Get a good security system and make sure you keep it in tip-top condition
Buying a first home is a process filled with challenges, uncertainty and excitement, but amid it all, security should never be overlooked, says Mike Greeff, chief executive of Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate.
He advises first-time buyers to take the security of their home seriously by implementing and following the following guidelines:
Choose a good location: “While many of the other guidelines can be implemented post-sale, ideally you would need to select a decent location for you to live in that has a good track record in terms of safety.
“Speak to your agent but also look at finding statistics on the area that will provide some insight on the safety of the area.”
Greeff says they should look at the rise or decline in home robberies, crimes in the area and even the street itself. “Getting some face to face advice from people living in the area would also be beneficial to you.”
Audit the home’s current security: One of the best courses of action to take in order to get an overview of the home one is about to call one’s own is to do an audit of the home’s current security.
“Think of it as a SWOT analysis of sorts,” Greeff says.
Install a security system of your own: Irrespective of the home’s current security system, having one of your own installed could make all the difference in your life and the lives of your family, he says.
“Look at a few options for security service providers and armed response providers and find out what would suit your budget while at the same time offering you the best service possible.
“Another pro tip would be to speak to your agent about service providers who they feel would be able to assist you in making the smartest, most financially savvy choice.”
Look at reinforcements you can add on: Having additional reinforcements, including security beams, security gates, floodlights, property cameras and adequate perimeter fencing, will definitely add to your peace of mind, says Greeff.
These add-ons need not cost a fortune and are easily monitored either from your home or remotely.
“Security for you and your family should be as high a priority as comfort, schools and amenities. Following these guidelines will help you rest assured that you have taken the proper measures to ensure your family’s safety,” he says.
Meanwhile, for established homeowners, the change in season is also a great time to do a security spring clean, says Charnel Hattingh, communications and marketing manager at Fidelity ADT.
“Spring should be the only thing in your garden this September, so make sure your perimeter security and home security is in tip-top condition.”
Like any other appliance, a security system will experience wear and tear and needs to be maintained regularly to ensure it works optimally. And the most important task is for homeowners to test their alarm systems. This, she says, can be done remotely over the phone.
“If anything out of the ordinary is noted, a technician can be dispatched to sort out the problem. Testing should be done at non-peak times at least once a month.”
Dirt, dust and insects can cause problems with gate motors, beams and sensors, so it might be worth walking through, and around, the house and giving everything a good wipe. This includes outside lights and beams.
“You may also need to take covers off to check whether there are ants, spiders and so on that need to be removed. If in doubt, call on a professional to help you.”
Over time, home security needs can also change so Hattingh advises homeowners to reassess their overall security needs.
“You may want to consider additional, or motion-sensing, lights or outdoor beams. Make sure your gate is secured and can’t be lifted off the rails. Trim back foliage which may interfere with your electric fence.
“Remember, your security service provider can offer advice if there is any uncertainty on how to identify security needs.”
Other tips regarding good security habits include equipping any domestic staff with panic buttons and making sure they know what to do and who to contact in an emergency.
Homeowners should also ensure that their security providers have the most up-to-date key-holder contact details.