Inheriting a house from a loved one can throw up a whole host of questions; but the first usually isn’t ‘how do I secure empty property?’
However, while you are dealing with the emotional stress and the legal worries of your new home, it is imperative to ensure the house stays secure, particularly when there are still a lot of possessions inside.
Whatever you eventually decide to do with the house, whether you move into it yourself, rent it out or sell it, keeping it as uninviting to burglars as possible should be your number one aim.
Here are the top ten tips to secure empty property:
- First and foremost it is essential to make the house looked as lived in as possible. Leave furniture in place and make use of 24-hour segment timers, which can be bought for under £5. The timer can be used with a lamp, radio or TV. Try to pop in as often as possible to rearrange furniture and open and close curtains.
- Keep valuables out of sight. Even better, remove all valuables from the empty property.
- You can register any valuables left in the property you have inherited on www.immobilise.com – it is free and doesn’t take long to fill in, but will help the police, your insurers and second-hand traders recover your property.
- Speak to the neighbours and ask them to keep an eye on the house for you, particularly if it is in a quiet residential area.
- An unkempt garden is a sign that a house is empty, so try to ensure someone can routinely mow the lawn and trim the hedges.
- Check all doors and windows are double locked.
- Make sure that tools and garden equipment are securely locked up in a shed. Thieves will use tools that they found in the garden to help them break into a property.
- Improve the security outside the home by fitting a security light and visible alarm to deter would-be burglars. Putting down some noisy shingle or gravel on the driveway or planting some spiky plants in the flowerbeds can all help make your home less of a target for opportunistic burglars too.
- Ask a neighbour to make use of the empty drive at your property. In this day and age of multiple car households, there will no doubt be someone living close by who will happily make use of an extra parking space.
- Make sure you cancel all milk and newspaper deliveries and register for the Royal Mail Keepsafe service, which would see the post office keep hold of any mail for up to 66 days, rather than let it build up on the doormat.