Contract is signed, moving boxes are packed, and the keys are handed off—congratulations; you’ve officially relocated to your next home! But what if your old house hasn’t sold yet, and will sit vacant until then? What do you do with your vacant home in the meantime? Or, in other words: how do you protect it?
At Dowell’s Moving, we know how important it is that your possessions safely move from point A, to point B—that’s why we take care of an array of moving needs that address every part of the process. But that sense of security also extends to your home, as well.
Check out these eight tips to ensure that your vacant house is safe and sound until it’s sold!
1. Lock It Up
Any time you enter a new home, or leave an old one, the first thing you should do in regards to security is simple: change the locks. Make sure the vacant home you’re waiting to sell has a new set of locks when you move it—that way, you’ll be the only one with the keys when you leave. So you won’t have to worry.
After living in a house for some time, the locks on windows can get flimsy and unreliable—two words you don’t want to hear in a vacant home. With that said, be sure to replace and lock up all of your windows in your now-vacant home. Believe us—it’s worth the peace of mind.
2. Let People Know
When we leave our houses behind, we often forget that those homes are part of a larger community—a group of people that you can trust, and depend on, to be there when you’re not. So after you leave a vacant home behind, it’s worthwhile to let your neighbors there know that it hasn’t sold yet, and so anyone that they don’t recognize should be alerted as an intruder to the local police immediately. Maybe even make an extra key for them, so they have access if anything goes wrong.
Furthermore, sellers should notify the local law enforcement in town about their departure, with a list of known persons allowed on the property, and their phone number. This type of security by association can go a long way.
3. Fix and Fortify
As mentioned with locks, your house is in a different shape when you leave compared to when you move in. Doors are often haphazard; locks are of lackluster quality; and windows could be missing the proper protective guards they once had. These should be all renovated, and replaced, for two major reasons.
The first is that a vacant house is a lot like an automobile—it won’t function properly with shoddy parts. And that’s the last thing a homeowner should want when it comes to security; these sort of property features are easily breakable, and open targets to anyone trying to break in. Making sure your home infrastructure is up to date is good not just for the house, but for its security, too.
And the second reason is, perhaps, the greatest threat to a home’s well-being: nature itself! If Mother Nature acts up—whether it’s snow, rain, or sleet—a property will be vulnerable if it hasn’t been renovated in some time. So protect yourself before you sell!
4. Stay Alert
After locking the doors, fixing up the place, and alerting the local law enforcement, you’ll want to activate the alarm system (that’s if you already have one; if not, get one!) when you leave your vacant house, and keep an alarm system sign out front.
If you won’t return until the house sells, having an alarm system that is functional, up to date, and known to outsiders will give your home that extra layer of security it deserves. And it’ll let you relax a little more!
5. Leave The Lights On
One of the most effective methods of keeping intruders away from your vacant house is also one of the most simple: leave your lights on. Install timers on the lights outside, so they flash on when it gets dark out. By doing so, your house will look anything but vacant.
Another option is installing motion-sensors for lights, so they flash on if anyone comes knockin’. An active home is a safe home—even if there’s nobody home.
6. Get Your Papers Together
Many insurance companies consider a vacant house to be a liability, and it will go uncovered as a result. Before you move out, make sure you speak with your insurance company, to let them know that you’ll be leaving the home vacant for some time. That way, if any plans do exist, you’ll be covered.
A home that truly looks vacant from the outside—unkempt lawns; scattered branches; unshoveled pathways; and other general neglect—is an open target for potential vandalism, as many intruders will think nobody’s home, or that nobody cares.
Don’t let this happen: either plan to stop by every so often to clean up the place a little bit, or simply hire someone from the neighborhood to occasionally do some lawn work. Some homeowners even suggest leaving at least one car in the driveway if you can, to give the appearance that you’re still home.
8. Don’t Leave Behind Anything You Love
The last bit of advice is pretty straightforward—make sure your vacant house is actually vacant. If you’re moving, take all of your prized possessions to the place where you rest your head at night. You shouldn’t be up all night wondering if your wedding ring, or flat screen TV, is protected.
When you’re ready to move, or put your possession in storage, Dowell’s Moving & Storage will be there at every step of the way, with our wide range of services at your disposal. Moving can be hard, and stressful—but hey, it really shouldn’t be.