10 Ways To Protect Your Vacant Home (Proven Strategies)

Protecting your home while you aren’t, there is vitally important considering there are criminals out there looking for vacant homes to prey on every day. Not only are thieves looking to strip your vacant home down of lights, water heaters, air conditioners, and other valuables, but there are also vandals that destroy everything just for the fun of it.

protect vacant home

Don’t stress too much, though, there are many ways to protect your vacant home, and here we will look at the top 10 ways of doing just that.

  1. Install at least one smart camera
  2. Use motion sensor lights on the outside
  3. Use timer lights on the inside
  4. Place audible alarms on the doors and windows
  5. Keep the curtains or blinds over the windows
  6. Tend to the garden and clean the exterior periodically
  7. Remove mail and papers from your box or gate periodically
  8. Ask your neighbors to keep an eye out for you
  9. Have someone inspect the home every week
  10. Install a smart lock on your front door


Install At Least One Smart Camera

Smart Camera

There’s no doubt that a camera should be first on the list as being able to see what’s happening at your vacant home at any time will be extremely effective in protecting it.

The cost of one of these smart cameras is far less than the cost of your home being stripped down by thieves or vandalized.

The best place to install the camera is in the top corner of one of your front windows directed to your property’s main entrance/driveway.

If there’s any movement detected, your smart camera will let you know via an alert to your phone.

If you see that it’s just birds or something not to worry about, you can carry on with your day.

If you see that someone is making their way onto your property, you can call the police and report the intrusion.

Most smart cameras will need a wi-fi connection to work, so you’ll have to plug one in as well.

Don’t worry, there are very affordable options in this regard, and once you’re done protecting your vacant house, you can use the camera in your new place, and you’ll have a spare modem as well.

The cheapest option for a smart camera is to use an old cell phone by installing an application like Alfred Home Security on it.


Use Motion Sensor Lights On The Outside

Motion Sensor Lights

Installing outdoor motion sensor lights on your property will go a long way in deterring uninvited guests.

Place the motion sensor light at the entrance of your home as this will scare the intruders away if they were planning to forcefully enter through the door. They don’t want everyone in the neighborhood seeing what they’re doing.

There’s a wide range of motion detection lights on the market, but I prefer the ones that use LED technology to keep the electric bill down while still protecting the property.

If you’re using a smart camera, it will also pick up the light going on as motion and alert you when it happens.

Check out our article on Do Lights Deter Burglars? for further details.


Use Timer Lights On The Inside

Use Timer Lights On The Inside

On the inside of your home, use these timers connected to a bright lamp to give the impression that there’s someone home in the evening.

Set the timer up so that it activates the light when the sun sets and then turns off later at night when you would normally go to bed.

Make sure to have curtains or blinds drawn so that people can’t see the empty house inside.


Place Audible Alarms On The Doors And Windows

Audible Alarms On The Doors And Windows

Using door and window alarms will scare thieves and vandals off as they don’t want all the attention of a loud siren going off while they’re busy.

Depending on how many doors and windows you have, you can choose from a variety of bundles here on Amazon.


Keep The Curtains Or Blinds Over The Windows

It’s better to have your windows permanently covered so that people can’t see that there are no people inside.

Even though closed curtains will be suspicious in the day time, it’s less obvious than having empty windows that everyone can see through.

If you have timer lights inside, they will shine onto the curtains and make it look like someone is there in the evening.


Tend To The Garden And Clean The Exterior Periodically

Make sure to clean up any litter that may have made its way into your yard. Also, tend to the garden and make sure that it looks like someone is living there.

An overgrown garden with long grass and weeds will be a clear giveaway that your home is vacant.

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Remove Mail And Flyers From Your Box Or Gate Periodically

If you still have any mail going to your vacant home, make sure to empty it at least once a weak. If your mailbox or gate it filled up with letters, flyers, and other things, people will know that nobody is home.

You can also put your mail on hold with the post office if you prefer that.

Ultimately updating your postal address is the best thing to do as soon as you can.


Ask Your Neighbors To Keep An Eye Out For You

It’s in your neighbors best interest to keep an eye out for you as they wouldn’t want the house next to them to be vandalized or taken over by random undesirables. They wouldn’t even need to go out of their way as they live right next door.

If they see anyone suspicious around your home, they can just give you a call and let you know. Maybe they can even collect your mail and hold onto it for you until you come around to check up on things.

You can also ask your neighbor to park their car in your driveway if it isn’t an inconvenience to them to make it look like someone is home.


Have Someone Inspect The Home Every Week

Either you or someone you trust should visit the vacant home at least once a week. During this visit, you should clean up any papers or plastics that have made their way into your property.

Check for any damages to the house like broken windows or lock tampering.

You should also flush the toilet and open some faucets to let water flow through your plumbing to prevent blockages from lack of use. Just make sure not to leave any water running when you leave.


Install A Smart Lock On Your Front Door

Install A Smart Lock On Your Front Door

If you install a smart lock on your door, you will be notified when anyone enters. Even if the door was broken into, the smart lock could still let you know that the door is open.

It will also be really useful if you want to let someone into your house without giving them a key, like your neighbor or potential buyers/renters.

Just give them a unique access code, and you will be notified whenever their code is used.


Bonus Tips

Make sure your garage is secure

Lock up your garage securely as many thieves will gain entry to your home through it.


Check with your insurance company

Many insurance companies retract insurance coverage for a house that’s left vacant for 30 to 60 days, so consult with your insurer to make sure they’ll cover you for the full duration of your home being vacant.


Install window grills or film

Many burglars gain entry to your home via the first-floor windows. Installing bars over your windows might detract a bit from the appearance of your home, but it will protect it from thieves.

It won’t decrease your home value as it’s an extra layer of security for the potential buyer.

If you absolutely cannot have bars over your windows, at least have them covered with a protective film like this on Amazon.


Put up warning signs

Use warning signs that warn of alarm systems and dogs to deter thieves and vandals. Even if you don’t have an alarm system or a dog, you can still scare off potential thieves from entering.

You could even place a bowl of water in view to make people think that you must have a dog around.


Conclusion: Ways to Protect Your Empty Home

Moving to a new home can be stressful enough without worrying about your previous home being broken into.

Having a camera installed to monitor the situation will give you peace of mind while you’re getting settled into your new place.

In fact, you should try to implement all of the suggestions in this article to make sure that your home remains an asset and doesn’t become a liability.

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Edward Clark
Edward Clark, with 15 years of hands-on experience, is a distinguished expert in smart locks and home security systems. He holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering with a focus on Cybersecurity and is a member of the Electronic Security Association (ESA). His credentials include certifications from ASIS International, IAPP, CompTIA, NTS, and CEDIA. With expertise spanning risk management, electronic security, and data privacy, he's been featured in The Guardian, Forbes, Wired, and more. Edward's mission: guiding individuals toward secure homes using the latest technologies.

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