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How To Protect Your Home Before You Move In

Home » How To Protect Your Home Before You Move In

Sometime after closing on our house, and before we received our keys, it was broken into and all the appliances were stolen. We were lucky. They could have broken through all the walls and stolen the copper pipes and wiring.

Since we weren’t living there at the time, it didn’t feel as much like a violation as it might have if we were living there, but it cost us a lot of money and it made us wonder if we had chosen the wrong neighborhood.

Several years later, we had long replaced the appliances with better than what was stolen, and aside from some noise and traffic, we’ve had no problems with the neighborhood. It turns out our house was like so many others in this country. Vacant houses are targets, and not just for theft. They’re common destinations for vandals and squatters, and drug dealers sometimes use vacant addresses to send and receive “product.” There are ways to protect a vacant home, though.

The Obstacle

Before you get keys to your new home, there’s very little you can do, but you can protect yourself before that. If the listing agent is smart, she will install alarms, lights, and perhaps cameras. If not, ask for them in the contract.

If the listing agent won’t agree to that, ask if you can park a car in the driveway (if that’s feasible) and that she puts some lights on timers. If it looks like someone lives there, people tend to leave the home alone.

Signs

As soon as your home goes under contract, ask the listing agent to take the sign down. If you have signs from a security system, even if there isn’t one in your new home, plant it in the front yard.

Notify the Police Department

Let the local police department know that your house is vacant, and ask them to drive by a couple of times a day.

Notify the Neighbors

Meet your new neighbors before moving in. Tell then when you’ll move in, and ask them to notify you if something suspicious happens.

Notify the Utility Company

Your utility company can let you know if there are sudden spikes in utility bills. That could mean a squatter, or worse. Your new vacant home could be a temporary meth lab.

Oh, and if you receive a package from someone you don’t know, don’t open it. Return it to the post office, or if you prefer, the police.

Featured image CC2.0 by Mark Moz via Flickr

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