So you’ve done it, you’ve finally bought your dream home. It is beautiful and it even has all the bells and whistles. You’re happy. You’re excited. But most of all, you are protective. This is your dream home for crying out loud and you are going to do everything you can to protect it. But how do you do that? Who do you call, what do you buy, and what is it going to cost? If you were to believe all the ads on TV then you may be looking at buying way too much, throwing away a lot more money than necessary. In this article, we are going to go over the basics of securing your home, a few tips on how to secure your home on a budget, and so on— but first let’s dive into the most important part: potential threats to your new domicile.
What can damage my home?
When it comes to threats to you and your home, the list is quite long. However, they can be summed up into two categories: malicious intent and natural disaster. When we say malicious intent we mean things like burglary and vandalism whether you are in the home or not. On the other hand, natural disasters are just what you would think: fires, floods, earthquakes, blizzards and so forth. However, there is also a wild card: financial crises. We are going to dive into each of these and give you a few ideas on how you can protect your home from these threats. However, remember this article is only for educational purposes and should not be taken as actual advice. If you want personal advice, call a professional.
The first thing that most people think of when it comes to protecting your property. Burglary is not a huge problem that people need to worry about, but it is something that we all need to take into account.
Tip #1 for deterring a burglary: Lock your doors and windows
We know this sounds elementary, but it is truly the first thing that needs to be mentioned. You need to lock your doors and windows every night and when you are away. This is important because burglars are criminals of opportunity, they want to burgle the house that is the easiest to get into. So, if your house is the only one on the block that is unlocked, you had best bet they are coming in.
Tip #2 for deterring a burglar: Get a security system
When you hear the words security system, a lot of things can come to mind, there are cameras, alarms, and lights. While you don’t need all of those things, it is best to at least start with either a motion activated light on your property or a large floodlight so that it will be harder for a would-be burglar to approach your home undetected.
Now, traditional security systems come in three different kinds: local alarm systems, monitored alarm systems (sometimes called central alarm systems), and wireless alarm systems. Each one of these has their own positives and negatives, but really what it all comes down to is your budget.
Local alarm systems— these are the simplest of the bunch and is usually the cheapest. You can find a good set of these for under $50. All they do is attach to the door or window around the door and sound an alarm when they are opened. They are pretty effective at scaring people off and alerting you and your neighbors to the intruder.
Monitored alarm system— these are the ones you see advertised on TV a lot. You know, the ones that are connected to a 24-hour monitoring office. If your alarm is tripped this office across the country is alerted and they will take appropriate actions.
Wireless alarm system— these systems are some of the newest and coolest things on the market. They combine all the benefits of the local and monitored alarm systems, but also connects to your phone or mobile device. You will get alerts on your movie device if a door or window is opened, you can arm or disarm your system on the go, and you can (in some circumstances) get video feed of what is happening in real time.
Tip #3 for deterring a burglary: Set your lights and TV on a timer when you are away
If a house is dark and quiet all day and night a burglar will quickly be able to deduce that the occupants are away. So, just set up a simple timer like you would use with holiday lights on your TV and lights to come on just before sunset and just after midnight and it will give the impression that you are at home. Just be sure not to have them all click on and off at the same exact time. For instance, if sunset is at 6:30 PM then have the lights kick on at 6:15 and the TV at 6:30; then, have the TV click off at 12:05 AM and the lights at 12:08 to make it seem like you are retiring to bed.
Tip #4 for deterring a burglary: Have a neighbor or trusted friend collect you mail and newspapers for you
If you don’t want to tell the post office and paper company to suspend your mail and paper while you are away, you can ask a friend or neighbor to collect them for you on a daily basis. If there is a pile of newspapers on the porch and a bunch of mail in the box, it is a near sure sign that no one is home.
Vandalism is another worry for homeowners. Whether someone spray paints your garage door, breaks down your mailbox, or anything else for that matter, it can be stressful and be quite the ordeal to get repaired. There are a few things you can do though to deter (not prevent) vandalism.
Tip #1 for deterring vandalism: Lights
Like we said earlier with the security systems, lights are a great deterrent for people wishing to do you harm. If your house is well lit a vandal will have a hard time vandalizing it without being spotted. They prefer dark areas where they won’t be seen. So, install motion activated lights, flood lights, and any other kinds of lights you can think of so long as your house seems well lit.
Tip #2 for deterring vandalism: Cameras
You see, just like with lights, cameras can be a great deterrent for would-be vandals as they don’t want to get caught. So, if you can invest in a camera system for your home it might well be worth it. You may also consider buying what is called a dummy cam which is a fake camera that looks real to make a vandal (or burglar for that matter) think they are being caught on tape when they really aren’t. They are much cheaper than real cameras, so they do work pretty well as a deterrent. Make sure that you buy a convincing looking dummy cam though. If it looks fake, they won’t be worried and will continue. The best thing to do is to buy a small camera system with only a few real cameras and then buy a few more fake ones that look like the real ones. That way they won’t know which is which and will think your house is more secure than it is.
Now that we are done talking about how other people can damage your home, it is on to the other things that can happen to your home. Disasters come in many forms so we will start with a fire. There are two types of fires: natural disasters and manmade.
When it comes to natural disaster fires like brush fires and fires coming from neighbors, there isn’t a lot you can do. This is because the likelihood of your home surviving something like this is mainly dependent on how far your home is from the homes and brush around you. You can, however, arrange your landscaping so that trees and brush are far enough away from your home. This will make it so that if a fire comes upon your property it will have a hard time jumping from your landscaping to your home itself.
The other kind of fires that you need to be aware of are fires that are manmade. These can include electrical fires, arson, and so much more. While there isn’t much you can do about arson, there is something that you can do about electrical fires. The best thing you can do to prevent electrical fires is to keep your electrical systems up-to-date. If they are regularly checked in on, they will have a higher likelihood of not causing your home to catch on fire.
Next, there are floods. Floods can be caused by any number of reasons. There could be heavy rainfall or quicker than usual snowmelt that would cause the river to swell; a damaged dam; or just problems in your plumbing.
Let’s start with floods that come from external causes like the river or broken dams. There truly isn’t much you can do about these sorts of flooding aside from not building or buying a home in a floodplain. You can get the information about where floodplains are from your city’s planning department.
However, when it comes to flooding due to plumbing problems, there is quite a bit you can do. Namely, just like we said with the electrical systems, by getting your plumbing systems checked regularly. With regular plumbing check-ups, you will minimize the likelihood of there being a problem with your plumbing in the future.
Earthquakes are a tricky one to prepare for when it comes to natural disasters. They are unpredictable and vary in magnitude so really preparations for these kinds of events should be left to professionals. If you are about to build a home, make sure to talk to them about earthquake proofing your home while they are building it. If it is already built, talk to a professional to have your home retrofitted to endure something like that. One of the things you can do though to prep your home for an earthquake is to anchor everything you can to prevent things falling down or breaking. This includes dressers, bookshelves, and so on.
Blizzards aren’t very common here in Boise, but it is a possibility. One of the things you can do to protect your home from a blizzard is to have the necessary supplies needed for heavy snowfall. For instance, in the winter time you should have shovels, salt, wood for heating, a way to clear your roof of snow, and even some food in case you are snowed in. With this kind of preparation you can definitely raise your odds of not only surviving a blizzard, but keeping your house intact.
If you are leaving your house for more than a day and it is going to get below freezing, blizzard or not, you should never turn off your heating completely. If you do that the pipes could freeze and destroy them causing flooding when they thaw. So, first off, wrap them to keep them warm and second set your climate control to hover around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This will keep them thawed while you are gone.
Lastly, there is financial crisis. If you find yourself strapped for money, you could end up losing your home. To protect yourself from that you should try to always have both food and money saved in case of emergency. You don’t have to save a lot at a time, just saving a small amount of money consistently will suffice. The key is to have that savings in place.
Now, there are a lot more things that can damage your home so don’t stop learning here. Keep looking into possible scenarios and keep learning ways to keep yourself and your home safe.
For more information about houses, homes in the Treasure Valley, and Boise in general, call the Hughes Group today. Here at the Hughes Group we have a skilled team that knows how to get you into your dream home. Call or email today for more information.