Tips to Keep Your Home Safe While You’re Away

It’s that time of year again!  Summer is here, and people are leaving town for summer vacations.  And, unfortunately, it’s also the perfect time to be a victim of burglary and theft.  Review and follow the tips below to help keep your home safe while you’re away.

HOME ALARM

If you have a home alarm system, use it.  Many people get in the habit of not setting an alarm when they leave the home; however, it is one of the best deterrents for criminals.

LIGHT TIMERS

The key is to make your home appear lived in.  A simple way to achieve this goal — investing in light timers.  Retailers, such as Lowe’s, Target, and Walmart, sell inexpensive light timers.  You set the timers at intervals (for instance, early morning and evening), and the lights attached to the timer will automatically turn on and off.  Make sure you place light timers in strategic locations near windows, so it appears someone is home and turning lights on and off.

SPARE KEYS

Remove all spare keys outside of your home.  The plastic rock isn’t fooling anyone, and the hide-a-key in the grill isn’t safe.  Criminals can easily access your home with a spare key; it makes their job a lot easier.

 SOCIAL MEDIA

With the digital age, people are sharing more and more with their “friends” list and the general public.  Regardless of how secure your list may be, we recommend not disclosing your location or the fact you’re not at home to anyone on social media (or blogs, etc.).  There’s plenty of time to post all of the fun and exciting pictures when you return home.

 ENLIST HELP FROM NEIGHBORS OR RELATIVES

Ask a neighbor or relative to keep an eye out and report any unusual activity to you.  While they’re looking out, they may water plants, move the trash bin to and from the street, or other tasks to make your home appear lived in.

MAIL AND NEWSPAPER DELIVERY

Nothing screams “I’m out of town” more than piled up newspapers in the driveway or an overflowing mailbox.  Contact your local post office and newspapers to temporarily postpone delivery until you return.

 

Common HOA Violations and How to Prevent Them

Many homeowners associations maintain a set of covenants [or rules] and restrictions for each home owner or tenant to follow. These rules are in place to protect the value and appearance of your home and neighborhood. Please review your neighborhood specific covenants to ensure you are in compliance, as the rules are enforceable by the association. While covenants may differ amongst neighborhoods, some of the most common violations are listed below.

  1. Improperly placed trash cans: This is perhaps the most common and preventable violation. Many neighborhoods require trash cans to be placed out of view from the street. Bring your trash can into the garage or behind the home on trash collection day. Leaving the trash can out in plain sight may result in a letter or fine.
  2. Lawn maintenance: Most neighborhoods require lawns to be neatly trimmed and weeded. To prevent violations, make sure your grass is trimmed and remove weeds from your lawn and plant beds – even in cooler months.
  3. Improperly parked vehicles: Many neighborhoods have strict rules regarding on-street, boat, or recreational vehicle parking. Before you park on the street or park a boat in your driveway, check your neighborhood covenants to ensure you are not in violation.
  4. Mailbox maintenance: Some neighborhoods require standard, uniform mailbox presentation, including paint maintenance. Review your covenants before you allow your mailbox paint to become chipped or dingy. A fresh coat of paint or trimming the grass around your mailbox may be all it takes to prevent a violation.

Our staff routinely drives through our communities to ensure the covenants are followed. If found in violation, you will receive a letter in the mail. Take pride in your home and neighborhood and follow your simple covenants; your home may be the first impression for a potential buyer, and the rules ensure properties are properly maintained.