighborhood safer, including starting a neighborhood watch group.
Knowing how to secure your first or even tenth home doesn’t have to be overwhelming. From performing a home audit to installing a security system, you can create a home security strategy to protect your property and your loved ones.
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