The homebuyers’ security checklist
When it comes to buying a new home, we all have the same broad criteria for making our decision. “Location, location, location” may be the mantra but schools, transport links and local amenities will also be near the top of most homebuyers’ lists. Then there are financial considerations like price and how much needs updating (mentally changing wallpaper and curtains during a viewing is all part of the fun).
But there’s another checklist we should have in mind when weighing up the pros and cons of a potential move: security. When you’re considering moving all your earthly possessions into a new home the last thing you want is someone taking advantage of a property that looks stunning but is just as appealing to criminals.
That’s why we’d always recommend making a note of existing safety and security features when viewing homes.
1. Start with doors and windows
Burglars start with entry points, so you should too. Single-glazed windows are vulnerable – especially non-toughened panes of glass in doors. Check whether windows have proper locks. And make sure doors have strong deadlocks (operated with a key) as well as a latch.
2. Check the smoke alarms
Make a note of how many smoke alarms there are and where they’re positioned. Kitchens are important but so are landings upstairs (most house fires take hold when we’re asleep). Whichever property you end up buying, make sure you test smoke alarms and replace batteries if necessary as soon as you move in.
3. Don’t forget sheds and outbuildings
It’s not just the house itself that might be vulnerable. How secure are sheds and other storage areas? If you’re planning to store expensive bikes outside you may need to invest in new padlocks and cycle security (locking bikes together is a good idea even when they’re in a locked shed). And even if the shed is only home to a few rusty tools when you move in, security should still be a priority. Those old hammers and screwdrivers are a handy resource for housebreakers.
4. Alarm bells
If the house hasn’t got an alarm you’ll probably want to start thinking about getting one. But even if there’s a system in place there could be issues. Instructions have a habit of disappearing, leaving you none the wiser when trying to get to grips with things, while some alarms don’t account for things like pets moving around in the day. That’s where a specialist system comes into its own.
5. Research local crime stats
You’ll probably have a good sense of what the local area’s like but it doesn’t hurt to quickly check the stats. Take a look at crime by postcode over the last 12 months here.
Home security won’t often be the biggest influence on your decision when you buy a new home, but it’s important to understand what needs changing as a priority if you do decide to buy.
Better curtains can wait for a little bit. Better home security can’t. And the sooner you feel safer, the sooner you can start enjoying your new home.