Vacant homes may be a target of criminal activity, like a break-in, theft, or an instance of vandalism. But even a relatively minor offense like vandalizing the walls with spray paint can damage the property and set you back. Sellers need to make sure that any vacant property they have on the market is safe and secure. Here are a few tips toward that end:
Lock them out.
Install or maintain sturdy locks on the gates, doors, and even on the windows, if necessary.
Maintain the lawn.
An unkempt lawn is a big, neon sign that declares "no one's home." See that the lawn is trimmed and well-maintained. Hire a gardener in the neighborhood if needed.
Enlist the neighbors' help.
Notify the neighbors and the local police department that your property will stand vacant for the time being. Ask them to keep an eye out in case someone were to trespass or break in.
Don't let mail pile up.
If you used to live in the property, make sure that you forward your newspaper, magazine, and other print subscriptions to your new mailing address. Mail that has piled up outside the home is another big indicator that no one's living within. You can also ask a neighbor to drop in and take your mail for you from time to time.
Keep the curtains drawn.
Install or maintain the curtains and blinds in the home. Keep them drawn or closed.
Keep the lights on.
If needed and if within your budget, install lighting timers that can switch strategically placed lights on or off to give off the illusion that someone's home.