When it's time to call in a professional for minor home repairs, you may pay attention to the scope of the job, how much it'll cost, and the quality of the work. But you should also pay attention to your home security. While there are lots of maintenance workers are just there to do the job, it's wise to take some precaution and prevent potential security issues.
8 Tips to Keep Your Home Safe During Home Repairs
1. Have people you know/trust do home repairs
Hire a repair worker that you have vetted and met in-person for a bid or consultation.
Personal recommendations, Yelp!, Angie (formerly Angie's List), Google Reviews, and other sites with user reviews are great ways to start your search for someone to do repairs. Once you've determined the legitimacy of the business, here's how to get started:
- Set up a time to get a consultation and bid.
- Ask for references.
- Ask specific questions about how they would do the work and how their process would go.
- If you feel good following that in-person meeting, check their references, and ask questions about any areas of concern you may have.
A bit of research up front can weed out potential issues and begin the process of building trust with someone you may hire again and again.
2. Avoid leaving a key
Leaving a key for the repair worker to come into your home opens you up to potential problems, such as not returning the key or leaving and making a copy. It’s much easier to enter a home with a key than it is to forcibly enter. Don’t make a crime easy by handing out your house key.
If you can’t be home during the repair time, reschedule the appointment or get a trusted family member or friend to be home during the service call. If you've built a relationship with the repair worker and feel comfortable letting them in your house while you're gone, a smart door lock lets you unlock the door for them when they arrive and lock the door as they leave.
3. Create a detailed inventory of your belongings
Though it may seem like a lot of extra work, creating a detailed inventory of your belongings is essential to ensuring that they’re all accounted for during a big home renovation project.
If you simply don’t have time to catalog all of your things, then at least include your most valuable possessions. This way, you’ll know if something is missing right away when you re-check your items after the work is complete.
4. Keep your valuables out of sight
When you know someone is coming over to make a repair, take precautions with valuables. This includes locking up your jewelry and medications, putting electronics away, as well as putting purses out of sight.
Some of the places where you can hide valuables might include a home safe, a room where workers won't go and that has a door to close, and drawers or closets. As soon as the repairs are finished, you can bring your items out and use them as you normally would.
5. Be aware of what's happening in your home
Try to eliminate distractions so you can pay attention to where the workers are and what they're doing. If possible, eliminate time spent watching TV, talking on the phone, checking the Internet, or making dinner. The more aware you can be while the repair is taking place, the safer you will be.
6. Make surprise visits
Sometimes the home repair is so substantial that you have to temporarily move out.
Drop in regularly, without letting workers know ahead of time. This may seem like a simple step, but it could help prevent any bad actors from taking advantage of you. If they think you might show up at any time and can’t discern a pattern to your comings and goings, they may be less likely to pilfer the stuff you leave behind.
7. Be aware of scams
Unfortunately, sometimes scams happen. These scams can be uncompleted work that you've paid for, or they can be ways to check out your home for a ruse-entry burglary. Here are some popular scams:
- A person claiming to be a city employee or emergency worker without substantial proof.
- A solicitor offering too-good-to-be-true prices for repairs.
Avoid these by asking for licensure, getting a contract, and checking references.
8. Check all doors and windows after workers leave
Don't make it easy for anyone to sneak back into your home through an unlocked window or door. After the workers leave for the day, check that nothing's been left open. Consider adding aftermarket window locks for extra security.