With 2019 now upon us, the year ahead is full of potential to improve and expand your property portfolio. There are, however, bound to be times when your properties lie unoccupied, which is why we are here to help, by providing a few suggestions on how to keep them safe during void periods.
Check the locks
Take a look at the locks on all doors leading into the house, and any garages and sheds, if applicable. It is all too easy to assume everything is fine, simply because the doors look shut and there are no obvious signs of a break-in. However, you will want to take a closer look, in case anywhere has been tampered with. On closer inspection, if you see signs of scratches, or the lock is coming away from the door, then you may want to consider replacing it, in case the culprit returns to try again.
This may seem obvious, but it is vital to regularly make sure that you have locked up properly. Even the best of us have moments of absent-mindedness. Make it part of your routine to check everything is secure, for definitive peace of mind. The same goes for closing all of the windows.
Install and maintain burglar alarms
Having a burglar alarm installed will not only help to prevent a successful burglary, but also deter those who are tempted. However, you need to make sure it stays in working order, otherwise it may let you down when you need it most.
CCTV as a backup
You can do all you can to try and prevent a burglary, but not every circumstance can be predicted. Having a camera focused on entry points will at least give you a fighting chance to bring the culprit to justice.
Technology has come a long way, to the point where we can view such footage live on our smartphones. Smart doorbells with two-way audio are also popular options. When someone rings it, you can answer from your phone, wherever your location, as though you were actually home.
Leave the lights on
Leaving a couple of lights on will give the impression that someone is home, but don’t leave the same ones on each time, as with planned burglaries, there may be someone watching the property.
To save you the hassle of visiting more regularly than you might want, you could invest in smart bulbs, which can be controlled by an app on your phone, from any location.
Don’t leave obvious signs that the house is unoccupied
First of all, have the post redirected, so that you don’t end up with a pile by the door. It is all too easy for someone to peer through the letterbox, and see this telltale sign. Temporarily sealing the letterbox would also help.
Leave a car on the drive, if you can. An empty driveway is a sure sign to many that no one is home. If there are no cars coming and going for a long period of time, then this may give some thieves confidence.
Befriend the neighbours
Offer your driveway for them to use, either for their own car or for when they have visitors. It will keep up appearances for your property, and you will be doing your neighbour a favour.
Aim to visit once a week, but, if you find you can’t, consider asking a trusted neighbour to have a quick check, to make sure that everything still looks secure. Sending them a small token of appreciation is a nice touch, and will make them happy to help out again in the future.
There is only so much you can do
There is no sure way to completely prevent a burglary, but doing what you can to reduce risks can potentially save you a lot of stress, and give you peace of mind during void periods. In the unfortunate case that you are burgled, having full Unoccupied Property Insurance can give you that extra support.