Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Securing your biggest asset – a guide for first time home buyers

The thrill of being handed the keys to your very first home is an unforgettable experience, and certainly a well-deserved reward for the effort you’ve put into saving up, negotiating a mortgage and battling your way through piles of paperwork. Well done! Now that you have your very own nest, the urge to make it your own usually leads to happy hours filled with decorating plans, flipping through interior design magazines and picking paint colors – but it’s also just as important to make sure your biggest asset is secured.

Let’s look at some of the basics in making sure your new home is secured against intruders, as well as some easy tips and tricks to give you that peace and mind that comes with knowing your investment is safe as houses!

Inspect safety concerns before you take ownership and get your priorities in place.

Even while you're still in the processing of house hunting or even exploring the idea of buying property, get into the habit of checking what the current security levels are like. What are your first impressions from the outside? Would it be easy for someone to gain access to the property from the street?

Don’t get obsessive over it, but do bear it in mind when making your decision, as you might not have heaps of cash available to spend on basic security upgrades straight away. If a property already has good security like an alarm system, motion sensing lighting or even cameras, it might be worth forking over extra. On the flipside, factor in what you would have to spend on securing a less expensive home and see if it’s worth what you save on the price tag.

And once you’ve chosen your home…

Start with the basics – make sure that door and window locks are in place and secure.

Your first layer of protection comes from physical barriers. This means making sure fencing or walls are in good order and that easy access points like gates, front doors and large windows are properly protected. Do some research online and see if the manufacturer of your locks has a good reputation, and if possible check how frequently they suggest replacing locks as your home may be due for an upgrade. Brands like Cisa Locks and similar manufacturers often have free articles on their websites that offer good advice too.

And don’t neglect the locks inside your home either – if an intruder does manage to get in, where would you and your family be able to hide where you’d be safe? If possible, have a secure area around your landline telephone you can all get to quickly and call for help from.

Put yourself in the shoes of a potential burglar

Imagine you’d left your keys at work and desperately needed to get into your home – where would you try and do so? Maybe even give it a go and see if you’re successful! The chances are good that if you can spot the weak zones, potential thieves can too. Get these areas looked at as a priority.

What does your home look like from the street? Are there windows that can be seen through easily? If so, make sure how install good blinds or curtains, and that you don’t keep valuable items in direct line of sight as these can be an open invitation.

Invest in a good alarm system and sign up with a security company

If it’s in your budget, strongly consider signing up on a monthly contract with a good home security company that can install a beam and alarm system, panic buttons and possibly even motion-sensor lighting. While you will hopefully never need their services, they are an excellent deterrent to thieves and will give you a better peace of mind.

Put up a Beware of the Dog sign – even if it’s a lie!

This is a super cheap way to add one extra little layer of security – it might make thieves think twice even if Fluffy doesn’t really exist, or wouldn’t actually harm a fly anyway. Why not?

Don’t advertise the fact you're going away

If you're heading off for a holiday, don’t spread the message across the neighborhood via social media, or by packing up your car in plain sight from the street. If you are going away, make sure to get a house sitter or at least have a neighbor pop in to turn inside lights on in the evenings and off again in the morning.

Don’t stint on household insurance

No matter how many precautions you put in place, the reality is that criminals can and do get in. While it might cost you a bit each month, having comprehensive insurance cover in place means that even if your home is invaded, you won’t have the additional worry about replacing pricey items if they do get stolen.

We hope you’ve found these tips useful. After all, your first home is such a precious investment – protect it!

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