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December 26th, 2011

No. 5: ‘Think like a criminal: 4 steps to securing your home’



crime sceneNumber five on our Top 10 most popular articles of 2011 is, “Think like a criminal: 4 steps to securing your home.

Publish date: June 20, 2011
Written by: Gina Pogol


When you view a prospective home to buy, its security should be a top consideration. You will not care as much about your home’s lovely view if your beautiful picture windows get shattered in a break-in. It will be nearly impossible to rest easy in a spectacular master suite after some creep gets away with all of your jewelry.

But what exactly should you look for when evaluating a home’s potential security?

Step 1: Securing the perimeter

Insurance writer and former agent Ryan Hurlbert says, “Burglars look for easy access that is not visible from the street or the neighbor’s place. Tall hedges, long driveways, etc., all contribute to hidden access. A lack of exterior lighting makes life easy for a thief as well. Upstairs windows are seldom locked, so houses with two stories and easy access to the second floor windows (dormers, for example) are targets.”

Step 2: Securing the home’s existing features

Outside electrical or fuse boxes should be secured with strong locks, unless you want intruders to be able to cut your lights and possibly your alarm and phone systems. Likewise, window-mounted air conditioners should not be fastened on the outside, where they can be easily removed by burglars seeking access, they should be bolted in place from the inside.

Step 3: Invest beyond the basics: Home security systems

Your most basic home security system is the locks on your doors and windows. James Hopkins of WHF Security and author of Uninviting Burglars – Making Your Home Less Attractive to Burglars recommends that you change these locks when you move into a new home.

Step 4: Go old school, join the neighborhood watch

Hopkins has a home-shopping tip that can help you in two ways. “As you drive through the neighborhood, look for blockwatch signs. Not only is membership in a blockwatch a great way to meet your new neighbors, but you’ll have many eyes looking out for potential problems,” he says.

Read more from our ‘top 10 of 2011’ list:

No. 10: ‘Why is it so hard to be approved for a HARP refinance?’

No. 9: ‘Crazy to refi into an ARM? Not at all’

No. 8: ‘3 hot home renovations’

No. 7: ‘HARP 2.0: Your 5 steps to approval’

No. 6: ‘Do you have to pay your mortgage if your home is destroyed?’

For more on home upgrades, read:

Get some “wow” this winter with these home improvement projects

4 easy home improvements save energy and money

6 techy upgrades for your home this holiday season

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About the HSH Blog

HSH.com's daily blog focuses on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets. Our mission is to relate how changes in mortgage rates and housing policy, as well as the latest financial news, impacts consumers, homebuyers and industry insiders alike. Our 30-plus years of experience in the mortgage industry gives us an edge as we break down the latest changes in an ever-changing market.

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Tim Manni

Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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