According to SafeguardTheWorld, homes without security systems are 300% more likely to be broken into, burglarized or vandalized. This number increases tenfold when there is a vacant home with obvious signs of no one living there.

Some of those signs include overgrown grass and shrubbery (ill-maintained lawn), snowed-in driveways and walkways and an abundance of mail, newspapers, packages, flyers, and phone books (yes they actually still deliver these).

Often heirs may not realize that beyond the contents of the inherited home which may or may not have any value to the heir, the actual home systems such as plumbing, electrical, hot water tanks, and central AC units are targets for would-be thieves. The thieves may only net a couple thousand dollars, but doing so can destroy the home’s value upwards of $25,000 to $100,000 depending on the size of the home and the destruction done. Often thieves will take a reciprocating saw to the walls cutting out all electrical wires.

They will also use the saw to remove all the copper plumbing and take it to the scrap yard to exchange for cash. At the time of writing this blog post, copper is around $2.24 per pound. For the rather small amount the thieves make out with, the damage to the home can be devastating and reduce the home’s value by well over 50%.

Watch this security walk through I did for a client’s probate property. (Click on the image.)

How to safeguard your vacant property
• Lock all windows
• Talk to the neighbors to let them know what is going on with the home so they can help keep watch
• Sliding doors should have metal track blockers or at minimum wood stick or dowel
• Ensure all doors have a deadbolt lock
Install a heavy duty strike plate with 3” screws on all doors. The easiest way to force entry is to kick the door in and the weakest point is the strike plate. This is a simple, inexpensive deterrent.
• Install a security system tied to the local police department

We install a SimpliSafe alarm system, which is tied to the local police department, free of charge, as an added value for clients.

Some of the included theft-deterrent features include:
• Keypad
• Entry sensor
• Glass break sensor
• Motion sensor
• Door and window sensors

During the winter months or, for added protection we can discuss water and freeze sensors and CO detectors.

When you work with me as your probate real estate specialist, I perform a security checklist to help you identify any areas of potential exposure. I also make recommendations to ensure that while the home is vacant, it is not a target for theft, vandalism, or removal of items by heirs without your consent. And we will install a security system.

Contact me today to learn more about how I can help you with your vacant probate property or inherited home.