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Vacant homes are obvious targets for thieves, burglars, vandals, and worst of all, squatters. In our time in this business, we have become aware of many tell-tale signs that a home is not occupied (not necessarily empty as a for-sale home, but not having an active resident).

Over the last almost 2 years now, we have spent hundreds of hours walking through neighborhoods to put our door hanger/flier on the door. Over this time, we have picked up on the signs that tell us a potential client owns the home versus an obvious waste of a high-quality flier. Naturally, we do put some out that we know won’t need our service but there is value in putting a flier on the door when we see a basketball net, hockey net, soccer net etc on the side of the driveway as this is likely an active family and, with no slight towards them whatsoever, “soccer moms” talk. They would be the likeliest to tell a neighbor about a service they know of to a new neighbor. So, we don’t just skip them all. However, we have learned to target our potential customers better by looking for the signs. We’ll briefly cover some of those signs in this post.

A Home Watch customer is not easy to find at all. The very nature of this demographic (vacation home/2nd home owner) means that they are most likely not at home when we decide to put fliers on a home. They’re not in town to be marketed to, and, even then, this business is almost 100% word-of-mouth because it is 100% based on trust. To that end, any advantage we can gain to find them helps. So, we have found a few things that help us identify them, which also leads to a list of things you, the vacant home owner, can do to help guard against others that also look for these same clues…the bad guy. Keep in mind a Home Watch company does all of these things PLUS a great deal more inside the home which is where an even greater value comes in.

Here are a few simple things that you can do to combat the “look of the vacant home” from an outside appearance:

  1. Outdoor Lights put on timers or solar on/off detectors
  2. Trash cans moved around (not left at curb for weeks)
  3. Stop newspaper delivery
  4. Have your neighbors pull down any door hangers and pickup any fliers on the driveway
  5. Make sure your lawn service blows the driveway if you have any trees as an un-driven drive is obvious
  6. Do NOT shutter up your home
  7. Make sure your landscaping is maintained year-round as an overgrown yard, untrimmed hedges/bushes etc are an obvious sign that no one is home
  8. Keep potted plants on the front porch. Sounds crazy but watered plants means someone is there. Criminals know this too.

Hopefully these simple tasks help you. While nothing can replace the services and piece of mind a Home Watch company can provide, this can help you make your home less obvious to the neerdowell.

Thanks for reading.

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