If you’re a real estate investor and you have a vacant property, or one that you’re renovating, it is sometimes a challenge to protect the property from vandalism or break-ins. The National Real Estate Insurance Group, a national insurer of investment properties, has some great tips on how to protect your vacant properties. Some of the suggestions are common sense, but others are great ideas.
If you own a home that has been vacant for a while, chances are there may be other vacant homes in the same neighborhood. Make sure your house is not the easiest target on the block. Lead thieves and vandals to believe the house is being lived in or at least being watched. Don’t make their “job” easy for them.
Install good deadbolt locks on strong doors. Lock all windows with study hardware If people have lived there in the past, change the door locks. Consider reinforcing your exterior doors by adding metal door jamb shields and hinge shields to make it harder to kick the doors in. Reinforce or protect basement windows.
Get to know your neighbors. Let them know that you plan to bring in good renters or new owners. They can be your “eyes and ears” to let you know if something seems strange.
Drive by regularly. If you notice a break-in, call the police. Do not enter the property yourself until they arrive. The intruder may still be inside!
Keep the yard cleaned up. Don’t let newspapers lay around. Don’t let mail overflow in the mailbox. Even if you’ve change everything to online billing, you may still get junk mail.
A well lit exterior will discourage thieves. Install the lights high up so that it is hard to disable them. Consider installing motion detectors. Install various interior lights on timers.
When either required or appropriate, send a handyman over with plywood and long screws to board up the property. There are products that are alternatives to plywood that allow light into the house, if you want that.
Posting a sign on the front window or in the yard indicating an alarm is monitoring the house is a great deterrent. Actually having an alarm is better.
The best defense is to layer several of these suggestions together. Creating a security system with several of these components will encourage thieves and instrudors to move on down the block.
If you’re the owner of a vacant home, or one that needs renovation, but you just don’t have the time or money to complete all of the needed repairs and upgrades, call us or give us your name and contact information in the form on this page. Someone will get back to you discuss the property.