How to Increase Your Home Security

Aside from locking our doors at night and parking cars in a safe place, most of us don’t think about security for more than a couple of minutes a day.

In many ways, the United States is a safer country than ever. Property crimes, such as burglary, robbery, and theft, have all plummeted in recent years. However, billions of dollars are still lost each year due to property crimes.

A type of theft that is on the rise in the United States in identity theft. We are all taught the dangers of identity theft, but are rarely given specifics on how to keep our data more secure.

In this article, we’ll cover basic security tips that will keep you, your family, your property, and your data more secure at home.

Securing your home

First, let’s start with the simple things. Check the exterior of your home. Do you have accessible windows, and are they kept locked? Similarly, are any of your doors glass? If so, thieves may easily break the glass and unlock the door from the outside. At night, keep your home safer by installing motion sensor lights around dimly lit areas.

Speaking of locks, make sure yours are high quality deadbolts. Also, keep track of all keys and don’t leave keys in careless places such as under doormats or flower pots.

Use the latest tech to your advantage

Smart home technology isn’t just good for clapping lights on and off. You can use smart home security systems to lock and unlock your doors from work, check security cameras, and protect you and your family from fire and carbon monoxide all from an app on your phone.

Buy a safe

Safes aren’t just for millionaires and they don’t just prevent burglaries. A good safe will keep things secure from fire and water hazards, as well. Items you’ll want to keep secure include important paperwork, passports, social security cards, copies of financial documents, jewelry, emergency cash, and hard drives or flash drives with photos and documents on them.

Keep your home safe while you’re away

One of the most important times to keep your house secure is when you’re not in it. An empty home is an easier target for those seeking to gain entry into your home. While you’re away, be sure to let a trusted neighbor know you’ll be gone. Have them take in your mail for you so it doesn’t look like the home is unoccupied. Before you leave, check that the windows are locked and that nothing has been left on in the house except for a light.

Protect your identity

To keep your information safe from prying hands hoping to turn a profit, here are some best practices to follow.

  • Shred documents with your personal information, don’t throw them out with your garbage

  • Don’t fall for phone or email scams; unless you entered something you probably didn’t win anything

  • Don’t let anyone enter your home unless you called them first

  • Be selective of the information you share on social media. Never post photos of your forms of identification, or tell others when your family will be away (a.k.a. Your home empty)

  • Always keep your smartphone locked with a passcode

  • Change your passwords to various websites frequently. Don’t use the same password for multiple sites, and make your passwords complex. Instead of words, use pass “phrases” or series of words.

How to Enjoy a Profitable Home Selling Journey

The home selling journey is an exciting time, and for good reason. Ultimately, the home selling journey represents a period of endless possibilities. And for those who start planning ahead for the home selling journey today, they may be able to enjoy immense profits down the line.

What does it take to reap the benefits of a profitable home selling journey? Here are three tips to help you do just that.

1. Understand the Real Estate Market

The housing market may seem like a moving target at times. However, home sellers who analyze the real estate sector closely can identify patterns and trends and plan accordingly.

Home sellers can look at the prices of recently sold houses in their cities and towns to better understand the current state of the housing market. Then, these home sellers may be able to differentiate between a seller’s market and a buyer’s market.

Also, home sellers can assess the prices of available homes that appear similar to their own. This housing market data enables a home seller to understand how his or her residence stacks up against the competition.

2. Assess Your Home Both Inside and Out

It never hurts to upgrade your residence, especially if you want to optimize your house’s value. Fortunately, a home appraisal makes it simple to assess your house’s interior and exterior so you can determine a competitive price for your residence.

A home appraisal requires a property inspector to look at a house’s interior and exterior. Following the appraisal, a property inspector will provide a home seller with a report that details the condition of a house.

For home sellers, it is important to review all of a property inspector’s findings. This will enable home sellers to identify opportunities to enhance their residences and prioritize various home improvement projects.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to enjoying a profitable home selling journey, it pays to go above and beyond the call of duty. With a real estate agent at your side, you can take the guesswork out of selling your home and move closer to getting the best price for your residence.

A real estate agent is committed to client satisfaction, and as such, will go the extra mile to promote your residence to the right groups of homebuyers. That way, you can boost your chances of receiving multiple offers on your home as soon as it hits the market.

Plus, a real estate agent will set up home showings and open houses and negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf. He or she will even provide expert home selling recommendations at each stage of the home selling journey. As a result, a real estate agent will help you streamline the process of selling your house and maximizing your residence’s value.

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to enjoy a profitable home selling journey. Instead, use these tips, and you can improve your chances of selling your home at a price that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Why A Mortgage Payment Is A Better Investment

There’s many different reasons why you might want to consider choosing a mortgage payment over a monthly rent check. But there’s also a few drawbacks to buying a home. One big obstacle is that of the down payment. When you’re renting a property, there’s a lower amount of money that you’ll need to come up with in order to secure a place to live. With a 20% down payment required to buy a home, saving for that down payment seems a lot more daunting than renting. There’s so many financial advantages to owning a home.  With quite a few factors to consider, buying a home may not be so far out of reach for you. 

Rates Are Low

Even though mortgage rates fluctuate from time to time, they’re still low enough that it makes sense to buy a home and make it a much cheaper monthly cost than renting.  

Rental Rates Are Not Guaranteed

Your rent is not guaranteed to stay the same over time. The price can go up after the lease ends. Another problem with renting is that the landlord can decide that he wants to make improvements to the building at any time, even improvements that you’ll be required to move out for. You could end up in a bind fairly quickly if you’re put in this situation. 

If you buy a home, the only change to your expenses would be if you choose an adjustable rate mortgage or if there’s changes in property taxes and insurance rates. Your expenses are more predictable when you buy a home. 

You’ll Build Equity When You Buy A Home

One of the top reasons to buy a home is to enable you to build equity. Over time, you’ll have a piece of property that will provide cash that you’ll be able to tap into when needed. Home equity doesn’t replace the other ways that you save, but you’ll have another source of financial backing. Your monthly mortgage payment is in essence going into the “bank” of your future. 

There’s Plenty Of Tax Breaks For Homeowners

This is one known financial benefit of owning a home. The initial years of your home ownership mainly go towards paying down the interest on the home. The good news is that this expense is tax deducible. Also, you’ll benefit financially when you sell your home as you won’t have to pay tax on gains you have earned if you live in your home for at least half the time within the 5 years before you sell. Home insurance and mortgage insurance are also tax deductible. 

While the idea of buying a home may seem like a feat, financially, it’s a smart decision. When you’re renting, you don’t see a return on the monthly check that you shell out. If you own a home, you own it and it’s your to do with as you please. You get out of your home what you put into it.