Now that the housing market has picked up again more homeowners are willing to crack open their wallets and spend money on home improvement projects. As exciting as it can be to make improvements to a home it can also be stressful as well. You may find parts of your house unlivable for a time along with any number of unknown workers coming and going throughout the day.
During a remodel your home may be vulnerable to theft. Security Management Magazine estimates that approximately 1 in every 33 homes a contractor is working on will suffer some sort of burglary. As a homeowner, you should take steps to make sure your project doesn’t add to these statistics. Even if you don’t have a home security system, you can employ some DIY security measures to keep your home and property safe.
Thieves are typically looking for two things: easy targets and things to steal that they can quickly unload for cash. When you have a remodeling project going on not only are jewelry, money, and electronic devices at risk, but so are building materials and tools. A home under construction makes a tempting target to a thief. In many construction projects valuable items are left unsecured. Homes may even have open access (unlocked doors) so that tradesmen can have entry to the project when the owners are away.
Below are some construction materials that should never be left unsecure:
Copper wire and pipes. Thieves have been known to come into a construction project and tear out all the copper wiring and pipes. They then take it to a recycling facility where they cash it in. The rise in copper prices has led to an increase in this sort of theft.
Brass fixtures and plumbing fittings. Brass is also a valuable building material that can be easily resold or recycled for cash.
Aluminum siding and metal roofing can also be targeted for the reasons listed above.
Appliances and high end materials. This includes refrigerators, sinks, cabinets, tubs, granite, and the list goes on and on. These items are often left in unlocked garages or in areas with easy entry points for days until they are ready to be installed.
Tools. Tools left around the house are an invitation to thieves. Even inexpensive hand tools left in plain view indicate that more expensive tools may be on site.
Keeping your remodeling project or new construction secure should be a priority and not a casual afterthought. Here are some measures that will help keep your site secure.
- Keep the area around the house clean and building materials and tools put away in a secured area. Find out if contractors plan to leave any tools overnight and if so, that the responsibility for their gear does not rest on you the homeowner.
- Know your contractor. Do your homework to find out the reputation of those that will be doing work in your home and get referrals.
- Keep the project well lit at night, especially if there are easy access points to the project. A well-lit project will deter a burglar.
- If your home is being remodeled, keep your valuables out of sight and locked away. You won’t know the background of everyone in your home doing work, and some may have access when you aren’t at home.
- Be onsite as much as possible and keep in the loop as to when deliveries are made and when sub-contractors will be working. Schedule deliveries so they are used or installed soon after arriving.
- Let your security company know that you are having work done to the home and that you may need to reconfigure the system. If you don’t have a system in place this may be a good opportunity to compare security companies and find the one that best suits your unique needs.
- If you provided contractors with keys to your home consider changing your locks after the project is finished. Even a trusted contractor may have an employee that could easily make a copy to use later.
Home remodeling is an exciting time. Not only do you have an upgraded home to live in, you have a more valuable home. During the process of upgrading don’t let your security lapse. You will likely have to deal with your share of headaches during the process. Don’t let a preventable burglary add to them.
Lucas Nicholson has been working in the home security field for over ten years. During that time he has witnessed the aftermath of home burglaries and noted how simple precautions work to keep unwanted guests out of your home. Driven by a desire to help families keep their homes a haven, he turned to writing about the industry and currently writes for Top consumer Reviews for their home security blog.