Congratulations! You bought your first home! But first, before you get caught up in decorating your spaces or planning that housewarming party, it’s important to make sure that your new home is safe and secure before anything.
New homeowners are easily vulnerable to the security risks since they are just learning about their new home and neighborhood. Get a jump-start on educating yourself with the 10 home security tips for first-time homebuyers.
- Aim to be an informed resident of your neighborhood before even moving in. Always assess the security situation before you buy.
- Take your neighborhood for a test drive. Drive around the neighborhood during the day and at night. This allows you to gauge the happenings of your new neighborhood at different times of the day and week.
- Do your research for the area’s crime rates — for both property and violent crimes. Even the safest neighborhoods are not immune to crime.
- Meet your neighbors. New homeowners should get acquainted with their neighborhood and neighbors. Talking to your neighbors about neighborhood crime and safety will provide a sense of the kinds of security precautions needed in your home. Getting to know your neighbors also leads to an increased awareness of trends in criminal behavior in your neighborhood, thus reducing the risk of being a victim.
- Perform a home security audit. After you’ve moved into your new home, inspect all of the home’s entry points and identify any outdated or malfunctioning locks. Specifically looking at locks to windows and rear doors, as well as your exterior and garage lights. And don’t forget to re-code your garage door opener. There also may be a need for a thorough home audit, cautioning new homeowners that many break-ins are by people who have had a chance to scope out your home.
- Identify your local emergency services. Once you’re aware of the kinds of crimes that occur in your area, determine the proximity of emergency services to your neighborhood — and then work this information into your security and safety plans. Furthermore, after neighborhood watch members are trained on what to do when suspicious activity is seen, they should know who to contact and what information should be provided when reporting crimes to authorities.
- Focus on prevention. Even if you decide not to get a home security system, you can still address home security issues. Showcasing valuables through open curtains and discarded packaging on the street. Add secondary blocking devices to sliding glass windows and doors so they can’t be easily forced open. Additionally, secure your garage. If a garage door is left open when you leave the house, your belongings and family become vulnerable. New homeowners to consider installing a garage door that can be controlled remotely via a smart home app. First-time homeowners should be especially mindful of who enters your home, including service vendors, delivery persons, contractors, and even friends of your children.
- Shop around. The [home security] industry has a history of aggressive sales tactics, so it’s more important than ever to find a provider you feel comfortable working with that can offer advice and guidance without pushing a product. Assessing your family’s specific goals for a security system is key. Use a full smart home or security system, noting that they allow you to rely on cameras to keep an eye on your home’s surroundings and flag any unusual movement inside.
- Don’t rule out DIY systems. You can purchase a wireless security system without paying for installation or monthly monitoring. If the alarm is activated, it triggers a loud siren, which is good enough to scare most burglars away. The best part of any security system is the sign in the lawn advertising that you have a security system. Many burglars will bypass your home due to the sign alone.
- Consider financial benefits. Beyond the security benefits alone, a home security system also often brings you a home insurance discount of up to 10 percent. A reduced insurance rate is not a universal rule, however, and any possible deduction will vary by insurance provider. In addition to potential home insurance discounts, take into account that some home security systems help homeowners conserve energy costs, as they can be integrated with thermostats and outlets, and monitored remotely.
It’s all about preparedness
Ultimately, proper home security precautions stem from research and preventive actions. Take a critical look at your new neighborhood, home, and lifestyle to best determine your family’s specific security needs.