10 Easy Tips for Securing Your Home While Vacationing

49Going away on vacation during the season of fall certainly has its perks: the crowds are less, the weather is more desirable, and discounts are everywhere and difficult to pass up.

Planning the vacation is the easy part. Travel itinerary, hotel, transportation and packing are standard procedures. But have you put any thought into securing your home while away? With the average property loss per burglary estimated at more than $1300, taking a few steps to secure your home could save you some serious money and heartache.

Before you go away this fall, consider securing your biggest asset with these tips:

1. Do a Walkabout
Don’t make it easy for would-be burglars to steal your things. Take the time to inspect the exterior doors and windows for worn, ill-fitting hinges, door knobs and deadbolts. If your screwdriver skills are lacking, stop by your local hardware store and ask for handyman referrals.

2. Neighborhood Watch
Let your neighbors know exactly when and for how long you’ll be away from home. Most people are happy to keep a watch on each other’s homes. Ask them to park their cars in your driveway. Make sure you inform the neighbor of anyone you might have coming to walk the dogs or mow the lawns.

3. Yard Upkeep
Speaking of lawns, keep up appearances by hiring a lawn service to keep your yard looking its best while you’re away. Left unattended, your messy lawn is a sure signal that no one is home.

4. Secure the Social Networks
Posting vacation photos and status updates while on vacation might be fun but they are also open invitations for burglaries and other cyber mischief. Crooks routinely monitor Facebook, Twitter and other social media sights; save the vacation photos for when you get home.

5. Hire a House Sitter
If your plans have you away for an extended length of time, consider hiring a house sitter. Whether you hire an individual or a house sitting service, daily visits can stop small issues – such as leaking pipes or electrical outages – from becoming major home repairs.

6. Leave Well Enough Alone
Curtains closed? Open? Porch light on or off? The best way to keep up appearances is to simply leave your curtains, blinds or outside lighting as is. You will, however, want to keep money and other valuables out of sight. No reason to tempt the fates.

7. Mobile Apps
If your home has a security camera set up, you might look into some of the latest mobile apps available. Depending on the app, you can watch video, receive alarm information and even monitor your home’s energy usage while away.

8. Stop Mail and Newspapers
Put a temporary hold on newspaper deliveries. Piles of them on the front lawn signal no one’s around. Also, have the post office hold your mail until you return.

9. Move your Spare Key
This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to remove the key from under the doormat.

10. Alarm Signs
If you don’t have a home alarm system, see if you can borrow a friend’s or neighbor’s alarm company sign. While not a perfect solution, it might just be enough to keep the burglars away!

Image credit:  Susan Ho