Theft and vandalism occur more often around the holidays and if your property is vacant it’s likely it can become a target.
Your rental property is a major investment and keeping good tenants is a high priority, but sometimes the holiday season approaches so quickly that your left with an unoccupied rental property — a very appealing scenario for the bad guys.
Even if you’re in the process of selling your property, with the approaching holidays it’s important to cover your bases if it’s vacant. Here are some valid tips to think about and check off your list.
A vacant home sitting idly during the holiday season is a big target for vandalism. Contact your insurance company to be sure your coverage is adequate. Find out the details of how your policy will cover your vacant home. Some insurance companies specialize in offering “Vandalism and Malicious Mischief Coverage” that protects your unoccupied home.
Your home’s exterior lighting can serve as a major deterrent for vandals. A combination of lights on timers and motion activated lights will discourage would-be burglars. Make sure the entrances are well lit, as well as the sides of your home where intruders are less likely to be noticed. Outfit any sheds or garages with exterior lights. There are home security systems that offer enhanced exterior lights that integrate with security cameras. When the light detects motion, the home security camera is activated and records video. You can view that video on your web enabled device.
Friends or Neighbors
If it’s no longer convenient for you to visit your home on a regular basis, then ask someone like a friend, relative or neighbor to do so for you. If need be, pay someone to perform the service. There are companies that specialize in taking care of vacant homes by performing interior and exterior checks and making sure yard maintenance is performed regularly. There are even companies that will find people to live in your home while it’s on the market.
Of course you’ll want to take steps to secure your home against bad guys, but you’ll also want to protect it from Mother Nature. One way to do so is by using a programmable thermostat that keeps pipes from freezing and cools the house in summer. There are several reasonably priced thermostats with built in Wi-Fi so you can adjust them remotely, and there are also those that integrate with your home automation system.
It’s a good idea to let your local law enforcement agency know that your property is vacant. Provide them with a list of anyone that is authorized to be on your property, and ensure they have your contact number. You’ll also want to give them the name, number and address of a local contact in case you can’t be reached. Contacting law enforcement can’t guarantee your home’s security, but if the worst happens at least you’ll be made aware of the situation immediately.
If you have invested in a home security system, that’s a smart move. But just because the property is vacant doesn’t mean it’s okay to terminate the monitoring service. Regardless of your property’s neighborhood, it’s still a prime target for thieves. And the cost is nominal compared to what vandals can do if they break in a strip the place bare.
Prepare and Repair
While your property is vacant is a perfect time to replace worn entry doors with hard wood or steal doors that have strong locks. Check to be sure that all windows are closed and locked. You can set up a few lights throughout the house on timers. If your home has blinds, turn them up so natural light comes in without telling burglars that the house is vacant. If you do have a monitoring system, let the monitoring service know who has access to the property while it is vacant.
Protecting your vacant rental property while seeking new tenants is not difficult if you give it a bit of forethought. Use these tips to keep your investment safe while it awaits its new residents.Cousin James Management knows all the ins and outs of property management, including locating and qualifying high quality tenants. Your rental property is an investment you want to protect so remember, you don’t have to do it alone. Contact us and we can discuss what you need and how we can help you enjoy your investment property more.