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Keep your home safe while selling it

Whether you remain in your home while you sell it or you’ve already moved to a new house, it’s important to keep it safe while it’s on the market.

How to prevent breakins while selling your homeTracey Hawkins, writing for RealtorMag from the National Association of Realtors, has some tips for protecting your residence while it’s being sold.

Maintain the property. Clean up tree limbs and trash. Shovel snow in the winter. Plant flowers in spring. A yard that doesn’t look lived-in is a great sign for burglars.

In addition, be sure to trim plants and shrubs near the house, according to SEi Home Security in Omaha. Shrub-blocked windows give burglars a great place to hide while breaking in and leaving with their loot.

Light up the night. “Criminals are cowards, and they don’t want to be seen,” Hawkins says. “The house that is well-lit at night provides a deterrent because thieves don’t want the attention and the potential to be caught by witnesses.”

“Lights are a deterrent to would-be intruders,” according to SEi. “The odds of being burglarized decrease when you install motion sensor lighting or turn on outside lights around entryways.”

Lock your doors with reinforced locks. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report: In 30 percent of burglaries, the criminals access the home through an unlocked door or window; 34 percent of burglars use the front door to get inside; and 22 percent use the back door.

Deadbolt locks are best. “Most locks can be popped with a crowbar,” according to SEi. “The exception is a deadbolt lock. American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Grade 1 double-cylinder deadbolts are considered the best choice for exterior residential door locks.”

Consider a surveillance system and a sign. The Los Angeles Police Department started a program encouraging homeowners in a neighborhood that was a target for burglaries to install a device called Ring. This is a doorbell with video surveillance capability that allows homeowners to view what’s outside their door on their smartphone.

After Ring was installed in hundreds of homes, the burglary rate dropped by 55 percent, according to reports.

If you install Ring or a similar device, or have a home security system, put up a sign that lets everyone know about it. In one study, 60 percent of burglars said that they would not break in to  a house that displayed a sign from a reputable alarm company, SEi said.

Re-key your locks. If you’ve just bought a new house, call Leapin Lizard Locksmiths at 402-991-LEAP (5327) to have the locks and keys updated. Also remember to update the passcodes on the garage door opener, too. This will keep out previous owners and anyone who may have had access to the house.

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