The flights are booked (let’s hope…), the hotel reservations confirmed, and the luggage is packed. Think you’re finally ready for that relaxing getaway you’ve been planning for months? If so, we have a question for you: How protected will your home be while you’re gone?
The last thing you want to worry about when you’re on vacation is someone breaking into your custom home and stealing your valuable possessions. So, before you hit the road or head to the airport, take a look at our list of eleven ways to keep your home safe while you’re away.
Check your home security system
Take a close look at your home’s security system and make sure that every component – from alarms to cameras – is working properly. If you need to upgrade your home’s security system, we recommend doing so at least a week before you leave so you have time to familiarize yourself with all the new bells and whistles (literally).
Pause mail delivery
Visit usps.com or your U.S. post office branch and pause your mail service while you’re gone. This way, thieves won’t be able to steal your mail and use your personal information to make purchases or otherwise steal your identity. The more mail piles up in the mailbox, the easier it will be for thieves to know you’re away.
Ask a neighbor to watch the house
Choose a trusted neighbor to visit your home regularly to water plants, bring the mail in (if you haven’t paused it), and turn lights on or off. Make sure they know how to reach you in case there’s an issue. Even if you don’t need someone to visit your home regularly, you should still let a neighbor know you’re leaving so they can keep an eye on it from afar.
Better yet, hire a housesitter
Ask a family member or friend to stay at your home while you’re away. You can also register on websites like rover.com and trustedhousesitters.com. We recommend choosing sitters from these and other housesitting apps who have several five-star reviews and a lot of experience.
Keep you travel plans private
Don’t share plans on social media. Mountain vistas and beach sunsets make for stunning photos, but you’ll want to avoid posting those pics until you’re back. Avoid announcing plans to travel on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Those posts can easily be shared with people you don’t know who may see the perfect opportunity to break into your home.
Don’t leave your driveway empty
Even if you park your car in the garage, we recommend asking a neighbor to park their car in your driveway while you’re away. This helps deter thieves by giving them the impression that someone’s at home. You could also keep a television on in the evening to further give the impression that your home isn’t empty.
Turn your porch lights off
During the day, that is. It’s proven that one of the first things thieves look for when scoping out homes to rob are outside lights that remain on throughout the day. Instead, place your porch and patio lights on a timer, or ask a neighbor to turn them on when the sun goes down (and off again in the morning).
Leave no spare key
You may think that you’ve hidden your spare key in a place where it’s hard to find, but seasoned criminals know where to look. Avoid keeping any keys on your property at all. Instead, simply bring them with you or give them to a family member, friend, or neighbor.
Mow the lawn
If you’re headed out of town for longer than a week, mow the lawn before you leave. Like porch lights that are left on all day, an unattended yard is a giveaway to robbers that you aren’t at home. Think of it this way: The better you leave your yard when you leave, the less yardwork you’ll have to do when you return. No one likes to come back, well rested after vacation, only to discover that there are chores to do.
While this tip won’t keep the bad guys away, it will help prevent an electrical fire or a power surge while you’re gone. You may also want to shut off your water to prevent water damage should there be a leaky pipe. Check your sump pump as well if you have one. This way, in the event that there’s a storm while you’re away, you can rest easy knowing your basement won’t flood.
Check your homeowner’s insurance
If it is time to upgrade your homeowner’s insurance, we recommend doing it before you leave on vacation. At the very least, go over your homeowner’s insurance before you travel to make sure your valuables are protected.
Want to learn more about custom homes? Check out our gallery to get inspired, then contact the Classic Living Homes team to get started.