With spring and summer typically a popular time to buy and sell property, and the COVID-19 pandemic finally looking like it is under control, now is a great time for first homebuyers to take a step onto the property ladder.
Secure your new home
Buying your first home is an exciting and often stressful time but it’s easy to get swept up in the moment and miss some important details. Some red flags to watch out for when inspecting properties include signs that the home or surrounding neighbourhood may not be safe. A new home is one of the biggest investments you’re likely to make so the last thing you want to do is regret buying into a less desirable area.
To keep home security in mind when you’re looking for a home, we recommend following the steps below:
- Explore the neighborhood
If you’re seriously considering making an offer on a house, pay close attention to other houses on the street and take a walk or drive around the area. Do the homes seem well maintained? Are there signs of vandalism in the park or public areas or on surrounding properties? The state of nearby houses can tell you a lot about the area’s overall safety; well-kept homes, gardens and cars signal that residents take pride in where they live, while overgrown gardens, broken windows and unkempt homes can be a sign that this may not be such a crime free location.
- Research crime in the area
With so much information now available online, it’s easier than ever to find local crime statistics and compare what’s happening in various towns in Northern Ireland. Every region police force in the UK, including Northern Ireland, compiles data on crime, breaking it down into years, town/city and types of offence; including burglaries. This data is all accessible to the general public and PSNI also provide an interactive crime map that makes it easy to drill down and quickly compare the area your are interested in buying a house in or identify trends with colour-coded crime hot spots.
- Consider location and lighting
Where a house is positioned on a street and how well-lit it is, can also have a big impact on whether it’s an appealing target for thieves. Even in seemingly safe areas, remember that a property shrouded in darkness or offset from the street may be attractive to thieves, providing less chance of being detected by neighbours or passers-by. Similarly, homes concealed behind attractive hedges and shrubs can also become targets as these features provide natural hiding spots. While you can’t change the position of a house, do think about whether you could easily remove potential hiding places and always consider having sensor lights installed. If your property is flooded in light every time someone approaches, burglars will likely look for an easier target.
- Check entry points are properly protected
The ground floor access points to your home are typically where thieves will try to enter first. Make sure when you’re viewing a property that you check all doors, windows and side gates can be securely locked and look out for structures like sheds or garages that offer easy access to the main home; whether that be via a less secure connecting door or by climbing onto the roof and accessing second floor windows and balconies.
Have a professional security system installed
For complete peace of mind when buying a new home, nothing surpasses having a professionally installed and monitored security system. At Advanced Overwatch, not only do our security experts come and assess the layout of your home and create a bespoke system especially for your household, they also monitor your system 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If your alarm is triggered, we are notified immediately and will respond by contacting you or your nominated emergency contacts straight away. If required, we can also provide our customers with police response.
Buying your first home can be daunting, however, by choosing a property in a safe area, that’s well-maintained and has secure entry points, you’ll feel confident you’re not taking any risks from a security perspective. The added layer of a professionally monitored security system will also make you feel safe and happy in your new home, allowing you to enjoy this exciting time of being a new home owner.