It’s midnight: do you know where your plumbing is? It’s Sunday afternoon: did the guests at your vacation home leave with more than good memories? A wireless home security system can answer these questions and give you peace of mind – even if you live far away.
Empty Property Invites the Uninvited
An obviously vacant house/apartment is an invitation to troublemakers – and squatters.
People in the Southwind neighborhood thought they had new neighbors. “She mentioned something like she was going to lease to own the house.” But Thursday night, neighbors learned the truth when the homeowner showed up.
“I was shocked,” Sanford Frazier said. “They tried to tell us some agency rented the house out to them.” Frazier lives in Atlanta. He had been renovating the house to get it ready to rent. But when Frazier showed up in Memphis, he couldn’t get inside the house, because the locks had been changed.
In this case, the squatters installed a garage door opener – but not all investment property owners get that “lucky.” In most cases, people enter empty houses to steal stuff, not install new features.
Experts say it took a copper thief 10 minutes at most to crawl underneath the empty house, and using a professional plumber’s tool, cut out 100 feet of piping. It’s a crime that’s usually carried out at commercial buildings, and now targeting vacant homes.
Or, your property might become the a
Officials say they found more than 200 teens at a party in a vacant, recently sold home.
From the outside, it’s hard to find any flaws on this brand new El Dorado Hills home. But open the doors and here’s what you’ll find: punched out walls, empty liquor bottles, beer cans and lots of red Solo cups.
Costs of Unoccupied Property
Empty real estate carries a cost, and not just from repairs. Most homeowner’s policies won’t insure vacant homes; you need to buy a special policy. The cost can be 4 to 5 times more expensive than a homeowner’s policy because the risk is higher.
In addition, you’re paying a mortgage, utilities, and taxes on something that’s not producing any income. At the same time, the investment property is at risk from squatters, thieves, and vandals.
During renovations, workers are in and out of the property on a regular basis. People won’t think twice if they see “workmen” carrying items out to a truck. It just looks like you’re updating the fixtures. Vacation rental owners and Air BnB hosts have an even bigger problem. The neighbors get used to seeing strangers come and go and won’t think twice about the strange car in the driveway or the people carrying luggage (filled with what?) out to it.
You need a system in place that alerts you to unusual activity – in real time, not when you just happen to visit the property.
Lower Costs & Mitigate Risk with a Home Security System
In the past, no real estate investor would even consider installing a security system: installation was expensive, the wires tore up the walls, and alarm companies locked you into multi-year contracts. Who wants that for a property you hope to sell in a few months?
The new wireless systems are different.
– They’re portable. When the property sells, move it to you next fixer-upper or vacant rental.
– They’re inexpensive, and may lower insurance premiums.
– Installation is easy and doesn’t damage the walls.
– Many companies offer no-contract monitoring: you pay by the month when you need security and pay nothing when you don’t.
A wireless system provides security while you’re renovating an investment property or have it listed for sale/rent. When it’s no longer needed at one location, just pack it up and install it in your next property.
Vacation rental owners and Airbnb hosts benefit as well.
– Install entry sensors on specific rooms/cabinets/drawers. You’ll receive an alert if your overly curious guests try to enter those off-limits areas.
– Motion detectors can tell you if the renters have remained on the property past checkout time.
– Keyless entry tools allow you set a specific code for entry and disable it when the rental period is over.
– Security cameras show you who is coming and going at the property; you’ll know if there’s a wild party in progress. Be careful though that you’re using the cameras for security – not to spy on guests. Check the Air BnB regulations on cameras to make sure you’re following the rules.
– A security system may make your property more attractive to guests. They’ll feel safe and secure.
Real estate investors and short-term rental hosts/owners use different strategies to make money, but both have the same worry: that someone will damage the property and devalue their investments. You can’t watch your property 24/7, but a security system can.
Alan Wu is the Directory of Sales & Marketing at GetSafe Home Security, a new home security company that breaks many of the rules of traditional alarm systems. Alan has over seven years experience the home safety and security industry, and is an expert in how technology can be used to keep people safe.