So, you’ve found your dream house and moved in – it’s an exciting time! You can finally have everything just the way you want it…
We hate to rain on your happy buzz but even before you start setting up, you need to look at how safe your new house is. Whether you’ve moved into a brand-new house or to one that previously belonged to a family, you need to put some precautions in place. We’re sure you’ve taken a look at all the big stuff before buying it – the foundation, paperwork, structure, neighborhood and mold. You’ve got your insurance and you’re ready to move!
But there are several other concerns that need your attention to keep you and your family safe.
Here are a few steps to get you started
Change the locks
This home is new to you, but the previous owners may have passed on spare keys to their neighbors, relatives or close friends. Even if it’s a brand new house, the builder may have handed a key to a handyman or worker during the construction stage. To be safe, get all the locks changed and distribute spares only to those you trust.
Install a security system
Even in safe neighborhoods, a security system is a good precaution to take. You can decide whether you want a high-tech one with all the bells and whistles or if you’re happy with a few cameras and security lights. Depending on your lifestyle and your family, choose features that you need.
Get to know your neighbors
Neighbors are invaluable allies. They can easily keep an eye on your place but if you’re new to the neighborhood, they probably won’t know the difference between a stranger at your door and a friend. Stop by for a chat and get to know them, introduce your family and keep the relationship cordial.
Case the joint
Think like an intruder and identify weak points in and around your home. You can then take appropriate measures to fortify these areas and prevent intruders from entering your home.
Give it a once over
Go around the entire house, checking to see that doors and windows open, close and lock as they should. Check for loose wires from electric outlets or loose floorboards and so on. Make a list of everything that needs to be fixed and either fix them yourself or have a handyman do it. But make sure they’re all taken care of as soon as possible, this goes a long way in preventing accidents.
If you have a garden or a backyard, give it a thorough once over to make sure nothing dangerous lurks in the bushes. Danger doesn’t necessarily have to be a creepy crawly or an animal. It could be sprinklers that haven’t been set in the lawn properly, a rusty gate or fence. Check the fence or wall around your property to make sure there are no weak points.
Many people like to have gravel below low windows as noise protection. If an intruder tries to get in that way, the crunching of the gravel will give it away and you’ll be able to hear them. A sensor-triggered alarm placed by the window may be louder.
Keeping the plant life in your garden trimmed ensures that there are no dark spots where intruders can hide. Trim branches that could otherwise give an intruder easy access to your home via a window.
Check smoke detectors
Don’t assume that the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms that the previous owners have left behind are in good working condition, check them. They may be very old and need a change of batteries. You can buy 10 year batteries to avoid this cropping up every 12 months.
Check that the important appliances like the stove, gas pipes and dryer vents are all working smoothly. If any of the wiring looks old, replace it. Electrical fires because of worn out wiring are common and happen without warning. Hot dryer exhaust needs to be let outside and the end point should be clear of dryer lint. Add this to your list of things to check routinely.
Install lights in all the right places
Intruders prefer to break in when it’s dark and they are less likely to be seen. So, even at night, have a well-lit porch and back door. You could also put in place lights that can be triggered by movement so you can catch any unwelcome visitors by surprise. Make sure your house number is clearly visible so that emergency services can find you easily. Put timers on the lights in some rooms to make it look like someone is home even if you’re running late. Intruders are less likely to try and enter a house when someone is home. This is also useful when you go on holiday.
If you have just moved into a new house, it is likely that you need some work done. If you don’t already have a trusted service provider to rely on, go by recommendations from people you know well. If possible, you should also do a background check on the contractors you hire and ask for references.
Get your insurance sorted
Protect your investment with house insurance. Most policies will cover your old property until you exchange with the purchaser, and the new one from when you exchange with the seller. But if there is any overlap in the dates, you should definitely check that both properties are covered during this time.
Every home is different and so you should look around yours carefully to ensure that you’ve taken care of everything. If you want a pair of fresh eyes, get a friend to look over the house with you, he or she may spot something you missed. Taking a few days to get these precautions right will help make sure that your new home is safe for your family.