Posted on June 6, 2012 in Disasters, Published Articles, Sunriver Scene by ShannonNo Comments »

Published in the June 2012 Sunriver Scene

 

Clients often ask me if they should install a security system in their vacation home. Over the last 7 years I have increasingly answered yes. Then I explain that according to neighborhoodscout. com, 1 out of every 31 Central Oregon homes will be burglarized this year. That translates to an estimated 136 homes hit in Sunriver. With the developments of the security systems and the increase in crime against property protecting your investment and investing in your peace of mind while away from your home for extended time periods just makes good sense.
Monitoring the safety and condition of your home from afar has never been easier. Cameras, temperature and water sensors, even turning your lights on and off, are just a few of the new bells and whistles that alarm systems offer. If you are not using your home every week, would you even know if someone was in there? Several years ago some not so neighborly-neighbors cleaned out everything of value in a Sunriver area house a few pieces of furniture at a time. By the time the homeowner came to visit, the place was empty. The best idea is to have someone checking on the house. The second best idea is to have an alarm.
So what does an alarm do? One, it creates an inconvenience for the burglar. When figuring out what home to break into, an alarmed home will be bypassed for the easier one down the street with no alarm. Two, the loud and uncomfortable sirens that sound when an incorrect code is entered will scare off the intruder and alert your neighbors. Once the alarm is set off a monitoring station will first call the house to make sure the alarm was not inadvertently triggered. With no answer, the alarm company will report the activity to the police and request that officers be sent out to the house.
Some of the newer available features include cold alerts where the owner receives a call if the house temperature dips below a preset number. Every year several furnaces in the homes I manage go on strike. If the homes had been left unattended with no heat, those homeowners would be looking at everything from frozen pipes to severe water damage. Luckily with alarm alerts and the regular house checking I do, all problems have been averted.
Water alerts work the same way; you’ll receive a call if a specific area is wet or a higher than normal amount of water is flowing into the home. If you don’t have a person lined up to deal with the problem, you’ll have to revamp your plans and start driving immediately. Do you really want to deal with the soggy wet carpet once you arrive at your troubled home? A double layer of protection, an alarm and a local caretaker, will help secure your asset from crime and system mishaps.
I can’t stress how important it is to have a reliable local looking after your home. Recently I arrived at a home after the alarm had been triggered and the police had declared the house safe and departed. All was well except for the fact that the sliding door had been left wide open. With the original alarm having been cleared, the welcome mat had now been thrown out for intruders. This may sound unusual to you, but it’s not. In over six years of managing property across Central Oregon, that has happened 3 times on my watch. Not to mention what the heating bill would have been with a door left open during the cold winter.
When selecting an alarm company look for a one with local presence, local repairman and a reliable central station. I had one home where a remodel with new windows meant a small change to the security system. The company had no local repairmen; consequently the house went unprotected for over two weeks while waiting for a technician to come over from Portland.
Make sure you feel confident and secure with your selected security company and their employees. You want to know who you are inviting into your home since they will be installing your system and privy to all the alarm codes. Referrals from a reliable source such as your caretaker, neighbor or realtor are best.
When choosing an alarm system, other features to look for include remote access for viewing the house or turning the alarm on and off for guests. Logging on and seeing the house temperature and adjusting remotely is great with our variable weather in Central Oregon.
Don’t be put off by price. In addition to saving money on potential replacement of stolen items and/or repairs, many insurance companies give discounts for homes with monitored alarm systems. Be sure to take advantage of this savings with your homeowners insurance and check the requirements prior to installation. Once you’ve got your alarm system installed and activated and your caretaker at the helm, you can relax almost as much as you would if you were actually here in Sunriver.

To get help with your home call me, the Caretaking Commander, at Home Fridays. I have been buying, renovating and managing residential and commercial properties for over 20 years. My locally-based company, Home Fridays (homefridays. com), offers professional home management and concierge services to vacation home owners. You can reach me at 541/317-3088 or shannon@homefridays. com.

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