Are you planning a summer vacation? Summertime is the prime time of the year for family fun and creating memories. Unfortunately, it’s also the season when burglars look for easy targets while families are off enjoying fun in the sun. Here are ten essential tips to protect your home during the summer travel season.
Protecting Your Home While On You're On Vacation
1 – Have your mail held by the post office
A mailbox brimming with envelopes is a primary indicator that thieves use to determine that a family is on vacation. Remember that burglars are opportunistic critters—and they also love summer vacation. They scope out a neighborhood and find the home that looks like the easiest picking.
Instead of allowing your mail to accumulate, have your mail held at the post office until you return. You can complete the USPS hold mail form online, giving postmaster your preferred redelivery date or arranging for pick-up at the post office, whichever you prefer.
2 – Keep your grass cut
Another signal that a homeowner is away is a tall, unkempt lawn. Cut your grass immediately before you depart for your trip. If you plan to leave for more than a week, arrange for a neighbor to mow for you once or hire a lawn care company to do it for you.
3 – Set your social media accounts to private
We would tell you not to share your summer vacation photos on social media, but we know that you won’t be able to contain yourself.
You’re most certainly going to want to share photos of that epic vacation as it unfolds. However, that sharing also sends the message that your home is temporarily unattended.
Set your profile to “private,” so the images you post will only be shared with those you allow on your friend list. And, while you’re housekeeping, take time to delete people you don’t personally know.
4 – Rely on a trusted neighbor
Do you have a neighbor who you know well enough to trust while you are vacationing? Give them a spare house key in case it’s needed in an emergency. Also, ask them to keep alert and call law enforcement if they see any suspicious activity.
5 – Consider a house sitter
Know a friendly, local college kid who’s crashing with the parents for the summer? Invite them to housesit for you for the duration of your trip. They’ll get a break from their mom and dad, and you will have someone in residence. Just don’t expect to find any food in your pantry when you return.
6 – Use smart technology
If you travel often, it’s worth it for you to install smart device technology that you can control from your smartphone. The latest tech craze, smart technology now includes smart blinds that can open and close at your whim and smart lights which you can operate during the evening. These tricks can make it look like someone is at home in the evening.
7 – Your home security system
If you have a security system installed, get in the habit of using it every time you leave the house—especially when embarking on travels. If you plan to travel outside of the United States, give your alarm company a call and give them a local alternate phone number to contact in case the alarm sounds.
Also, be sure to place yard signs and stickers around the house advertising to the world that you do have a home security system.
8 – Motion detector lights
If you don’t have motion detector lights that flood your yard far and wide, install them before you head off on your summer vacation. Tripping a floodlight will startle a robber and send them running if they are trying to use the cover of darkness as they break in.
Motion lights are very inexpensive, and they’re simple to connect yourself. If you don’t like motion detector lights because you have a pet who sets them off, look for outdoor floodlights on a timer, instead. Keeping your yard illuminated will help deter those looking for an easy target.
9 – Disable your overhead garage door
The garage door is an easy way in for a criminal. Universal remotes make it simple for thieves to ride down the block and click a remote from their vehicle hoping for the right frequency—and it often works. Before you travel, disable and manually lock your garage door.
10 – Don’t hide your keys outside
Thieves also know that families hide a key for the kiddos someplace outside the home. Before they break the glass or door (making a lot of noise as they do it), they will search for the usual hiding spots.
Enjoy your summer vacation!
As you head off, cherish this time with your family, friends, and loved ones. Your summer vacation can be worry-free when you’re confident that you’ve left your home safe and sound. Bon voyage!
Jeff is a Glass House real estate broker with nearly 10 years of experience in the Washington DC real estate market.