Bill Head

Summer — that glorious time of year when everyone packs up and heads out on that week-long vacation they’ve been dreaming of all year. No work, no school, no responsibilities and no worries. Scratch that — one worry: Will everything be ok at home while you’re gone? The MetroTex Association of Realtors wants to help ease minds of not just vacationers, but those simply out of their home for the day. For example, never leave a ladder lying around in the backyard, don’t leave any boxes showing large recent purchases (like that brand new top-of-the-line television) on the curb for all to see, and keep the home alarm system out of plain view from outside windows.

MetroTex Realtors can tell you that home automation is a great way to add features to deter burglars. Burglars recognize that a light left on, lights that turn on and off at the same time every day most likely indicate an empty house. You can protect your home better if you control lights and electronics while you’re away from your phone. Easy to use product lines like WeMo light switches and plugs or Philips Hue lightbulbs allow you to control the ambiance of the room from wherever you are. An inexpensive ruse is to use a product like FakeTV which simulates the flickering lights from a television. Other products, like doorbells with Wi-Fi camera offered by Ring and Skybell allow you to monitor and speak to anyone who comes to your door from your phone.

Be careful about your social media presence as well. Burglars monitor your vacation photos, check-ins and humble brags. If you’re gone, they know they’ll have plenty of time to search through your house for all of the best items. Better you wait until your home and post a photo album of the great trip you had. Check your social media settings to ensure that your check-ins aren’t public.

You should also consider mounting a wall safe, which are often too much trouble for burglars and hiding valuables around the house. Most people keep valuables in their bedrooms and thieves know it. Hide things discretely around the house to make it more difficult.

Check with your local municipal police force. Many offer home security audits to help you pinpoint where improvements can be made.

Finally, ask your MetroTex Realtor for recommendations on service providers who can help you make your home more secure. Realtors will have a list of locksmiths, security system companies, and home automation experts.

The MetroTex Association of REALTORS® is comprised of more than 16,000 licensed agents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. For more information on buying, selling, and leasing property in Texas, call a MetroTex REALTOR or visit

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