home security cameraIt’s a good thing if you feel safe in your neighborhood. It shows that you trust your neighbors and that you have faith in the safety of your family. However, many of us grow so comfortable that we overlook simple security measures that will only improve the safety of your property and your family.

Each year in the U.S. there are millions of property crimes carried out. Burglary accounts for a large amount of these crimes. People often say that if a burglar wants to gain entry to your home they’ll find a way and determine not to take security measures seriously. If you’re of the “it couldn’t happen to me” mentality, read no further. But if you want to learn some basic tools and practices that will keep you and your family safer, read on.

Be the burglar

Not literally. But pretend to be. Go through the exterior of your house and think like a burglar.

Check your windows.

Especially the low-hanging ones. Are all of your locks secured? Do you make it a point to lock them nightly?

 

Test your locks. 

Not all locks are created equal. Doorknob locks are often easily picked or forced open. Deadbolts are harder. However, none of these things matter if the integrity of your door is compromised. French doors, for example, are particularly easy to force open. If you’re worried about your locks, consult a locksmith that can help you choose better options.

Look inside your home from the sidewalk.

Are there valuables within view from the street? Do you have a tendency to leave your garage door open, exposing expensive items like lawnmowers, grills, or even motorcycles?

Burglars don’t just target homes.

Don’t end your search with the house. Many items are stolen from sheds, backyards, and even off of porches, which happened to me as a child when a bicycle was taken from our porch in the night.

Tighten up security

The number of small steps we can take to improve security and mitigate risk of burglary is boundless. Here are some security tips that should be on every checklist for home safety:

  • Use a security mailbox and don’t leave mail with personal information exposed in front of your home
  • Install a fireproof safe in your home. Hope for the best but plan for the worst. Keep your important documents in the safe, and better yet, keep them backed up in a secure file on the cloud like Google Drive or Dropbox.
  • Use motion light detectors. When calibrated correctly they won’t go off for every car or cat that happens by and they’re a great theft deterrent.
  • Tell your neighbors if you’re going out of town, and have someone take in your mail/newspapers for you. Keep a kitchen light on and a car parked in the driveway if possible.
  • Don’t leave spare keys under the rug or anywhere obvious. Also, keep tabs on all of the keys to your home. Know who has a copy and check up on the spare keys on occasion.
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Purchasing a residence can be quick and simple, particularly for those who know the ins and outs of the housing market.

At first, navigating the real estate market may seem impossible. Fortunately, homebuyers who consider the right questions before they browse residences can streamline the process of acquiring a house.

There are many key questions for homebuyers to consider prior to entering the housing market, including:

1. Where Do I Want to Live?

When it comes to the real estate market, it is all about location. Thus, you’ll want to consider where you want to live and plan accordingly.

For example, if you enjoy the city life, you may want to purchase a house in a major metropolitan area. Or, if you prefer quiet country living, you might pursue houses in small towns.

Consider your current and future living situations as well. If you want to work in a particular city or town, you may want to purchase a nearby home. Or, if you plan to have children in the future, you may want to consider properties near schools.

2. How Much Can I Afford?

Unfortunately, bad credit may hinder your chances of securing your ideal residence. But if you know your credit score, you can work to improve it prior to searching for a house.

You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). Request a free copy of your credit report, and you can learn your credit score and find out how it may affect your ability to buy a home.

Also, getting pre-approved for a mortgage may make it easy for you to secure a house that matches your budget. With a mortgage in hand, you’ll be able to browse homes within a set price range and find one that you can enjoy for years to come.

3. How Do I Get Started?

Let’s face it – the real estate market can be complex, but there are many ways to simplify the process of obtaining the perfect residence.

First, create a list of must-haves for your residence. This list will help you narrow your search and determine exactly what you’d like to find in a dream home.

Don’t forget to work with an experienced real estate agent, either. This real estate professional can offer support in many areas and ensure that you can explore a wide range of houses at your convenience.

Your real estate agent will help you set up home showings, submit offers on houses and handle negotiations with home sellers. Plus, if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, your real estate agent will be ready to respond to your queries immediately.

Employing a real estate agent enables you to get your home search started on the right foot. With a real estate agent at your disposal, you can learn about all aspects of the homebuying process. And as a result, you can streamline the homebuying process and find your dream home quickly and effortlessly.

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