Protecting your assets

Although South Africans are among the most security conscious people in the world, it is always good to brush up on some basic safety rules and tips to make sure your home and its occupants are protected at all times, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.          

While homes are generally more vulnerable during holiday periods, whether staying at home or going away, it is important for homeowners to have a good security system in place to protect their home as well as those living in it. Goslett says that between work and other daily responsibilities, homeowner’s don’t often spend as much time as they should on maintaining and improving their home security.

He gives a few safety pointers for homeowners to consider:

Make it difficult to break in.

The more time it takes to break into your home, the less likely it is that this will happen. Avoid leaving ladders and garden tools lying around or anything that can make your home an easier target. Motion sensors connected to a loud alarm system is a great way to deter a would-be burglar, as are guard-dogs that have been trained to bark at any disturbance. Goslett notes that at the cost of a little privacy, palisade style fencing is a good option as it makes intruders more visible to those walking by. It is also good practice to keep entry areas clear of foliage which can be good hiding places for intruders.

Fix the areas of your home that could be potentially dangerous.

Repair any broken windows and make sure that burglar bars are secure and firmly attached. Also inspect other areas in the home where the general safely of the occupants may be at risk. Whether it’s a broken step or loose railing, make sure that every part of the home is in good working order. Goslett says that aside from avoiding an accident, maintaining the home will protect its value and your investment.

Make sure your home is equipped with several well-placed fire extinguishers.

It doesn’t take much to start a fire that could destroy your home, so it important not to run lighting or electrical wires under rugs. Goslett says that it is also vital for homeowners to have the fire extinguishers handy in case of an emergency. Homeowners should be sure that their family are aware of the locations of the extinguishers and how they work. It is also advisable to have a list with all emergency contact details where they are accessible to all family members. This list should ideally be placed near the phone.

Turn off electrical devices that are not being used.  

Be careful not to turn off the alarm system or back-up generators, but everything else can be unplugged. Remove unnecessary plugs from power points and switch off the geyser. This will prevent power surges from causing damage to appliances such as the television or computer as well as helping to save on electrical costs.

Protect your home while away.

If homeowners are travelling away for the weekend or an extended period of time, there are a few things that can be done to keep the home safe, according to Goslett. These include checking that alarm systems are in good working order, as some insurance companies won’t pay out if the alarm system is faulty. He says that while most people will tell their friends and family that they will be out of town, it is important that they don’t announce that they are going away on Facebook or Twitter.  

Homeowners should also consider installing timers for the lights in the home and if possible, leave a car where it is safe but visible from the outside. It’s also a good idea to have the post office hold your mail, alternatively, ask a trusted neighbour to collect it on your behalf.  Close all windows securely, lock the garage and ensure all valuables are safely and securely packed away. Goslett says that if homeowners have a reliable, trusted resource they could hire a house-sitter to look after their home while they are away.  

Make sure insurance policies are up to date.  Goslett advises homeowners to check their insurance policies on an annual basis to ensure that they are in order. These include household, motor, life and disability. It is also vital to ensure that homeowners have adequate insurance in place if they are travelling outside of the country.

Goslett concludes by saying that although there are no sure-fire ways of guarantying that your home and assets will be protected entirely at all times, being prepared and taking the necessary steps to secure your home and assets will ensure peace of mind.

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