You do actions to stay safe every day, like fastening your seat belt, looking both ways before you cross the street, or locking your doors before you go to sleep at night. Your Texas REALTOR® likely has some ideas of how to you can stay safe as a new homeowner, but here are four safety tips to consider:
Don’t entice thieves with your empty boxes. While it’s exciting to upgrade your home to make it your own, putting those boxes from your new TV on the curb might send a signal to potential thieves. Instead of putting boxes out in plain sight, break them down and place them in a trash receptacle or store them inside until trash day. Better yet, take them to your local recycling center as soon as possible.
Change the locks. Have you ever made extra keys for your home for the dog walker, your best friend, or as a loaner to give to visitors? You’re probably not the only one. Even though your seller will surrender her keys at the sale, there’s no guarantee that she remembered to retrieve all of them. For safety’s sake, it’s worth getting your own set of keys that no one else has but you. If you’re in a condo, you might be able to ask a maintenance crew to change your locks for you. If not, your local home-improvement store can give you some guidance, and there are plenty of instructional videos online as well. You can also hire a locksmith to rekey for you.
Keep your name to yourself. You might want to tell the world about your new purchase by putting your name on your mailbox, doormat, or elsewhere, but be smart about what you reveal. On your mailbox, use just your last name or your last name and first initial. This keeps strangers from knowing too much about you and your family, like your gender or how many people live in the property.
Sign up for the neighborhood email list. If there is a local group email list, becoming a member of it is a good way to stay informed about neighborhood happenings. For example, my neighborhood’s email list has alerted me about suspicious door-to-door visitors and car break-ins. Even though it’s unfortunate, I’m glad to be in the know. A bonus benefit? You’ll probably hear about fun ways to meet your neighbors, too, like block parties or yard sales.
Reprinted from the Texas Association of Realtors.