(BPT) - Whether it's a cabin up north, a villa down south or a quaint cottage near family, many people in the United States own second homes. There are seasons you may spend more time at these vacation properties, but for many people, much of the year they remain empty. That's why it's important to take precautions to ensure your property and belongings stay safe even when you're not there.
Not only are vacation homes a target for thieves, but empty homes are often vulnerable to the elements and the unexpected. For example, can you imagine the damage that a water leak would cause a home if it remained undiscovered for weeks … or months? With a proactive approach you can keep your investment safe and give yourself important peace of mind.
To keep your second home secure, consider these smart steps:
1) Create the appearance of a lived-in home
It doesn't matter if your home is in a well-traveled section of the city or a remote part of the forest, you want it to stay secure from criminals. Vandals and robbers scout for empty homes, so one of the best ways to deter them is to make your property appear to be lived in. If they think someone is home, they're more likely to stay away.
To create the appearance of a lived-in house, stop mail and newspaper deliveries immediately. Nothing screams "empty house" like a few weeks' worth of papers at the front door. Next, keep the lawn mowed and trim the landscape, so the home is well maintained plus doesn't have overgrown shrubs where criminals can hide. Finally, alert a trusted neighbor that you'll be gone, so they can keep an eye on things. Don't know anyone nearby? Or is the property isolated? Consider hiring a property manager to check on the house periodically.
2) Consistently monitor water use
Even small water leaks can cause big damage, and if you're not living in a home, that damage can multiply quickly. From leaks that cause terrible mold growth to burst pipes that flood entire floors, it's easy to see why water is a top concern for owners of second homes while away. One simple solution is the Phyn Plus: Smart water assistant + shutoff. This intelligent device is installed on the main water line after the meter by an authorized Uponor Pro Squad team plumbing expert. Once installed, it uses programmed data and learns the home's water-use habits, so it can proactively detect leaks and water problems in real time.
Phyn Plus has no moving parts that are susceptible to breakage or blocked by particles in the water, so it consistently monitors the home's water use 240 times per second to detect tiny changes in water pressure. If a change is detected, you are alerted through a smart app on your phone, so you can take appropriate next steps. Phyn Plus will even shut off the water when an emergency is detected. You then have the ability to monitor or turn the water back on from any remote location. Learn more at www.phyn.com/installation.
3) Implement multiple security measures
Of course, you want to ensure you secure all doors, windows and other points of entry. But to really keep tabs on your second home, consider investing in a security system with an app or program for easy remote monitoring. With a live-monitor feature, you can check your home at any time. Additionally, programmable lights that turn on at set times inside give the illusion of people being home, and motion lights outdoors eliminate dark corners.
Finally, you might consider registering your home as vacant with the local police. Some cities offer a free service where an officer will come periodically to check your home while you're away. Keep in mind this might not be available in your area and there may be a time limit for how long you can request these checks, but it's worthwhile to call your local law enforcement and ask.
Put worries aside and keep your second home safe and secure by following these simple steps. That way you can feel confident that every time you visit your vacation property, you can enjoy it to the fullest.