Keep your empty home safe

The following tips will help to keep your home safe while you are away on holiday.

Suspend your newspaper and mail delivery, or have a friend or neighbour clear your mailbox for you every day or two. Contact Australia Post online to hold your mail for you while you’re away. They will deliver it to you the next business day after you return from your holiday.

If your usual house sitter will be unavailable, you can try researching free sites such as http://www.HouseSittersAustralia.com.au or http://www.AussieHouseSitters.com.au.

Tell your neighbours when you will be away.

The weekend before you leave, take a walk around your house with a pair of shears and cut back any shrubbery which obscures the doors or windows.

Do not post any information on social media, e.g. Twitter and Facebook, about your holiday plans.

Think about what information you include in your personal and work automated email notification. Rather than stating you are away on holiday, redirect your emails to a friend or work colleague while you are away. The less information you give away the better.

Likewise be careful what you say on your answering machine or voice mail. You don’t need to say you’re not home – just that you can’t come to the phone right now.

Place wood or metal rods in the tracks of your sliding doors and windows to stop someone opening them from outside.

Buy and set up light timers throughout the house and ensure you program them to your normal routine. Check the bulbs in all your light fixtures and replace any which are not working.

Turn your alarm clocks off, turn the volume down on your phone and set your answering machine or voice mail to pick up after only one ring.

Put away any furniture, tools or toys you normally store on the porch or balcony. It’s a dead giveaway after a windy night that no one is home if items are strewn around your property.

Turn off your remote control on your garage door and lock the door between the garage and the house.

Lock all windows and doors – don’t forget the ones to your shed and/or garage.

If you leave your vehicles behind, have a neighbour or friend move them every couple of days.

Ask a neighbour to mow your lawns and rake up the leaves.

Don’t forget the rubbish and recycling bins need to go out each week to keep your house looking lived in.

Before you leave the house, unplug all your appliances (except the fridge and freezer).

Leave a key to the house and the code to your security alarm with a friend, neighbour or family member. It’s also a good idea to inform your local neighbourhood watch program if there’s one operating in your area.

Don’t leave your spare key in its usual hiding place – quite frankly the plastic rock doesn’t fool anyone! Likewise under the front doormat, in the mailbox or flower pot.

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