In the next 20 years, an estimated three out of four residences in the United States are likely to be burglarized, and renters tend to be the most vulnerable to instances of property crime, state 2018 statistics compiled by Reolink.
Even if you’re on a budget, vacation home security is not an area that you can overlook when it comes to providing guests with a safe place where they can truly relax.
These affordable and practical ideas will ensure both the interior and exterior of your property are protected against potential intruders before your guests arrive.
Reinforce Door Locks
Just because locks are secure doesn’t necessarily mean the doors themselves are resilient enough to withstand a break-in attempt. In fact, according to the FBI, 57.5% of burglaries involve forcible entry, meaning the burglar was able to break-in with picking or kicking in the door.
As such, the locksmiths at Lockology Locksmith suggest that all doors have grade 2 or higher hardware installed. “They are thicker and more study – thus making it harder for intruders to break in. Also, these types of high-security locks are pick-proof and drill-resistant.”
However, they recommend that vacation rental owners take it one step further and upgrade to a smart locking system. “You’ll be provided with a master code, that you can use to go in and reset the code each time you rent out the house. Providing your renters peace of mind that those before them did not make copies of the keys.”
Invest in Motion-Detecting Fixtures
Did you know that 65 percent of home invasions take place in the daylight hours? The reason: burglars assume no one is home. To avoid this potential issue, install both indoor and outdoor motion sensor lights which mimic human activity and create the illusion that someone is home. Indoor lights are ideal for both day and night, and outdoor lights are highly beneficial for nighttime.
These fixtures are sensitive enough to detect movement and aim a spotlight on any person lurking around the home’s perimeter. In addition, the lights can be synced on a timer, so it seems like a resident is switching them on and off.
Install Affordable Security Cameras
While counterfeit security cameras are an inexpensive option to trick intruders, you miss out on critical footage and the benefits of a working system. The good news is that many reputable camera brands are becoming increasingly affordable – making it an easier investment to justify.
For example, the home security tech business Wyze Labs has introduced a camera with features such as night vision, remote video streaming, motion sensors, audio recognition and compatibility with Amazon Alexa – all of which costs less than $20. Plus, installation is easy enough to do yourself, even if you’re minimally tech savvy.
Safewise’s guide provides even more affordable options for you to put yourself – and your guests – at ease with an inexpensive camera system.
Provide a Concealed Lockbox for Spare Keys
The same FBI data reports that 36.2% were unlawful entries. Seasoned burglars know where residents typically hide spare keys, making it easy to get in with little to no force. Vivint SmartHome reveal that you likely already know all the most common locations for hiding keys: beneath the doormat, inside a rain gutter, near a potted plant, in a sconce light fixture, under an artificial rock, above the doorframe or in the mailbox.
Finding an obscure location to hide spare keys is difficult, so don’t. Instead, use a concealed lockbox. Even if the intruder finds it, they won’t be able to access the spare key. Lockboxes are inexpensive to purchase and can be used for many years; simply change the combination code whenever you give it to a new guest.
Protect Your Windows
Windows are as vulnerable as doors, especially if they’re old and on the first floor. Reinforce your windows to keep this potential break-in area safe with these simple and budget-friendly tips:
- “Pin” your double-hung windows – you can do this yourself at home with a drill thanks to this explanation Alarm New England.
- Replace window locks that no longer work.
- Put burglar sensors near your windows so they’ll trip the security system.
- Lay gravel around the perimeter of your home. If a burglar is walking around the outside looking for a window, anyone at home will hear!
Protect Your Rental — Even With a Small Budget
Home security is a non-negotiable provision that you need to offer as a responsible rental owner, and taking the necessary measures is not as expensive as you might assume. Even these simple, affordable updates will safeguard your rental property and ensure that your guests have complete peace of mind when staying there.
About the Author
Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and spent the last five years in marketing. After stepping down from a senior marketing position, she’s focusing on growing her own startup and consulting for small businesses. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels.