Home Maintenance TipsHome Ownership February 24, 2014

Should You Be Alarmed?

No! The Lugar Team Has Your Back.

While some neighborhoods have a reputation for being safer than others, no home is immune from potential criminal activity.  Often times, the homes that are expected to be safer, are the most vulnerable, which is why protecting your home with a security system may be a wise investment. What’s important to know about these systems is that they are a great deterrent and warning system, but they are not foolproof.

A few years ago, I was showing houses to a client.  Two of these houses were right next door to each other.  As Realtors, most of us hate alarm systems when we have to show a home.  There’s always that fear that we won’t be able to get it turned off in time.  In this situation, I was not even told there would be an alarm, so I was caught off guard when I opened the door and the alarm system began beeping.

Now I was on the clock. I grabbed my phone and called the showing service to get the code.  Of course they had no code. The siren started screaming. I called the listing agent and she too had no code. At that moment, I looked at my clients, shrugged with a smile, and said, “let’s take a look at the house.”

We entered the home and toured it fairly quickly because of the unpleasant siren. In all we left the home in less than five minutes. Next we went  to view the home next door, where we spent another five minutes. After about ten minutes of viewing both homes we came back out to the street just as the police arrived in response to the alarm.

While there are probably plenty of occasions where the police have shown up faster than ten minutes, in this case, a professional thief could have cleaned out several jewelry boxes, collected other valuables, and been long gone.  On the other hand, I’m sure the presence of an alarm system may be enough to encourage most thieves to choose a different target from the beginning.  And if someone does break in, you, the homeowner, and the authorities will know about it no matter whether you’re five or 500 miles away.  What it comes down to with alarm systems is weighing the cost of maintaining the system against the added protection they provide.

Here are some other great ways to protect your home either for less money or just as an added precaution.

  1. Get a dog – I’ve had police tell me that a dog is the best way to keep criminals out. Of course, if you’re on vacation, so is your dog.  And between the vet bills and dog food, an alarm system may be less expensive.
  2. Good lighting – Adding floodlights, carriage lights, or even decorative accent lights will make your home more inviting to guests and less desirable to thieves.
  3. Trimmed shrubbery – While you’re kids will miss the extra hiding places, so will the bad guys.
  4. Avoid regular routines – Variety is the spice of life, so spice it up a little and try to avoid doing the same thing at the same time everyday.  The less predictable you are, the less welcoming your home will be to burglars.

Ultimately, you want to be cautious and aware of your surroundings.  You want to work with you neighbors to keep an eye out for each other.  And most of all, don’t do what they do in TV shows and movies and explore the situation when you discover a break in.  If you think your home has been broken into, leave the house immediately and call the police.  Nothing in your home is more valuable than you and your family.