Massachusetts Real Estate

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Protect Your Precious Vacation Home From Break-Ins

The following article is a guest post by Cherie Rodriguez A crafty mom, Cherie shares her tips with other DIY moms. She loves jogging along the beach and playing catch with Dusty the family dog and hanging out with her 2-year-old, Greta and 6-year-old, Travis.

Vacation HomeThere’s no place like a vacation home, right? It’s where you can get away from it all, maybe sink into a favorite chair and relax in front of a big-screen TV, listen to music or just enjoy the quiet. As much as you value your slice of paradise, is it as well protected as it could be? Second homes are prime targets for thieves who scour neighborhoods for rental and vacation homes because they have lower risks of running into people, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Install Security

A wireless home security or video surveillance system not only serves as a deterrent to thieves, but it also alerts law enforcement and the property owner, and video surveillance creates a potential record of trespassers. An added benefit of having home security is lower rates on your homeowners policy, which offsets the monthly fee to the security company that monitors your alarm 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Insurance discounts vary by insurance company and by sophistication of the security system, according to Insurance.com, so check with your agent.

Post warning signs that your place is being monitored. If a potential burglar knows that your home has a security system, he is more likely to look for one in your neighborhood without one.

Keep It Occupied

Vacation home rental expert and blogger Christine Karpinski tells the Los Angeles Times that "robbers are a lazy bunch." They don't want to work too hard to get into your property, so the more hurdles you create, the harder they have to work. Hire a caretaker to live in your second home while you’re away. If you live in a neighborhood with multiple second homes, go in with a few neighbors and share caretaker service expenses. Get to know the year-round locals and leave your contact number with trusted neighbors. Second-home owners in popular destinations such as The Hamptons, Kiawah Island in South Carolina, and Aspen, Colo., will find a number of companies that offer "absentee owner programs" that regularly monitor your property—and they'll prepare it for your arrival. Some services will stock your refrigerator with food and beverages for the week, make the beds with fresh linens, and heat or cool the house so it is ready for your arrival.

Light It Up

Nothing says “Welcome!” to a thief more than dark windows and doors, notes U.S. News & World Report, which recommends a putting interior and exterior lights on timers and placing motion detector lights in the front and back of the home’s exterior. The goal is to make your place look lived in—all the time. If you plan to be away for an extended period, make arrangements to have the timers changed as daylight becomes shorter or longer, depending on the season.

Keep It Tidy

Unkempt landscaping can signal to a burglar that no one’s home. Even a tree limb could give a thief easy access to your dwelling, notes State Farm. If your home is in a condominium association, your homeowner fees likely include exterior yard maintenance. If you hire a company for yard service while you are away, check in with your neighbor or property manager to ensure the service is being done, or ask the vendor to send you time-stamped before-and-after photos of landscape maintenance.

Be sure to stop deliveries and ask a neighbor to keep an eye out for newspapers, flyers, take-out menus, phone books and things left on the doorstep. MoneyCrashers.com proposes “strategic landscaping” in hopes of deterring crime. Plant thorny rose bushes, for example, under windows and use loose stones or gravel, which make lots of noise under foot.

Use Common Sense

Lock doors and windows. Close blinds and drapes. Keep valuables out of sight, and make sure they are insured for their replacement values. Create a house-closing checklist for you and your guests that include a room-by-room guide for securing the property.

Keep your travels to yourself and your inner circle of friends and family, which does not include the 400+ friends you've amassed on social media. If you have children who live on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, discourage them from posting details about their travels, and encourage them to use common sense.

Sometimes the best advice is the most basic.

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on protecting your vacation home was provided by BillRE/MAX Executive Realty Hopkinton Mass Real Estate Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at billgassett@remaxexec.com or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 25+ Years.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

For Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate and home sales see Maximum Real Estate Exposure

I service the following towns in Metrowest MA: Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Upton, Southboro, Westboro, Ashland, Holliston, Mendon, Hopedale, Medway, Franklin, Grafton, Northboro, Shrewsbury, Bellingham, Northbridge, Uxbridge, Sutton, Millbury, Worcester, Millville, Douglas, Natick and Wayland MA.

Building lasting relationships by helping people move in and out of Metrowest Massachusetts for the last 25 years.

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Comment balloon 14 commentsBill Gassett • January 04 2013 03:57PM

Comments

Very well said.  I would like to wish you and yours a wounderful 2013.

Posted by Tim Lorenz, 949 874-2247 (TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team) over 5 years ago

Hi Bill. You are so right that there are little things that we can do to assure that we don't send the wrong signs to passers-by.

Posted by Melissa Zavala, Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County (Broadpoint Properties) over 5 years ago

Bill, second homes offer so much to many people. For us, our second home comes with a concierge and an elevator at any number of places around the world

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 5 years ago

Good advice, Bill and thanks to Cherie.  I am going to send this to my many clients who have second homes. Thanks!

Posted by Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR, Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS (ERA - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale) over 5 years ago

Thanks for all your comments guys on Cherie's guest posting. It is always good to be safe than sorry!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 5 years ago

Great information, Bill.  This is just as true for second homes down here in FL.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 5 years ago

Bill....these are some good tips even on one's regular home if they're going to be away for an extended period.  They have great timers these days too that you can program so it's not always off & on at the same time.

Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com) over 5 years ago

Bill, love the sound of that vacation. These are awesome tips to protect vacation homes. I agree that second homes are indeed being targeted by thieves. Great share, keep it up!

Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) over 5 years ago
Hey Bill, interesting re-post. The only thing I'm not real sure of is closing all the window coverings. If someone were to get inside, they would never be seen by someone on the outside to alert authorities. Oh we'll I guess 6 and one-half dozen of another. Great tips though.
Posted by Marie Fox, Lake Mary, Florida, Home Stager & RE Photographer (Foxy Interiors Inc. Lake Mary Florida) over 5 years ago

Bill-Good tips and like some of the other commenters have mentioned appropriate for any of your properties.

Posted by Wayne Johnson, San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale (Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS®) over 5 years ago

Thanks Marie & Wayne for your comments. You do bring up a good point there Marie!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 5 years ago

Bill,  Great ideas for keeping a property safe from vandals and unwanted guests. 

Posted by Christine McDaniel, Broker Associate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Porter Co.) over 5 years ago

Hi Bill...Interesting option here, maybe not just those second homes. Rent to Own certainly would have an appeal with Buyers not having a sufficient down payment, nothing new but now maybe a growing options for Home Sellers and Home Buyers.

Posted by Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation, Accredited Real Estate Consultant (RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate) over 5 years ago

All great suggestions but I especially like the one to keep it occupied. If you can find a caretaker, then go for it.

Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500) over 5 years ago

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