There could be any number of reasons why you have to leave your home vacant after you sell it. Maybe you’ve found a new home to buy and it closes before you’re able to find a buyer for your home. Or maybe you’re in a rush to relocate because of a job transfer or to be closer to a loved one.
Whatever the reason for your home being vacant while it’s still on the market, you’ll want to keep the place safe.
Luckily, there are plenty of precautions you can take to ensure your vacant home is safe while you’re not there.
1. Get Rid of All Valuables
You might have locked all the doors and windows in an effort to prevent others from gaining access to your home, but don’t give them any incentive to intrude. Take all of your valuables with you when your vacant the premises so that thieves don’t set their sights on your property. That includes any jewelry, electronics, and anything else of value.
2. Have Your Home Staged
Rather than leaving your home completely vacant, consider having it professionally staged. This will involve having rented furniture arranged in your home and accessories scattered about to decorate. Not only will this make it look as if someone is still there, it will also help your home appear more attractive to potential buyers.
3. Keep a Car Parked in the Driveway
You might no longer live in the home, but you can still make it look like you do. If you’ve got an extra vehicle, consider leaving it in the driveway until the home is finally off your hands. Otherwise, let the neighbors park their car in your driveway. They may appreciate the extra parking space if they’ve got more vehicles than their driveway or garage can handle.
4. Take Out a Vacant Home Insurance Policy
You already know about traditional homeowner’s insurance, but have you ever heard of vacant home insurance?
These policies are specifically meant to insure vacant homes and typically cover things such as vandalism, theft, and damage from natural disasters in some cases. Check with your insurance provider to see if they offer something like this or if your current policy already has such coverage.
5. Put a Home Security System Sign Visible
Hopefully, you’ll already have a monitored security system in place. If not, this is the time to get one, especially if no one is home to keep an eye on the place. Once you do have an alarm system installed, leave a sign out in front of your home letting people know that the home is protected by a security system that’s being monitored. This can help deter any potential thieves from eyeing your home for their next hit.
6. Install Motion Detector Lighting
Thieves are more likely to break into homes at night when they’re not as readily seen by others. For this reason, it can be very helpful to keep your home illuminated. But keeping the lights on at all hours of the day is impractical and expensive.
Instead, have motion detector lights installed over entryways, and along the side and rear of your home. These will automatically turn on when they detect the presence of a moving object, such as a thief. If a spotlight shines on them, they may be more likely to bail on their plans to invade.
7. Keep Your Yard in Tip-Top Shape
A big sign that no one’s home is a yard that looks like it hasn’t been tended to in a while. Overgrown grass, tons of weeds, dried-out flowers, and unruly bushes are giveaways that nobody’s been around to take care of the property. Instead, you want to make sure your lawn is maintained.
If you’ve got the time to do this yourself and are nearby, great. If not, consider hiring a landscaping company to go by your home once or twice a week to do what needs to be done to keep your lawn looking sharp. Plus, it will do wonders for your curb appeal.
8. Stop Mail and Newspaper Delivery
Another sure sign that no one’s home is when the mail and newspapers start to pile up. You’ll want to notify the postal office of your new address before you vacant in order to ensure you get all your important mail. And you’ll definitely want to put a stop to all newspaper deliveries as well. Or else, have a neighbor or friend pick them up for you.
9. Keep Curtains Closed
Don’t give thieves the opportunity to check out what’s in your home – or what isn’t. If they see a vacant home, they’ll put your home on their radar as a prime opportunity to raid it. If thieves can’t see what’s in your home, they might not waste their time with it.
10. Don’t Advertise Your Move on Social Media
People put the most private details of their lives on their social media profiles, but this is not advised, including when it comes to leaving your home vacant. Thieves are rather sophisticated these days and can use social media to narrow down the homes they want to raid. If they know your home is vacant, you might be inadvertently flagging your home as a prime target.
The Bottom Line
If you’ve already made your move and are waiting for your listed home to sell, the last thing you want to do is worry about it being ravaged by thieves. Be sure to keep these tips in mind to keep your vacant home protected from theft and vandalism.