If for some reason you need to leave a property vacant for a period of time you may be somewhat anxious. Every homeowner who has to step away from their property, whether for a holiday or for other reasons needs to take precautions. It is important to remember that there are ways to keep a vacant property safe. Whether you choose to find a housesitter to help you or to ask the neighbours, read on to learn our top tips.
Keep a Vacant Property Safe and Secure
There is any number of reasons you might have a vacant property. For example, you could be in the process of moving, and you haven’t sold your old home yet, or the new residents haven’t moved in. You might buy an investment property that’s vacant, or it could be a family property that you’re trying to figure out what to do with.
Regardless of the specifics, the following are key tips for keeping a vacant property safe and secure.
Let the Neighbors Know What’s Going On
If a vacant property is surrounded by neighbors, they can be great resources and support. Neighbours can help for securing the property, particularly if you keep them in the loop. Let the neighbors know why the property is vacant, what kind of activity they can expect there, and what your timelines might look like.
It’s always good to have eyes and ears on the property, and you should give them your contact information in case they see anything.
General Security Tips
The following are some quick tips for securing a property during a period of relatively short vacancy:
Before you go away
- Don’t advertise it. For example, if your home is going to be empty for a while, or you have another property that will be, don’t directly or indirectly allude to it on social media. Social media is one of the primary ways criminals get information. Limit your social profiles in general.
- Try to take steps to make the property look occupied if you can. For example, if you have an extra car you don’t drive every day, maybe you park it in the driveway from time to time. You can also use timers to turn lights on and off.
- Go over your door and window locks, upgrading or repairing them if necessary.
- Someone, whether it’s you, a friend or family, or a professional you hire, should check the property on a consistent basis. You might hire a mobile security patrol unit if you don’t have someone who can personally check on the property. If they’re going on a regular basis, if something is amiss, they can report it quickly, so the problem doesn’t get worse.
During your absence
- Find a housesitter through a reliable network like Housesitmatch.com They will keep your property occupied and deter opportunist burglars
- Depending on the situation, you might need to give a spare key to someone, like a neighbor, or again, someone you hire. In case something happens, they’ll need to be able to get in.
- Depending on what’s in the vacant property and what the overall risk is, you might consider installing a camera and alarm system.
- External lighting is a major deterrent to people who would otherwise break into a property of any kind. Keep all external areas well-lit and use automated timers or sensors.
- A good idea can be buying insurance. Vacant home insurance can protect you if there’s damage from a disaster like a fire or hail, and also vandalism. If you currently have an insurance provider, they might be able to bundle in the vacant home insurance.
- In some situations, it might be appropriate to board up a vacant property. Some insurance policies will require it.
- Keep the property maintained, including the lawn. If a home isn’t well-maintained, it’s going to look vacant, and that’s not what you want.
Take a Different Approach for a Short-Term vs. Long-Term Vacant Property
If you have a property vacant over the short term, some of the strategies for securing it are going to be simpler than if you have a long-term vacancy.
If you’re trying to secure a long-term vacant property, maintenance also remains important. You may have to hire a company that will come weekly or every other week.
There are security screens you can install that will add an additional layer of protection to windows and doors that might otherwise be vulnerable to intruders. For example, there are roller shutter screens.
These are pretty easy to install, and you can roll them up and let light in when you prefer.
This tends to be a popular choice when someone has a vacation home they don’t go to for long periods.
Mesh security screens
There are also mesh security screens that are similar in that they offer security, but they can also let light in.
Final thoughts on how to keep a vacant property safe
Finally, when you have a vacant property of any type if at all possible, leave the services on. That includes electricity, and maybe the internet. Then, you can make sure that lights, security systems, cameras, and surveillance systems are able to keep functioning. It’s an added expense but less expensive than dealing with something happening at the property.
Further reading on housesitting and housesitters
At Housesitmatch.com we like to share useful blogs and practical advice about housesitters, housesitting and pet sitting. We hope you find this small selection of our blogs on house sitters useful.