Boost Your Home's Security With Smart Improvements

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When you bought your home, you might have been swept up by its curb appeal or its lovely kitchen. You adore your master suite and your living room fireplace. None of this will matter much, though, if some creep breaks in and makes off with the family jewels. It's time to up the security on your dream home before it becomes a crime scene.

Prime the perimeter

"Burglars look for easy access that is obscured by tall hedges, long driveways or outbuildings from your neighbors' view." says insurance writer and former agent Ryan Hurlbert. "Insufficient exterior lighting makes a home inviting to thieves. Many homeowners leave upstairs windows unlocked, so houses with easy access to second floor windows (dormers, for example) are targets." The wrong landscaping can attract burglars, but the right kind can thwart them. Shrubbery near windows and entries can make it easy for a thief to break in unseen, and branches and trees can be used to climb over fences, onto roofs, or through windows on upper floors. However, a bank of roses or other prickly plants under ground-level windows or against your fence can function as a natural home security system! Fencing your property and installing a secured gate make life harder for bad guys. Iron or steel fences and driveway gates add the most security, but even a basic wooden fence with a padlocked gate can help discourage unwanted visitors.

Bolt your boxes

Outside electrical or fuse boxes should be secured with strong locks, unless you want prowlers to be able to kill your lights, alarm and phone systems. If you have window-mounted air conditioners, don't fasten them to your home's exterior, where they can be easily removed. Bolt them in place from the inside of your house.

Enhance your entrances

Older patio doors, basement windows and entries invite evildoers. Louvered windows are ridiculously easy to remove. Buy heavy-duty replacements that have passed ASTM structural forced entry tests ASAP! Replace vulnerable tempered glass with laminated glass while you're at it. Entry doors should be steel or fiberglass with peepholes and deadbolts for maximum safety. Garage doors should lock, as should the entry door between the garage and your home. Homes with motion-detected security lighting shining brightly on points of entry have an advantage. Windows near entry doors can pose a hazard. If there is a window next to or in the door, the door should have a double cylinder deadbolt (it requires a key from each side). That way, a burglar cannot break the window to gain access to the deadbolt lock.

Acquire an alarm

Home security systems are offered at many price points. You could purchase a D-I-Y system (wireless) or have a professional install one for you. Wireless systems run on batteries and continue to function during a power outage (do not forget to replace those batteries often!). If you can afford it, experts advise that you contract to have your alarm system monitored. The monitoring service calls for immediate help if the alarm is triggered. Hurlbert says that alarm systems can often get you a break on your home insurance premiums, up to 20 percent. An alarm that makes noise will get you a discount in most cases. A monitored alarm with a response will get you more in most cases. It's not that difficult to make basic improvements to your home's security, and it doesn't have to cost a great deal. Think like a criminal to spot your home's vulnerabilities, then take action and correct them.

Need More Help?

If you need professional help with your project, LendingTree Home Pros can help.

The good news is that LendingTree Home Pros maintains a directory of home service professionals and can match you with a home pro in your area. All the home pros listed in the LendingTree Home Pros directory are properly licensed and insured and are backed by a $10,000 money-back guarantee!

Let LendingTree Home Pros help you find a pro today!

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