Tips for Buyers

Home Security Tips and Checklist

Home Security

Home security is one of the top concerns in home purchasing. If you don’t feel safe in your own home, where can you? Of the 1.2 million burglaries that occur each year, many are avoidable. In fact, nine out of 10 home break-ins could have been prevented if homeowners knew how to burglarproof their homes, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Securing your home—whether you’re home or away for just a few minutes—could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars; the average loss per residential burglary hovers around the $1,300 mark.

Light, time, and noise are a homeowner’s greatest weapons in the fight to prevent a home burglary.

These are some specific tips to follow before you go on vacation:

  • Examine your house from the street and make sure no valuables, like expensive electronics or artwork, is visible from the street. If a passerby can see your belongings, so can criminals.
  • Lock and fasten all doors and windows. Doors should have deadbolt locks with a one-inch throw and reinforced strike plate.
  • Secure sliding glass doors. Place a metal rod or piece of plywood in the track to prevent an intruder from forcing the door open. Also, older sliding glass doors can be lifted up into the track and pulled out at the bottom so to prevent this slid the doors to one side and screw in a couple of screws in the head of the track, leave them hanging down so they just miss the top of the door. Then do the other side, this will prevent the doors from being lifted. 
  • Always lock the door to your attached garage from your house. If someone accessed you car in the drive way they could open your garage with the remote. 
  • Make it appear that you’re home – use timers on lights, radios, and televisions.
  • Keep the perimeter of your home well lighted. You can do this by installing low-voltage outdoor lighting.
  • Never leave clues that you are away. Ask a neighbor to collect your mail and newspapers—or ask for them to be held. You may also want to ask a neighbor to park in your driveway so it appears someone is home.
  • Install a security camera like dropcam. If triggered this little camera will send a text alert and record the action. 
  • Keep some shades and blinds up and curtains open to keep a normal appearance.
  • Never leave a message on your answering machine saying you are on vacation.
  • Trim the shrubbery near your home’s entrance and walkway. This prevents a would-be burglar from hiding in tall, bushy foliage.

Download Your Home Safety and Security Checklist here.


  • Organize or join a community watch program to protect your neighborhood.
  • And, of course, if you have a home security system, make sure it is activated when you leave. The more difficult you make it for the intruder, the less likely he or she will be to pursue forcing their way into your home.
  • In fact, if it takes a burglar more than four or five minutes to break into your home, they’ll move on to the next one.
  • In addition, most insurance companies provide 2 to 15 percent discounts for devices that make a home safer – dead-bolt locks, window grates, bars and smoke/fire/burglar alarms.

Be sure to take a look at our home buying tips page or contact us if you have any other home security questions.