Planning on moving out of your property before it sells? If so, there are a few measures you can take to convince passersby that the home is still occupied and keep it as safe as possible after you’ve left. Even if the property is completely empty of contents, thieves may still be on the lookout for valuable building components, or assume all of the homes contents are still inside. Void of contents or not, during a break-in the property is susceptible to vandalism, which is something no home owner wants to take on.
The five tips below provide a good checklist of what you can do to help keep your property safe after you’ve moved out:
1. Keep up the yard work
An unkempt lawn, snowy driveway and walkway are clear giveaways that the house has been empty for awhile. Be sure to pop by the property every now and again to mow the lawn, tend to the garden, rake the leaves or shovel the snow. Out of town? No problem. Hire someone to do the maintenance for you or ask a neighbor to help you out until the new owners move in. Be sure to thank them later!
2. Winterize your home
Moving out in the winter months? Make sure you take the right precautions to prevent potential damage from fire and freezing due to faulty heating and electrical systems. Just because the house is vacant doesn’t mean you should abandon it completely. The heating system should be cleaned and inspected by a contractor and checked once a week to make sure the system is operating properly. Chimneys should also be inspected and cleared of any obstructions such as squirrels or nesting birds. Remove overhanging tree limbs that could cause damage from heavy snow or wind, and make sure windows are closed and locked shut. Clean out gutters and downspouts (these can cause basement flooding if clogged after the snow melts) and inspect the roof and shingles for any evidence of damage and leaks to prevent wind or water damage.
- Get eyes on the house
Let your immediate neighbors, realtor, police and fire departments know that your property will be vacant so they can keep an eye out for any suspicious behavior. Leave them with emergency contact information in case anything does happen so that they can reach you quickly. Ask neighbors to pickup any mail, flyers and newspapers that could start to build up - a clear sign that the property is empty.
- Turn on the lights
Nothing says “people are home” like lights on in the house. Of course, don’t leave them on all day; rather, invest in some lighting timers and strategically place lamps around the house. Set the timers to go on and off in different rooms at different times of the day. You can also keep curtains and blinds installed to give the illusion that people are still living in the home.
- Install or keep your security system
Alarms deter trespassers from entering your property and quickly alert the authorities when they go off. Alert the alarm company that the home will be vacant ahead of time, and display security signs in the window or on the lawn so passersby know the system is armed before attempting to break in. Security cameras (and even fake cameras) are a great way to monitor activity, or give the impression that the house is being monitored.
For more advice and help on securing your home as you transition into a new place, you can connect with me directly and we’ll make sure your home looks just how you left it, long after the moving trucks are gone.