Real estate can be a great investment. A second home—whether it’s a rental property, your vacation home, or where your parents live—comes with a lot of perks. However, it also brings a lot of responsibility: you need to keep your property safe to make sure everyone is protected and your investment doesn’t lose its value.
Keeping your additional property secure even when you can’t physically be there is a big challenge. Fortunately, the latest technology—and a couple tried-and-true methods—makes it easier than ever to keep an eye on your second home, even when you’re miles away.
If you’ve been stressing about security at your second home, these innovative solutions will help you sleep better at night, no matter which home you’re currently calling it a night in.
Security systems are proven to deter burglars before they even think about crossing your threshold. A University of North Carolina study found that around 83% of convicted burglars said they would look for alarm systems before targeting a home, and 60% would move on if they thought there was a security system present.1
A system that combines video surveillance, perimeter alarms and sensors, and 24/7 monitoring is probably the most secure solution you can find. Most systems now come with mobile apps that let you see what’s happening at your home from your smartphone no matter where you are. You can also set up your system to send you mobile alerts.
Adding Indoor Security Cameras with Home Automation
You don’t have to break the bank to get video surveillance installed at your second home. If you opt for stand-alone security cameras instead of a total security system, consider all-in-one options like Canary.
Both of these security cameras are smart devices that blend into decor and combine the security of a video camera with the extra assurance of live video feeds and mobile alerts. In addition, you can set either of these gadgets to record video after motion or perimeter sensors are activated. Just be sure you’re aware of the legalities around recording video and audio in your state—you may need to disclose that you have a camera on the premises.
Best of all, you can control both Piper and Canary from your smartphone. This is a convenient, affordable way to add security and get started turning your second home into a smart home.
Adding security cameras outside can help burglars cross your second home off their list of targets. When selecting an outdoor security camera, look for night vision capabilities, a wide pan and tilt radius, remote viewing options, and high-quality picture and video. Cameras with motion sensors can also be programmed to send you alerts whenever unexpected motion is detected.
In addition to deterring potential thieves, outdoor security cameras can also help you make sure your property is well maintained. You can check in on the yard and landscaping to verify that everything is still okay after a bad storm.
Plugging In Sound Sensors
If you don’t want to worry about video surveillance laws, you might like the extra security that comes from installing a sound sensors.
Sound sensors are security alarms that let you know about loud noises and other unexpected rises in decibels on your property. They can help you monitor activity at your second home. Depending on the sensor you use, you can receive alerts about everything from breaking glass to loud parties.
Point is an affordable, simple sound sensor that monitors noise and uses a mobile app to keep you apprised of what’s happening without the worry of violating someone’s privacy. This sleek device doesn’t record sounds, but it does learn the regular activity and noise levels in your second home so that it will only alert you when something unexpected occurs.
Installing a Smart Doorbell
Another good way to stay on top of what’s going on at your second home is to upgrade to a smart doorbell.
Smart doorbells incorporate cameras, motion detectors, and two-way microphones to let you check out who’s at your door from your smartphone or computer. Not only can you keep watch over who is coming and going, but you can speak directly to visitors and delivery people. With two-way audio, they never have to know that you’re not really there.
If you love to be ahead of every tech trend, consider the Chui Smart Doorbell. Chui incorporates face recognition to take your security to the next level. It works with smart locks to automatically open the door for programmed faces and keep things locked down when strangers approach.
Not all security strategies require high-tech equipment. Getting to know your neighbors and relying on them to be your eyes and ears when you’re away is still one of the best security solutions out there.
When you’re at your second home, introduce yourself to the neighbors. You may even want to throw a friendly party or casual barbeque to break the ice. Determine one or two people who live close by that you feel you can trust and ask them to check on your property from time to time. Keep them in the loop by telling them when people will be coming and going, including details like descriptions of cars and how long the guests will be there.
Give your neighborhood helpers your contact information so they can reach you in the event of suspicious activity or an emergency, no matter where you are at the time. Be sure to return the favor when you’re in town, and let them know that you appreciate their efforts to help keep your home—and the whole neighborhood—safe.
In addition to getting some neighbors on your side, you can also take advantage of formal organizations to protect your second home.
Find out if there is a homeowners association or Neighborhood Watch group. If there is, schedule a visit to your second property when you can attend a meeting. Get to know the leaders of the organization and let them know about your second home and how you use the property.
Ask them to help you watch out for any unexpected activity at your home, and find out what strategies they recommend for keeping your second home secure. You may even want to introduce yourself to the local police department and give them a heads-up about your second home and how often it is vacant.
Your second home should be a source of fun, relaxation, and even income. The last thing you want is for it to turn into a nagging worry that keeps you up at night. Learn more about how you can use smart security tech to keep your second home secure even when you’re not there.
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more