Congratulations on your new home! It’s bound to be filled with memories, but there’s a long list of to-dos to tackle first. Top of the list is protecting your home with the right security equipment and services to keep your family safe. Here are a few easy ways to get started:
Install a home security system
It’s the best protection against smoke, burglaries and the unpredictable. Most home security systems are easy to self-install and others offer hassle-free professional installation. Security systems include entryway sensors, motion detection, and some even offer 24/7 professional monitoring for specialists to alert you when sensors are triggered. You can also add other smart equipment such as video doorbells, security cameras and smart locks for extra protection and smartphone control of your system.
Double down on door security.
Before you settle in, it might be a good idea to change your locks just in case previous owners or guests have a spare key. Most families consider a deadbolt to resist forced entry. Others are installing smart locks for keyless entry to their home. Smart locks usually cost between $100 – $200 and are easy to self-install. You’ll be able to give family members or visitors a unique code to enter and you can change codes anytime you no longer want to give access. And, you’ll get smartphone alerts each time your door is unlocked so you always know what’s happening at home.
Add security cameras for an extra set of eyes.
Even if you don’t choose a security system, you can still add security cameras around your home. There are plenty of options to choose from including your standard CCTV cameras that require local storage. But, there are more affordable and convenient options including smart security cameras that are easy to install and control using your smartphone. Most indoor and outdoor cameras start at $200 each depending on the features. But, before you buy a camera make sure you have secure storage with encryption for your videos to be safe from hackers and follow all recommended settings for the best privacy and security.
Tidy up your lawn.
You may want to add flowers or greenery to spruce up your outdoors and add privacy. But the more you plant, the more hiding places you may be giving thieves to disguise themselves. You can still have a nice yard with a few small touches. Start by keeping your grass cut and plants low to limit the number of spots to hide in plain sight. You can also install smart lights in darker areas, and some lights are motion activated to let you know when someone is invading your space. If you have a security system, you can also add your provider’s yard sign to make it clear that your home is guarded. And if you have any ladders or outdoor tools that could help thieves break-in, you should store them away after each use.
Protect your valuables.
Homeowners insurance can help replace your belongings in case of an emergency, but it’s important to take proactive measures to secure them in your home. Consider getting a fireproof pouch to store important documents and cash. Keep it hidden in a place that’s easy to access in case you need to grab it. For other valuables like jewelry and keepsakes, put them in a safe that requires a code or your fingerprint. Some homeowners hide their valuables in plain sight – in books, faux air vents or other secret spots if you want to get creative. As a reminder, you should always keep a list of your valuables with pictures and the monetary value just in case for insurance purposes.
Get to know your neighbors.
Home security is a community effort. When you get settled, meet your neighbors. Lurking burglars that see you talking to others in your community see that you’re on a united front and less is likely to slip past you. Ask if a neighborhood watch program is in effect and offer to create one if not. Law enforcement will work with you to get neighborhood signs, keep a close eye on activity in your community and find new ways to better security in your community.
Plan for when you’re away.
You can’t stick around to monitor your home in person 24/7, so it’s important to create a plan for when you’re vacationing or away for an extended amount of time. First, pause your mail delivery until you return. If thieves notice mail is being dropped off, but no one’s picking it up your home may be empty. Consider a house sitter to live in your home while you’re away or trick thieves into thinking your home by turning smart lights on and off. And if you’re away for a while, arrange for lawn care. Most importantly, when you’re away don’t share your whereabouts on social media. Thieves are always waiting for a sign that you’re not home.
Check your windows.
Windows are a common entryway for burglars. For the best window security, keep them locked at all times. For extra security, install window sensors with chimes so you’ll know when any window is opened and a glass break sensor as a device to listen for glass breaking and alert you. And when you move in, double-check the windows on the first floor of your home regularly to make sure they’re secure and burglar-proof. Replace any windows that have worn frames or locks.
Don’t forget about your garage.
It’s another easy entry if you’re not careful. Be mindful of when you have your garage open and make sure it’s securely shut each night. There are tools to secure your garage from the inside, such as a C-clamp. Most importantly, be careful where you place your garage door opener. If someone breaks into your car, it could be easy access to your home. At best, park your car in your garage each night and keep your garage door opener inside with you.
Follow common home security basics.
Home security starts with common safety measures. There are a few simple reminders that can improve your home security. It’s even helpful to create a regular routine for the following:
- Always make your home look lived in when you’re away.
- Never leave spare keys outside your home.
- Keep sliding doors secure with a sturdy rod and lock.
- Turn on a porch light if it’s dark outside.
- Close your blinds at curtains at night.
- Leave a light on if you’ll be arriving home after dark.
- Always lock your doors and windows.
Looking for more ways to protect your new home? We handpicked our favorite home security devices for your home. Check out a few of our favorites and let us know what you think:
- The Best Glass Break Sensors and Detectors
- The Best Door and Window Sensors
- The Best Video Doorbell Cameras
- The Best Garage Door Openers