Winter is a dreary, cold business here in West Michigan, which is why many people choose to travel to warmer destinations during the winter months. While it will feel great to get away, you may worry about the safety of your home while you’re gone. Burglaries do happen, but there are plenty of precautions you can take to protect your home. If you plan on seeking warmer weather this winter, here are a few tips to keep your custom home locked-up tight while you’re away.
Set Lights on a Timer
A great way to make intruders think someone’s still around is to set your lights on a timer. Today’s technology makes it easy for you to set both interior and exterior lights on a timer, or even turn them on and off at random from your phone. When you turn lights and electronics, like the TV or radio, on at random intervals, it makes it seem like someone’s at home or at least watching the home for you while you’re gone.
Have Someone Visit
Give your spare key to a neighbor or family member who will be in the area over the holiday season. Ask them to check your mail, grab the newspaper, and just drive up the driveway once every day or so. Fresh tire tracks in the snow of your driveway, and someone picking up the mail are a good deterrent for burglars.
Lock All Windows and Doors
Before you leave for a week or two around the holidays, take a minute to check all of the windows and doors in your home. There’s always a chance that an out-of-the-way window or barely-used door was left unlocked and no one ever noticed. Many burglars break into homes through upstairs windows near a tree or large shrub — locking those windows adds a level of protection that may be just enough to stop a burglar.
Keep Up Exterior Maintenance
If you usually have someone come plow your driveway, shovel the sidewalk, or do any type of exterior maintenance, make sure they’re still scheduled to come while you’re away. Burglars watch homes for any signs of activity that is out of the norm. They’re likely to notice if your driveway has two weeks worth of snow piled up. Having your snow removal person show up gives the illusion that someone is still home.
Hold Mail and Newspapers
There’s no clearer sign that you’re away than piled up mail and newspaper. If you don’t have a friend or family member to stop by every day to grab your mail for you, it’s easy to ask the Post Office to hold your mail while you’re gone. It takes just two steps, and when you come back, all the mail you’ve received will be kept safely for you at your local post office. This is an especially good idea if you often receive holiday mail with checks and gift cards included.
Wait to Post on Social Media Until You Return
Social media is a key culprit in a number of burglary cases. Keep your home and belongings safe and wait to post about your amazing trip until you return. Telling people you’re leaving the country for a fabulous two weeks in the tropics might feel great, but that’s basically a neon sign alerting burglars that you won’t be home.
Don’t Leave a Hide-a-Key
Burglars know about hide-a-keys. They’ll find them every time. Don’t leave yours outdoors, and instead, give that spare key to the friend or neighbor who will check on the house for you while you’re gone.
Outdoor Motion Light
Whether they’re working in daylight or the nighttime, burglars work really hard not to draw attention to themselves. When you install outdoor flood lights that are triggered by a motion sensor, you’re immediately disrupting that plan. It’s hard to miss a giant flood light, even if it’s by the side door or in the back of your house. An immediate spotlight on a burglar is often enough to scare them away.
Consider a Manual Lock for Your Garage Door
While automatic garage doors are awesome while you’re home, they’re surprisingly easy to hack. If you’re planning on being gone for a week or two, you may choose to just disconnect the automatic opener, and opt instead for a manual lock. This will help keep your garage possessions safe and will add an extra barrier between your home and the burglar.
Install a Home Alarm System
One of the most effective, last lines of defense to protect your home from burglars is a home alarm system. There are a variety of options to choose from, but in many cases, just knowing that your home is armed is enough to keep burglars away. In many cases, hearing the alarm go off will convince burglars to flee.
If you’re leaving for an extended winter vacation this holiday season, these tips can help you keep your custom home safe while you’re gone. And if you’re considering a new home for your family in the new year, feel free to check out some of the beautiful homes Whitmore Custom Homes completed in 2018! As a custom home builder, we’re here to build your forever home, today. Find out more about our home building process online today, or call us at (616) 446-3482 to talk with us directly.