If you travel a lot you know the challenges of hoping that your home will be just as you left it. You most likely work hard to keep your home well-tended and its maintenance up to date, so keeping it safe when you’re out of town is just part of that effort.
While home invasions and natural disasters aren’t common, it is easy to get worried when you are away for long stretches of time, since you want your home and its contents to retain their value. However, there are ways to reduce this worry that are both budget-friendly and comprehensive, so use any of these options or a combination to feel your home is more safeguarded when you’re away.
Get to Know Your Neighbors
When you live in a populated area, your neighbors are actually a very helpful source of information. By bringing over baked goods or a kind card, you can start a conversation that may end with you and your neighbors keeping an eye out for each other. Obviously, these efforts cannot be one-time outreach if you want to build a strong network, but even a basic acquaintance can grow into a trusting relationship.
If you need to be away, talk to your most trusted neighbor or the one who monitors the neighborhood the most and let them know that no one should be visiting. Definitely give this person a heads up if there will be anyone checking in at your home, such as a petsitter.
These neighborly contacts are worth rewarding with a souvenir or regular payment if they do active work to keep an eye on your home, such as pet sitting or plant watering, but the growth of a strong neighbor relationship definitely yields dividends down the road.
Consider this an overall investment in your quality of life, not only the safety of your home.
Do an Ease-of-Access Audit
One of the most comprehensive ways to safeguard your home is to evaluate your home the way a home invader would.
What would be the easiest way in, and how can you make that more complicated or unpleasant? Even simple things like locking windows and adding deadbolts to doors can be very helpful to make your home more trouble than it is worth to harm.
There are a variety of ways to safeguard your home further, but the biggest ones should be visible since they can be a way to deter someone from ever even attempting invasion. Once you’ve tackled any visible barriers, you can do further preparation to make it uncomfortable or loud if someone does attempt a break-in, causing them to be more likely to abandon the attempt.
Housesitters Can Ease Your Mind
There are usually students or others who are happy to live somewhere different for a week or two in exchange for more space, some free food, and perhaps modest compensation for things like plant watering and pet care.
While this may not feel necessary for short trips, developing a relationship with someone local who can provide housesitting services for longer trips would be wise.
Security Systems Give You Remote Access to Your Home
If all the above aren’t enough to quell your worries, security systems are a great option and more affordable than ever before. Many modern systems are simple sets of cameras that you can access on your smartphone, giving you a window into your home any time you are away from home.
This allows you to keep an eye on issues that aren’t home-invasion related either, things like flooding from a big storm or fallen tree branches if you know a lot of wind was coming through. The goal is to get the features you want, given your active, travel-oriented lifestyle.
If you’re not quite ready to have a full security system, many people choose a video doorbell with remote access to be able to quickly and easily check on their home from afar, for even little things like asking a friend to come bring in a package that arrives inconveniently after you just left on a trip.
Through a combination of strategies, you can secure your home from a variety of perils and rest easy when you are away for a week or more.
Laura Leavitt is a writer who focuses on real estate and personal finance.