Home Security 101

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Making your new home a warm, comfortable and safe sanctuary is a big part of settling in after a move. As you unpack, acclimate to the area and meet neighbors, make home security a priority. There are simple home safety DIY fixes, but some components, like home security systems, are usually best left to the professionals. We’ve researched security system options and listed home safety tips below.

Change the Locks

Think about how many copies of your previous home’s keys were in circulation – neighbors, family, pet-sitters and possibly even service people. It follows that copies of your new home’s keys are floating around, too. You’ll want to change the locks on your new home immediately. Locksmiths and other experts agree that deadbolt locks are the most secure.

Home Security Systems

With the newest technology and wireless selections available, home security systems have advanced options to better secure your home. In preparation for choosing a security company, get a head start by answering some initial questions about your particular needs. You’ll want to determine the scope of the system you need, features and your budget.

Search For: Most Affordable Home Security Systems

Do Your Homework

  • What is the square footage of your home? Don’t forget any outbuildings you might want to secure.
  • Do you have pets? Pets can trigger motion detectors if the system isn’t set to accommodate them. You will also want your pets to be safe in the event of a fire.
  • Do you have an older adult in your home requiring care? If an elderly person with medical issues lives in your home, you’ll want to explore medical alert choices.
  • Besides break-in prevention, what disaster detection options do you want? Security systems can now monitor for fire, carbon monoxide, drastic drops in temperature, power outages and rising flood waters.
  • Has your home been pre-wired for a system? Although security systems often have proprietary equipment, existing wiring may save you money.
  • What type of monitoring do you want? Do you want your home monitored 24 hours a day?

To be sure you’re comparing apples to apples, ask prospective companies about what services they offer. You’ll be better prepared to do comparison pricing, etc.

Questions for Security System Companies

  • Installation fees: Is there a one-time installation fee and what does it cover?
  • Upgrades: Are you able to upgrade the system easily if necessary? Costs?
  • Warranties: What warranty coverage for equipment does the company provide?
  • Back-up: What does the company’s system do in a power outage?
  • Emergency contact: Does the system bypass the monitoring entity to call police and fire directly?
  • References: Are they members of the BBB (Better Business Bureau)? You should ask for references and/or testimonials from their clients.

Search For: Free Home Security System Installation

Read Reviews

Consumers should rely heavily on product reviews, especially those that are unsolicited and from other customers. Check online for both consumer and professional reviews of home security systems. ConsumerReports.org is a reliable source for reviews. For full access, you need a subscription, but the site has some good free content available. TopComsumerReviews.com also has unbiased, independent reviews of home security systems.

Additional Home Security Measures

There are general home safety tips easy to apply in your new home. Familiarize yourself with both the interior and exterior of the home and look for possible break-in entry points like a window air conditioner. Be sure all windows have secure locks and put locks on screens if possible. After surveying your property, consider the following:

  • Motion detectors: Light is a great burglar deterrent. If you install detectors, make sure the light level and scope of coverage are sufficient.
  • Internet-based cameras: If you want to check on your home while away, install cameras that operate wirelessly in the rooms or areas you want to see. If you can’t afford it, fake cameras can be a viable option to deter intruders.
  • Safes: It’s probably best to have an off-site location for some of your valuables, but a home safe is a good idea for theft-proofing.
  • Landscaping: Clear shrubs or tree branches from around doors and windows to ward off home invasion.
  • Be careful what you communicate: Don’t post on Facebook or other social media that you’re going on vacation. DO let trusted neighbors know when you’ll be out of town so they can watch your home.
  • Educate your family to become more safety-conscious: Make sure to instill in your family, especially smaller children, how important it is to lock doors and windows. Make a point to be more aware of security issues.
  • Use your garage: Today’s cars have even more great features that thieves can re-sell. Park in your garage.

Safe and Secure

If you opt for a home security system and employ the DIY solutions outlined above, you’ll achieve the level of safety and security that will allow you to thoroughly enjoy your new home. Stay safe!


This article was written by Nancy LaFever for MyMove.com, an online resource for moving information, products and coupons.

Last Updated: December 11, 2012
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