Tis’ the season for family gatherings and get-aways. And if you’re one of the thousands of families who are lucky enough to leave town for the holidays, be smart about how you leave your house while you’re away. Many thieves count on the holidays to raise money and you do not want to be one of their clients.
Some of the following tips are tried and true, others are perhaps new to you, but here is a short-list on how to prepare for being away over the holidays.
Resist Social Media
It is hard to not express your excitement in seeing family or friends on Twitter or Facebook, but don’t! You don’t want all 700 of your friends (and friends of friends) to know it’s “only 3 more days til’ beachtime!” Avoid posting great pictures of sunsets on beaches or giant family photos that reveal you’re on the other side of the world. Remember it’s seen by more than just your close personal friends.
Put a hold on your newspaper delivery and mail. Papers piled up on the front step are a dead give-away that no one is home.
Trust A Neighbor
It’s a good idea to let someone you trust know you’re gone, so they can just keep an eye on your place for any suspicious activity. They can also watch for deliveries and take in any miscellaneous packages or mail that might land on your front step.
Make it Look Like You’re Home
The good old fashion light on a timer works wonders in making it appear that someone is home by going on automatically in the evenings and then shutting off at bedtime. There are gadgets that also simulate the look of a television set, if that is something you’d like to consider.
Double check your windows are shut and locked, your sliding patio doors are locked and perhaps place pins in the interior tracks to keep them from being opened. It also makes sense to tuck any obvious valuables out of site from a window or door.
A recent survey by nextdoor.com found that nearly 60-percent of people don’t follow common safety precautions to protect their homes from theft. Hopefully by following these tips and taking the time to prepare, you will return to a home that is just as you left it, and all you’ll have to worry about is unpacking and catching up on mail and dirty laundry.
The Minnesota Association of REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.