Protect your Home From Theft

by : Susan Zanzonico

Nobody wants their home to be broken into. Not only is it emotionally traumatizing, and a threat to one's personal belongings, it can also cause permanent damage to a home. While insurance should cover all the costs involved, let's see what we can do to prevent this kind of damage from ever occurring.

One of the major cautions to people considering selling their home without a realtor is the potential for letting criminals into the home during a showing. An agent should always be present when your home is being shown to a prospective buyer. This will reduce the likelihood of a thief using the opportunity to scope your home for a future break-in.

Consider acquiring a UV marker, and marking your address on your valuables. Then, get a sticker for the prominent windows in your home, announcing to potential thieves that the valuables in the home are marked. This will be a big deterrent to them, as it increases their chances of getting caught.

If you are going away, consider getting a timer to turn lights on and off in your home while you are out. If lights and even a radio turn on at times that mimic your natural patterns, it will be far less obvious that the house is empty. Further, cancel any newspaper subscriptions that will conspicuously build up on your doorstep. If possible, leave a vehicle in your driveway. If you have a friend or family member you are sure you can trust, ask them to come by to open and close curtains, turn lights on or off, and generally help your home look lived in.

Obviously, make sure that your doors are always locked when you leave the house. Installing sturdy locks on your windows is a good idea as well. And don't just stop at the first floor. Pay attention to ledges, pipes or fire escapes that may give a thief access to the upper floor windows. If your doors are old and thin, consider replacing them with newer doors. A thickness of about 1.75 inches is recommended. Also consider the location of a door window. Can it be easily broken, allowing a thief to reach your interior locks or the door handle.

Further, avoid any opportunity for a potential thief to access your home keys. While this may not cause as much damage to your home as forced entry, it is still undesirable. Therefore, never give your key to any contractors. Avoid labeling your address, apartment number or name on your keys. If they are lost, it is best that they remain anonymous rather than tempt an opportunist thief. If you are concerned about having lost keys returned to you, invest in the services of a retrieval agency that gives you a tag with a code on it.

Finally, be sure to change the locks whenever you move into a new home. You just never know who may have a key.