WABOR offers tips for vacationing residents

It’s vacation season and the Warren Area Board of Realtors reminds residents that planning a trip or vacating your home means more than just pulling out a map and taking off.

It also should include a checklist of things to do to protect your home and valuables while you are away.

Regardless of how long you’ll be gone, it’s important to be sure your home has a lived-in appearance. Tell-tale signs that invite burglars or vandals include overgrown lawns, piled-up newspapers, a full mailbox and no lights at night.

This checklist will help you enjoy your time away with the knowledge that you haven’t forgotten to take the proper steps to protect your home.

• Ask a friend or neighbor to pick up your mail, or go to the post office and place a hold on delivery until you return.

• Call your newspaper’s circulation department and request a vacation hold; some papers require a 48-hour notice.

• Plug lights into automatic timers. These devices are inexpensive and are among the most effective means of giving your home a lived-in appearance.

• Leave a radio turned on. Tune it to an all-news or talk-show station. A burglar would have a tough time deciding if the voices are coming from the radio or the people living in the home.

• Arrange to have someone cut your grass. Leave a house key with a friend or neighbor in case of emergencies. This person also could open and close shades and drapes to alter the appearance of your home.

• Prune shrubbery around the house near windows and doors so that potential entrances are not obscured.

• Let the police know if you are going to be away for an extended period. In some communities, they will occasionally be able to check on your home while you’re gone.

• Leave an itinerary with a neighbor or relative in case you need to be reached in an emergency.

• Just before you leave, be sure all appliances are turned off and all windows and doors are securely locked.

• Don’t hide keys under the door mat, in flower pots or any place outside the home. Burglars know all the usual hiding places.

• Separate house keys from car keys. Put them on different key rings. Burglars have been known to take jobs as parking attendants just to make copies of house keys that are left with them.

• Be suspicious of telephone survey questions that ask how many televisions, computers or other electronic equipment you have. The person on the other end may be a thief trying to decide if your home is worth the effort.

• You may want to give someone written permission to be on your property and to question any activity in regards to your home.

• If your home is listed for sale, notify your Realtor of your absence. Many of our members will make a courtesy stop once a week to check on your home as well.

Many vandals are well versed and will come out in broad daylight as a work crew. Remember neighbors and relatives are your best friends when you’re away. And when it’s their turn for time away, you can return the favor.

For a list of Warren Area Board of Realtors members visit our website at www.wabor.org.

This article was provided by the Warren Area Board of Realtors.