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Top 10 Security Mistakes Of First-Time Homeowners

First-time homeowners are so excited of finally getting a place of their own that most of what they focus on is superficial: design, theme, color, and furniture. Nothing wrong about that except that home security, the benefits of which are beyond superficial, also deserves to be in any homeowner’s priority list.

What’s good to know is that with the emerging technology, there’s more awareness to the benefits of a home security system. When security coincides with energy savings and convenience, the whole idea of home safety becomes better. LinkedIn cited in their 2014 study that 60% of adults subscribe to smart home technology primarily because of perceived importance of security.

Any form of intrusion in your personal space, however petty, can shatter your peace of mind and make you feel violated and unsafe. But did you know that some cases of burglary could have been prevented if homeowners were not so careless and did not make too many security mistakes? For example, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a surprising 30% reported entering a home through an unlocked door or window.

Never be caught off guard with this list of security tips for first-time home buyers. What could you be doing wrong?

Hiding keys everywhere

Hiding keys everywhere

Photo courtesy of Katy Belcher via Unsplash

Hiding keys under a doormat, in the mailbox or in a flower pot is the oldest trick on the book. Retire that already. Even first-time burglars know where to look. Remember to always be careful with your keys. Duplicate keys and give them to other occupants of the house so you won’t have to leave keys outside. If not, leave them with a trusted neighbor.

Not putting enough outdoor lights

Not putting enough outdoor lights

Photo courtesy of webhamster via Flickr, Creative Commons

Security must start from the outside. Obviously, burglars hate exposure, and outdoor lights will expose burglars to neighbors and passersby. Burglars are most comfortable working in the dark so don’t be complacent. Install adequate outdoor lights, including motion sensing lights, to ensure home security and save energy.

Don’t change locks or use cheap locks

Using cheap locks

One of the tips for first-time homeowners is to change locks especially if you are not the first owner of the property. Also, do not settle for cheap locks, and invest in really good and sturdy ones. At least give those burglars a hard time. Go for quality, heavy-duty, deadbolt locks that could resist twisting and lock-picking attempts. A door knob-in-lock set with a dead-latch mechanism prevents slipping the lock with a credit card or an ID.

Leaving traces of purchases outside
So you have a new home and you are very excited to unbox all your new appliances and furniture. That’s cool, but don’t leave empty boxes outside that will reveal just what is inside your house. One of the tips to secure your home is to keep these boxes inside until there’s someone to pick them up or cut them into pieces and put them in a trash bag. The idea is not to give burglars something to drool over.

Skipping home inspection

Photo courtesy of Mark Moz via Flickr, Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of Mark Moz via Flickr, Creative Commons

The first-time home buyer security checklist should always include inspection. The home is a valuable asset. If you are looking to invest in something as expensive as a house, make sure you know what you are getting into. Protect your life’s biggest investment from the get-go by scheduling a home inspection that would identify potential safety hazards and repair issues.

Going for cheap alarm
If you want to secure your home and keep your family safe, do not settle for unreliable home alarm systems. Having said that, it doesn’t mean you really have to invest a fortune. There are budget alarm systems that you can buy. What is important is that you know what you need in a security system. Do you need something that can be connected to your phone? Do you need an alarm system that will give real-time alerts? Re-assess your security needs, find the one that suits you best, and build a smart home.

Not reconfiguring your alarm system
If you just had your alarm system installed by strangers, make sure to reconfigure it once they’re gone. Now that you know how to operate it, personalize it to your needs and lifestyle. Top brands for home alarm systems are very easy to use and navigate even for technologically-challenged people.

Giving clues and hints
Do not give criminals an idea of who lives inside the house especially if you are one of the favorite targets of burglars: solo dwellers, single mothers, busy professionals, or breadwinners with elderly or children. Stop putting valuables near a window and give burglars an easy time identifying what to steal.

Always check your mailbox and make sure letters and subscriptions bearing your name, which will give away your identity easily, will not be left unattended.

Making your home look unoccupied
Burglars are constantly in search of a home that looks unoccupied. This is why you should always make sure that your house appears like someone is home. If you’re always away on business, invest on lights you can time to automatically turn on and off. Mow the lawn if you are going away for a long time, stop subscriptions or ask a neighbor to collect your mail.

Not staying away from social media

Giving clues where you live

Photo courtesy of The Bull Pen via Flickr

Buying a new home is definitely a milestone worth sharing to everyone. But maybe you want to reconsider that. Burglars are also wired and connected, and for all you know they are stalking your social media accounts. Ensure home safety by not giving clues where you live, that you’re away for the holidays or that you just purchased a new gadget.

The worst security mistake that first time homeowners probably make is assuming that crime won’t happen to them. Times have become more dangerous and letting your guard down, believing you are immune from property intrusions, is something you are likely to regret. It is best to be prepared and avoid security mistakes that are sometimes way too common but take for granted.

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