How to Determine Home Security Needs For A Small House
There’s a lot to take in when deciding what security needs your small house may need. Make a checklist of your biggest priorities. Make sure you have the essentials and then assess any additional considerations you should make for your starter home or neighborhood.
Safety Essentials Checklist
- Working smoke alarms on every floor
- Working carbon monoxide detectors on every floor
- Functional window locks and deadbolts on the exterior doors. Changing the locks when you move in is highly recommended.
Home & Family Checklist
Once you’ve checked off the non-negotiable household essentials on your list, ask yourself if your home or family presents any unique concerns:
- Do you have many people coming in and out of your home? Kids, their friends, babysitters, cleaning people – the more people you have coming and going, the more your house will be vulnerable.
- Do your kids tend to leave their toys and bikes outside where they can get stolen?
- Is your yard well-maintained or overgrown? Unkempt landscape is often a sign of a vacant home and thieves know it. Also, vegetation in your yard may conceal intruders and give them a hidden way to access your home.
- Is there a secure place for your mail and packages to be delivered, or are you a target for package thieves?
- Is your property located in a high-traffic pedestrian area? You may need to take additional measures against spur-of-the-moment thefts.
- Do you live in an area that’s prone to natural disasters, power outages, or other environmental hazards? If so, you’ll need to take steps to secure your property.
- Is there any home security equipment pre-installed in your home? You may be able to pick up a contract with that provider for a discounted rate.
Neighborhood & Community Checklist
Best Home Security Products & Services for a Small House or Starter Home
1. Professionally Installed Security Systems
Professionally installed home security systems are the best option if you’re not tech savvy, if your starter home has little to no preexisting protection, or if you just want maximum protection without the guesswork. Professionally installed packages are available from providers like ADT and Vivint.
Pros: Many security providers offer scalable packages, so you can include as many devices as you want (cameras, video doorbells, smart locks, etc) or few enough to just cover your bases (intrusion protection and environmental monitoring). Many providers also structure their pricing so that equipment fees are rolled into your monthly monitoring fees, so there’s less to spend up front.
Cons: They may require long-term contracts and they’re difficult to take with you if you move and are usually the most expensive option.
2. Self-Installed (Do-It-Yourself) Security Systems
DIY home security systems require some technical savvy, but they’re flexible, scalable and cost-efficient.
Pros: One can start with a basic system and add on more devices as needed. The best systems offer many accessories that go beyond security, like programmable smart plugs and smart lights. Many offer month-to-month pricing for monitoring services.
Cons: They take some time and knowledge to set up correctly. All equipment must be purchased up front. If you don’t pay for monitoring service, you’re responsible for monitoring incidents that may trigger your alarm.
3. Standalone Security Equipment
There’s no end to the possible devices or products you could buy for your small house. If your starter home is small enough, just one or two devices could offer lots of peace of mind.
Here are some of the most popular options:
- Security cameras – These are already more popular than full systems, according to our survey. Available for indoor and outdoor use, the best ones can record activity that may trigger them and send you alerts to your smartphone whenever activity is detected.
- Video doorbells – Perfect if you’re just looking to keep track of who is coming and going (not to mention the packages on your front porch).
- Smart locks help take the headache out of copying and keeping track of keys, while at the same time preventing you from getting locked out. Assign a unique customizable PIN code to every household member, which can be revoked at any time. And you can still use your key if necessary.
Best Low-Cost Home Security Tips
You don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands to secure your small house. Some low-cost gadgets can add security to your home:
- Panic button - Panic buttons let you notify a pre-set list of emergency contacts or emergency services with one touch. They are available as part of some home security systems, or they are available as standalone products. They can be helpful for seeking help quickly without requiring you to speak or access your phone.
- Stand-alone door or window sensors - Sensors that trigger a high-decibel alarm are inexpensive and can be used in many places other than the front door or a window.
- Portable door lock - Add an extra layer of security to your bedroom door or front door with a portable lock that can’t be forced open.