If you’re moving out of your home and that home will stay vacant for some time before you manage to sell it or rent it out, then it’s crucial that you take the required security measures to keep it protected until somebody moves in and starts living in it.
Why? Everybody seems to know the answer to the WHY question here: an unoccupied home tends to be vulnerable to theft and vandalism when it’s left empty for a prolonged period of time.
And until you can find the proper buyers or right renters for the place you’re moving out of, you’ll need to make sure your empty home stays protected and secure against thieves and other intruders.
So, here are the top ways to protect your vacant home when you’re moving.
Lock all doors and windows
The first step to protecting your home when moving out is so logical that it can easily slip out of your mind. In fact, due to the high levels of stress and chaos during a house move, you may easily forget to do it too.
So, whatever you do or don’t do to protect your home from burglary, just make sure you lock all doors and windows before moving out. Take one last final walk around the house or apartment and double check whether all doors and windows are locked and secured.
Lock the garage door as well. Even if your house is not accessible from the garage, there might still be some things left to be stolen from the storage area. So, shut and secure all entrances to the garage to avoid trouble.
Read also: What mistakes to avoid on moving day
Have motion detector lights installed outside
Another thing you can do to protect your vacant home from intruders is to have motion detector lights installed over the front door, garage doors, windows, sides of the house and of course – the back of the home.
Such motion-activated lights placed on strategic spots around the exterior of the empty home will switch on automatically whenever someone moves around your property. Hopefully, that will be enough to discourage ill-intended persons from breaking in.
Additionally, you can set those exterior lights on timers to turn on and off at various times, thus making the illusion that the home is inhabited.
Try to simulate human presence
One great way to keep your home safe when you’ve moved away is to simulate human presence – that is, to give the impression that someone still lives in the residence.
To do that, consider setting a smart lighting system inside the home that will turn on and off at different times during the evening. In fact, it’s easier to do it than it sounds – you’ll only need several timers in which to plug in a few night lamps and possibly a radio to go along with the lights.
You can even purchase a fake TV simulator light to switch on automatically after dusk. That simple yet effective burglar-deterring device will produce the same flickering lights that everyone associates with the act of watching TV.
Keep your security system running
Speaking of security, nothing will protect your home better when you move out than a functioning security system. Before you leave the property, make sure the alarm is set properly and contact your home security company to tell them that the home will be vacant for an unspecified period of time.
And because the home you’re leaving is safeguarded by a security system, it’s time to advertise that fact too. Place various SECURITY SYSTEM stickers around all entry points so that potential unwanted guests can stay away from your property.
If you don’t have an alarm system, then you can still hang fake security company signs and even install several inexpensive fake security cameras on the outside to scare off burglars and trespassers.
See also: How to improve home security after the move
Do not leave any spare keys outside
To protect your home and property from possible break-ins, one thing you should never do is leave spare keys hidden somewhere around the exterior of your home – like under a mat, inside the mailbox, above a doorframe or underneath a potted plant.
Even if you’re sure you’ve found the perfect hiding spot for your spare keys, the risk is not worth it. Keep in mind that burglars are well familiar with all common and uncommon hiding places and may even take their time in searching for those keys if they suspect that nobody lives in the house.
Instead, leave your extra set of home keys with a good friend or a neighbor you can trust.
Stop the delivery of mail and newspapers
Another way to stop burglars from targeting your home after you move out is to make sure there won’t be an overflowing mailbox and piles of newspapers delivered to the front door – a definite sign that no one is living in the residence at the moment.
So, before you move away, don’t forget to change your address with the USPS so that your personal mail can get redirected to the new home address. Remember to cancel all other scheduled deliveries as well.
Ask someone you trust to check in on the home
While you’re waiting to sell or rent your home, it’s a great idea to ask a good friend who lives nearby or a trusted neighbor to check in on your property a few times a week. This way, you’ll have the peace of mind that everything with the home will be okay and that you’ll be the first to know in case of a problem of some sort.
Also, ask the trustworthy person to do some vacant home monitoring for you – to pick up any unexpected deliveries, move around some patio furniture, re-adjust some of the window blinds and even park their car in the driveway for some time so that the home looks lived in from the outside.
Get somebody to look after your lawn and yard
Before you move out of the home, try to arrange for somebody to look after the lawn and the garden so that they don’t get overly neglected. If you already have a gardener hired for that job, you’d better keep the same schedule so that nothing will seem out of the ordinary for potential thieves or vandals.
Be mindful that an untended lawn or a snowed-under yard is a telltale sign that nobody’s been home for weeks. So, make the necessary arrangements to have those chores done either with a local service or a good neighbor who won’t mind doing it for you. Think of an appropriate way to compensate the person living next door who’s agreed to do you that favor.
Must-read: How to find good movers
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