You've planned your getaway, now plan your home protection.

Away for one night, one week or one month, protect your home from unwanted attention and potential dangers.

1. Stop your mail and newspaper delivery.

If you will only be gone a few days, ask a trusted neighbor to retrieve your mail and newspaper. An overstuffed mailbox and newspapers piling up on the driveway are a sign to burglars that you are not home.

2. Create the illusion that someone is home.

Many homeowners use timers to turn on and off lights but you can also set a television and radio on timers. Take a walk at night and you will see the familiar flicker of light created by the television, the timer allows your home to look like all the others. Even if you normally park in the garage, leave a car in the driveway (remember to remove any valuables and your garage door opener). If you'll be gone for a while, hire a neighbor's kid to mow your lawn or shovel the walkway. Leave your home the way it is when you are there, if you normally have toys or the garden hose outside, leave them there. 

3. Alert Your Alarm Company.

If you have an alarm system use it. Additionally, call your home security company to let them know you’ll be away and how they can reach you. 

4. This is NOT the time to share.

In the age of oversharing, never, announce your vacation dates/plans on social networks. Wait to share your vacation photos and memories until you get back. Be sure to communicate that you are home and had a great trip, to avoid any unwanted attention. Sharing settings are not foolproof, it's better to be safe than sorry.

5. Secure your valuables.

Never leave anything of value in plain sight (this is good advice even when you're home). If you have a safe deposit box, use it for possessions as well as important papers. If you must leave valuables at home, secure them in a fire resistant box and hide the box in an unlikely place. Your master bedroom/closet is not that place.

6. Prevent damage from power surges.

Avoid electronic appliances from being destroyed by using a good surge protector. Consider unplugging computers, televisions, and other electronics. Did you know that even when your electronics are not on, just plugged in, they still use electricity?

7. Check your water heater and thermostat.

Before you leave, turn down the temperature on your water heater. Don't turn off your thermostat but in the summer you can set it to 80 and in the winter set it to 58 degrees to keep your home fairly temperate.

8. Outside spare key.

Don't leave your spare key under the welcome mat, the burglars know this one too! If you feel that someone may need access to your home, leave a key with a trusted friend or relative.

9. Long-term aiport parking.

If you are flying and leaving your car in long term parking, don't leave valuables in your car. Furthermore, remove anything that could direct a thief to your home such as an auto tag or portable GPS.

You have done everything you can to keep your home safe while you're away, now it is time to relax and enjoy!

Thank you for stopping by.

All the best,

Laurie Ruehlman

Your friend in the Real Estate business.