Sometimes your home may be on the market for days, weeks or months before new homeowners settle in. During that time, your home could fall victim to vandalism, burglary, the elements, system failure or a variety of other costly issues. Make sure you protect your vacant home with these tips:
- Lock and secure all windows and doors. First and foremost, be sure all windows and doors are secured before moving out of your home. This task may seem obvious, but it is often forgotten in the midst of a stressful move.
- Protect the interior. Set your thermostat to a steady temperature (high enough in winter to prevent frozen pipes) and replace the battery. Seal pet doors to keep pests, animals and other potential intruders out of the home.
- Remove all valuables from the home. Even if you’re staging your home for potential buyers, stick to the basics and make sure to take all valuables with you including expensive TVs and electronics, jewelry, valuable artwork, Persian rugs, etc.
- Keep up with yardwork. Make it a point to have your lawn mowed and/or your driveway shoveled so thieves don’t assume the property has been left unattended. Also trim branches that might fall and damage your roof during a storm, and clean out clogged gutters to avoid water damage.
- Utilize indoor/outdoor lighting. Lighting will help with the illusion that the home is still being occupied. Set your indoor lights on a timer to turn on/off every few hours. It’s best practice to shift the times of day your timers are set every week or so to avoid detection. Also install motion sensor lights outside so thieves can’t hide in the shadows.
- Park a car in the driveway. This is another way to make it look like someone is still home. Burglars are more likely to break into a home when residents are away.
- Enlist support. Ask your previous neighbors or friends to keep an eye on your property and alert you if there is any suspicious activity. Also notify the police and fire departments that the property will be vacant and provide them with your contact phone number.
- Keep your security systems up and running. Even if you are no longer living in your old home, your security system can continue to provide peace of mind against a potential burglary. Make sure your system is linked with the local police department and place a security sign in the front yard.
- Have a handyman on speed dial. It’s a good idea to have a trustworthy handyman on call in case of a leaking faucet, broke down appliance or other simple home repair arises. Afterall, your showing your home to potential buyers – you don’t want to show them a home that is falling apart.
- Protect your investment. Be mindful that if your home is vacant for more than 30 days, your homeowners insurance policy may not cover losses that occur while it is vacant. You might consider speaking with your local Rockford Mutual Agent about your options if your home will be on the market for more than 30 days.
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Amy joined Rockford Mutual in January of 2017 with an Associates Degree in Marketing. Amy has a great understanding of insurance in general as she is currently working towards an Associate in General Insurance designation.