PROPERTY NEWS - South Africans are incredibly security-conscious people. That's why most prefer to live in security complexes and gated communities because of the additional feeling of security these homes provide.
"For those who own a freestanding property, upgrading the home's security will not only provide additional peace of mind, but will also significantly increase the value of the home," says Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett.
Test your security
There are several ways homeowners can go about upgrading the security at their freestanding home, the first of which is to view your home as if you were an intruder trying to get in. "Most intruders are opportunists looking for an easy target, so be sure that the description doesn't suit your home,' says Goslett.
"To test if your home is secure, lock up as if you were leaving and then try to gain access as if you were an intruder. Don't be afraid to apply force and try every possible point of entry. This will allow you to evaluate the security of your home and give you an idea of what needs to be improved."
The outside of your home is the first line of defence against intruders, so never leave anything out that could help them gain access, such as garden tools or ladders. Goslett also recommends trimming any trees that may help intruders enter the home and bushes where they can hide.
"When it comes to security additions that also add value to the home, there's simply no match for physical barriers such as palisade-style fencing or good quality electric fencing. Your doors should be strong, sturdy, and have deadlock bolts with throw locks. Avoid doors with windows and hollow wooden doors, as these provide easy access for intruders. Instead, install solid wooden doors or steel doors," says Goslett.
All the windows should also have burglar bars on the inside and be able to lock. "If you can't afford an armed response service, you can install window and door sensors which will sound off if the window or door is jimmied, broken or forced open. The sound might scare off the intruder or alert the suspicion of the neighbours, who can call the police on your behalf," Goslett suggests.
That being said, Goslett recommends installing an alarm system as this will add value to your home when you later decide to sell. Motion sensors can also be connected to the alarm system and act as an early detection device. For extra security, you can have cameras installed which can monitor the perimeter and access points of your home.
"It is also good to get to know your neighbours. Many communities now have neighbourhood security groups on WhatsApp or Facebook for the sole purpose of exchanging important information around neighbourhood safety.
"So, in the instance where a neighbour has noticed a suspicious person roaming around your house, they will be able to give you a heads up and vice versa," he suggests.
"Though it's not possible to completely ensure that your home will never be broken into, taking the necessary precautions is a positive step towards ensuring your home and your family are kept safe," Goslett concludes.
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