When you go on a vacation or an out-of-town business trip or, your primary concern will always be the safety and security of the house you're leaving for a longer time than usual.
Sure, you may have home insurance coverage, but that doesn't mean it will make losing stuff to a fire or burglars hurt any less. You will also have to go through the hassle of filing a claim, which can get a bit tricky in the middle of a global pandemic.
If you're going away for an extended period, make sure you do the following to protect your home:
Don't Let The World Know No One's Home
We live in a world dominated by social media, the perfect place to make people green with envy by posting in real-time photos and videos of your vacation or business trip to another city, state, or country.
Unfortunately, social media is also where burglars can scout for houses to hit, and your posts will definitely help them out in that regard.
It's OK to share proof of out-of-town trips, but it's best that you wait until you're back home before dumping all your videos and pics on social media.
If you can't help yourself, you should at least make sure your sharing setting is set to private.
Ask For A Neighborly Favor
Do you have neighbors you can trust? If so, then try asking them if they can at least keep an eye on your home and call 911 if they notice anything suspicious happening inside or outside your property.
If you trust a neighbor enough, you can also leave them an extra key so they can check your home from time to time.
In case something unfortunate does happen, giving your neighbor your contact details would allow them to contact you right away.
Trick Would-be Burglars Into Thinking Someone's Home
Few criminals will not hesitate if they think a target house is actually occupied.
One effective way you can make people think someone home is by setting timers on your lights, so they turn on at certain times of the day and night, ideally at varying times – there are plug-in timers for instance with dusk-activation.
When you leave, take a cab or use a ride-hailing service to take you to the airport or train station so you can leave your car parked on your driveway and give out the impression that its owner is home. Alternatively, ask a neighbor to park his/her car in your driveway.
Unkempt lawns could signal to thieves that no one is cutting the grass, so keep your landscaping appointments even when you're away.
Power surges could occur when no one's home and damage your appliances. You can avoid that by unplugging your TV, computer, and other electronics.
As for your refrigerator, whether to unplug it or not will depend on how long you're going to be away.
If you are gone for only a week, it might be more practical just to leave your fridge plugged in and make sure it's equipped with a surge protector. If your trip will keep you away for a month or longer, unplug your fridge before you go. Consume or give away its perishable contents to neighbors or friends so they won't go to waste.
Shut Off The Main Water Valve
Few things can thoroughly ruin your homecoming from an extended trip than your furniture, appliances, and other belongings floating on a foot or so of water, courtesy of a pipe that burst while you were gone.
You can prevent that from ever happening if you shut off the water, which you can easily do if you know the location of the main valve. [Note: If you have a sprinkler system for your garden, obviously do not shut the water off; your plants and lawn will thank you - tck]
Secure Your Valuables
It's just too much of a risk if you leave jewelry, cash, and other valuables lying around the house.
If you have a safe, make sure you lock everything in there, including vital documents and hard drives that contain crucial files and information.
Better yet, go to your bank and put them all in a safe deposit box before you leave.
These are just some of the many ways you can protect your home when you go on a long trip, but they should be good enough places to start.
Guest post courtesy of Rachael Harper, Content Marketing Strategist of Bennett & Porter, a wealth management and insurance firm based in Scottsdale, Arizona. When not writing, she makes use of her time reading books and playing bowling with her family and friends.
Tobias Kaiser is an independent real estate consultant and licensed Realtor in Florida since 1990. He specializes in modern architecture and net leased investments.