There are nearly 8 million U.S. families that own a second home, and many of those are vacation homes. A vacation home gives you a refuge whenever you want it and is a great way to make some extra money by renting it out when you aren’t there. Whether it’s a small cabin near Breckenridge or a beachfront property in Clearwater, any rental home is a serious investment that must be maintained and monitored.
Unfortunately for vacation rental owners you won’t always be near your property to check on it – you might even be thousands of miles away. Securing your beach house during the winter or your ski chalet over the dull summer from theft, vandalism, and other issues are just as important as locking your car but takes a bit more effort. Let’s look at several unique ways you can secure your vacation home rental to help protect your investment during the slow season and between guests.
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The Best Security System for a Vacation Rental
There are dozens of companies that offer home security services, and if you have lengthy gaps between guests – you need to take advantage of them. No security system or company stands above the rest, but you can’t go wrong with big names like SimpliSafe, ADT, or Xfinity Security.
You can choose from specialized locks to motion sensors that alert you of any suspicious activity, so you can take immediate action from your smartphone no matter where you are. Many of these security companies offer additional components to keep your rental protected like water sensors, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors. You can protect your investment from both the elements and the human element with a reputable home security provider.
Give a Heads-Up to Local Law Enforcement
No, you’re not burdening local law enforcement by letting them you know you’ll be away from the property. The police are there to protect and serve and don’t want to see homes broken into on their watch. If you are away from your vacation rental, let local law enforcement know. They won’t post an armed guard near your entryway, but they can set up a regular patrol around the property to be sure your property is protected.
Talk to Your Neighbors
Though many would consider society less community-driven than it once was, being friendly with the couple down the block or your neighbor on the west is one of the best ways to protect your rental. If you have neighborly friends, you can ask them to keep an eye on your property while you’re out and report anything out of the ordinary – they’re probably just as happy to report back about rowdy guests too. It can be tough in rental communities where everyone comes and goes, but a little small talk could end up saving you big.
Private property surveillance has taken off in recent years as companies like Nest have made home surveillance affordable and straightforward. You can utilize everything from doorbell cams to full-scale property surveillance to monitor any suspicious activity or dissuade theft. Most of these systems can alert you if someone is detected on the property with a live camera feed directly to your smartphone.
All About Appearances
You may not be home, but you need to make it appear like someone is regularly in your rental. A continuously dark home is an invitation for criminals to snoop around. There are several easy and effective ways to give the appearance of an occupant, like:
- Have a caretaker or neighbor collect your mail and/or newspaper once or twice a week or discontinue mail service while you’re out of town. Nothing says ‘I’m not home’ like an overstuffed mailbox.
- Utilize motion-sensor lights near all entrances and windows. Something as simple as a couple of floodlights is a big deterrent for criminal activity.
- Put a few timer-controlled lights in the home to turn on and off periodically to give the illusion of someone home.
- Driveways and sidewalks should be shoveled, lawns mowed, and leaves picked up. A dirty extenlawn paints a picture of nobody home. If you live away from your rental, you should still maintain your property regardless of the season. The PMBO housekeeping app can also nbe used for exterior maintenance.
There are several other small deterrents you can use to weaken your chances of burglary or vandalism like bars over entryways, secondary locks, fake security signs, and more. Criminals are dumb, but many are smart enough to stay away from a house that could get them caught. Doing anything to indicate the home is regularly visited or secured is usually sufficient to keep criminals moving on.
Keep it Secure
There are several ways to keep your rental home safe between guests and during extended vacancies including cameras, talking to your neighbors, floodlights, and more. Don’t choose just one, utilize as many deterrents as possible to give your vacation home the best chance at staying untouched. The more deterrents your home has, the less likely someone will even attempt a break-in. Be smart, be guarded, and remember that your vacation home is not only your escape but an investment. Keeping your home secure will prevent headaches from insurance claims, lost or damaged property, and lost rental income.