You’ve all been there, your longtime client’s son or daughter is buying their first home and you are writing their homeowners policy. They may not think of it, so reminding them to change the locks, all the locks, might help them out. You never know who the previous owners lent or gave keys too not to mention during the sales process realtors, inspectors, potential buyers, and workmen are in and out of the house. Many times these individuals are allowed the use of the door keys unsupervised. (This covers outside doors, garage doors and shed doors. Changing the garage door opener code is also suggested)
What about calling the local police department for a home security inspection? Local law enforcement agencies will review your home’s security and make suggestions on where to make improvements.
Most neighborhoods have a neighborhood watch program. Inquiring about the program and becoming active in neighborhood and community activities will allow you to meet your neighbors and will give you an idea who belongs and who doesn’t.
Most thieves look for easy targets, so don’t help them. Install ample lighting around outside doors and cut back shrubs and trees from pathways. Don’t give that thief a place to hide. Keep garage and shed windows covered and locked. Don’t leave tools, extra bricks or toys in the yard. These can be used to break into your home.
All homeowners should know where the main water and gas supply shutoff valves are for their house. This knowledge could prove to be very important in the case of an emergency. Each plumbing fixture should have its own shut off valve as well.
If the new house is 1-1/2 or more story house are there 2 ways out from the upper floors in case of a fire? If the primary way is blocked by fire or smoke, you will need a second way out. A secondary route might be a window onto an adjacent roof or using an Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) approved collapsible ladder for escape from an upper story window. Make sure that windows are not stuck and that the screens can be taken out quickly and security bars can be opened.
Make sure everyone can open all locks from the inside of your home. Replace inside-key locks with deadbolt locks that have a “Thumb Turn” instead or attach the door key so that it cannot be lost, but not seen or reached from a broken window. Have window locks that open from the inside and NEVER nail windows shut.