By Shelley Little
There’s no doubt about it—moving is stressful! Amid all of the deal negotiations, packing and trying to turn your new place into your perfect home, there are almost too many things to think about. But while you’re focused on your to-do list, others may be taking an interest in your new home—not because of its beautiful exterior and excellent floor plan, but because moving can make you an easier target for crime.
In fact, both your new and old homes and belongings could be at risk. According to the FBI, moving can open you up to a lot of criminal activities, from burglars who spy an empty house to fraudulent movers looking for a quick buck.
So what can you do to increase your odds of staying safe during this stressful, transitional time? From smart preparation to taking advantage of new wireless security cameras, you have plenty of options for keeping your belongings safe.
Here are five tips that will help you protect your property and let you focus on settling into your new home.
1. Spread the Word
The simplest method to protect your former and future homes is to recruit other people to help you watch them. Your realtor, for example, should be aware of your timeline so they know when your property will be vacant.
The neighbors that you hate to leave (and even that nosy one a few houses down) can become extra eyes to watch your property. Advising the neighborhood watch and the local police department of your move is another wise precaution.
2. Mind Your Paper Trail
It’s already on your to-do list: “Complete a change of address with the Post Office.” That simple form is an important part of making your move as safe as possible. Your items should now be headed to your new address and not piling up at your old home. Don’t forget about your newspaper subscriptions, as well.
Those neighbors you asked to help earlier? Request that they also pick up any phone books, pizza flyers or informational brochures left on your doorstep. Nothing gives away a vacant property like paper piling up outside.
3. Look Like You Live There
Along with a pile of newspapers and mail, other signs of a vacant location are fairly easy to prevent. Make sure the lawn continues to get mowed, even after you have moved on. If it’s a winter move and your area gets snow, have the driveway and sidewalks cleared.
Leaving curtains closed will offer some protection against prying eyes. Keeping a few inexpensive lamps on timers in different rooms on varied schedules will give the illusion that someone is home. You might even ask a neighbor to park in your driveway.
4. Go With the Best
When selecting movers, make sure to do your homework. There are certainly many reputable and conscientious moving companies available that you can verify by checking reviews and asking questions. This is probably not the time to go with the lowest bid without doing your homework—it may end up costing you in the long run.
Sensitive documents, irreplaceable heirlooms and valuable items should go with the very best mover—you! There is nothing wrong with protecting those items by packing and transporting them yourself. In fact, it makes for a very smart move.
5. DIY Security
You can’t be in two places at once. Even if you have done all of the things on this list to help stay safe, there is one more thing you can add to your security protocol—a wireless home security system at each property.
You may think that leaving a property is not the time to add a new system, but in reality, it can save you from a lot of potential trouble and can even be a selling point for your old home if you choose to leave it there. It can be a benefit to new buyers while simultaneously allowing you to keep an eye on your vacant property. Another option is to install a security system at the old location and then take the system with you to your new home when the property sells.
Thanks to developments in the industry, keeping your transitional home safe is now a task that you can easily handle yourself. Technology has made reliable and cost-effective security cameras and systems available for the DIY-er. Many of these security systems can be controlled with a smartphone, making them even easier for you to start using immediately—and from anywhere. Best of all, the set up can often be done very quickly—literally within minutes, you can have a stream of the camera’s view to your phone.
Finally, don’t forget to change the locks on your new home—you never know who may have a key!
Shelly Little writes about keeping you, your belongings and your home safe during a move. She especially likes to provide tips on how to use wireless home security systems to keep an eye on your house. Visit online or in store to see a variety of Home Security Systems from The Home Depot.