Security Tips for First Time Homeowners

When you are a tenant, the security of your home is usually in the hands of third parties like the landlord. However, things change when you finally move into your own home as owning a home means you are solely responsible for your safety and the security of your property. If you just bought your first home, or if you are getting ready to make an offer, it is easy to get lost in the excitement of moving in and forget the need to protect your property against intruders. Below are a few security tips to help you protect your home and safeguard your property.


door-handle-key-keyhole-279810Home Security System

A home’s security system may not be a preventive measure, but it helps limit the intruder’s actions and make it easy to seek help.  Find a home security system that addresses your needs and fits your budget as there are a lot of options out there. You can even opt for DIYs which enable you to install a wireless alarm system without having to pay monthly fees.

Always have your alarm systems engaged even when you are away for them to work optimally. Other than scaring intruders and aiding you in getting help fast, a home security system may reduce your home insurance premiums. Contact your agent to find out if you qualify, and what features result in the most savings.

Get to Know Your Neighbors

Knowing your neighbors and building a good relationship with them comes in handy when you have to travel, or when you are in trouble. You get to look out for one another, and you can talk to one to occasionally check on your property when you are out of town. This way, your home will look like it is occupied while you are away, minimizing the chances of break-ins. By bonding with your neighbors, you will also learn a lot about the neighborhood watch programs and share more information on how you can protect yourselves as homeowners.

Secure Your Home’s Entry Points

One of the first things you should do as a homeowner is assessing the security situation of your new home. Take note of all the entry points into your property and find ways of improving their security. These include the main entrance, the doors and windows, and even the garage door.

Whether your first home is a newly constructed building or a previously-owned home, change your locks when you move in. You don’t know who has copies of your keys waiting for the opportune time to use them.  As you change your locks and keys, be sure to update your garage codes too since it is not only an entry point to your home, but could also be storage for some of your valuables.

If you can, install shatterproof windows for added security or reinforce your windows with security film so they won’t shatter. Deadbolts are also a good addition to your doors for preventing intrusion. Always ensure that your doors and windows are locked when not in use.

Be Aware of Your Neighborhood

When moving into a new neighborhood, it is important that you are aware of your surroundings. By being vigilant, you learn what’s normal and what isn’t. This gives you the ability to easily recognize suspicious behavior and take the necessary action to safeguard your security. Part of being aware is observing your neighbor’s routines and exploring the neighborhood both during the day and during the night so you can have a feel of how it looks like at different times of the day.

If you haven’t already, get a crime statistics report to establish the frequency of such crimes like burglary, and when they normally occur. You also want to familiarize yourself with the location and offerings of emergency services in case you will need to report suspicious activity. By being aware of your surroundings, you are in a better position to protect yourself as you are unlikely to be caught off guard.

Upgrade Smoke Alarms and Carbon Detectors

Your security shouldn’t only be focused on burglars, but also arson attacks and even accidental fires. If you bought a previously-owned house, chances are the smoke alarms and carbon detectors have not been replaced in ages. It is recommended to replace the entire smoke alarm system every 10 years and after 5 years for the carbon detectors.

If upgrading your smoke alarms and carbon detectors is not an option because they are still new, ensure that you buy them new batteries. You can even get a 2-in-1 system with both sensing capabilities to save on space and money as you will only have to replace batteries for one device.

Conduct Safe Landscaping

Overgrown bushes and untended lawns and hedges make for the perfect hiding spots for burglars. Make sure to trim and prune overgrown shrubs and trees that have grown high enough to block the windows. Well kept lawns and hedges will not only improve your home’s curb appeal but also contribute to your home security.

Landscaping doesn’t end with taking care of the plants around your home. Inadequately lit places around your property provide the cover of darkness for intruders. Consider installing lights around your home, and pay special attention to entry points and dark corners. If you don’t want to disturb your neighbors with bright outdoor lighting, opt for motion-detection spotlights/ sensor lights. These turn on automatically when they sense movement and are ideal for the front, back and sides of your home. Motion detection lights are a great way to boost your home security while at the same time conserving energy.

Watch Who You Let into Your Home

Having just moved into a new home, you should be careful about who you allow into your home. There will be delivery persons and even contractors and technicians who come to fix a thing or two. However, be mindful of every visitor as some could be potential thugs out to check out your valuables and security vulnerabilities.

Only allow in people you invite or those you have an appointment with. To minimize visits from technicians and contractors, get all the work done and inspected before you move in. This way, they won’t have access to your valuables. Also, make it a habit to restrict interactions with visitors to specific parts of your home so they don’t get access to too much information about your home.

Keep Prying Eyes Away and Get a Dog

When you move into a new neighborhood, ensure to keep off prying eyes from outsiders. survey your home with the intention of burglary. Simple solutions like blocking the view of your home’s interiors by covering the windows and doors with curtains and blinds work just fine. For sliding glass doors, you can obstruct the view with drapery panels, and install door jambs or security bars for added security. Security bars make it hard for anyone to force the sliding door open.

Another way to keep unwelcome visitors and strangers from coming too close is by getting a dog. Dogs are perfect for drawing attention when an unfamiliar person gets into your property, or when they hear unusual noises. It doesn’t matter the size of the dog, the presence of one will have burglars thinking twice about proceeding with their mission.

Being the first time owning a home, you don’t have to spend huge chunks of money on home security. If you just bought a home, the above tips will help you keep away intruders and ensure that you and your valuables are safe.

Erin Emanuel