As a certified home watch professional, I am obsessed with protecting your most valuable asset. Home ownership is an investment on so many levels and it is imperative that it is protected as such. When you’re away your home is at risk.
Home owners insurance is one way to preserve your investment…but is that enough?
The answer is a resounding NO! Thankfully, there are some relatively easy steps you can do to ensure that your property is safe.
1. Shut off the main water valve and water heater. One of the most expensive disasters that can happen to a home is flooding and mold. Water leaks can occur at any time and a broken pipe could cause thousands of dollars in damage. Make sure your home is protected from this by simply shutting off the main water valve . Your home watch professional can assist with this by adding this step to their home watch routine.
2. Get a security system and make sure it is clearly displayed…this is self explanatory. All homes need to have some sort of monitored security system. This works in two ways, the first being prevention. Having a security system is a major deterrent for keeping would be trespassers at bay. Criminals will avoid homes with a security system so make sure you have well placed signs warning them against intrusion. In the unfortunate event that a burglar makes it into your home, the system works by alerting the authorities who will immediately rush to the scene. Audible alarms will warn the criminals that the police are on the way. Whoever gains entry will know that they must leave immediately or face dire repercussions.
3. No home should be left unsupervised for an extended period of time. There are too many horrible calamities that could be avoided by having someone keep an eye on things. Make sure it is someone you trust. There are plenty of companies that provide home watch services so you don’t have to rely on someone who isn’t trained to know what to look for. This will also help to avoid break ins as any activity at the home would signal to would be trespassers that it has not been left unoccupied.
4. DO NOT leave a spare key outside! It is very common for homeowners to leave a spare key outside for emergencies. Criminals are well aware of this and continue to gain unimpeded access to homes while their unsuspecting home owners are unaware. Criminals know where to look and you would be very surprised to find out how often this occurs. If you must, leave a key with a trusted neighbor or friend. Also, most home watch professionals offer key in services for families and service providers and will even stay on the property for the duration of the visit.
5. Get a programmable thermostat. When you’re gone, there’s no use heating or cooling an empty house to extreme temperatures, but you don’t want to turn your system off entirely, either. Some thermostats even allow you to control the systems while away via smart apps. This will help prevent mold and musty air while keeping your electricity bill to a minimum. Your home watch professional should be checking this on each visit and testing for failures and humidity levels.