Maria and TomIn Elmhurst, the countdown to summer vacation has begun. Vacations equal new memories, adventure, relaxation, and leaving our homes empty. No matter how safe our area is, it’s normal to worry about your property being secure in your absence.

The best tip is to make sure strangers would never guess the homeowners are away. Invest in timers for your lights. Have the lights go on at dusk and off in the evening when you would be going to bed. If you’re leaving your car at home, keep it in the driveway so it’s visible from the street. If you’re taking your car, see if a neighbor you trust will park a car in your driveway for the week. This will make it appear as if someone is home. It’s also a good idea to put a hold on mail and newspapers. A pile of newspapers and mail is a telltale sign that the owners are away.

In today’s technological world, it’s important to watch what you put on the internet regarding upcoming vacations. Many of us will post updates on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Google +. Be sure to make all settings private, or filter to be only your closest friends. For instance, a countdown to your vacation or a checkin at an airport would be posts/tweets you want to keep private. Checkins are a giveaway that you’re away from home, as are pictures of your adventures abroad. Computer savvy criminals can search for these posts, enabling them to target homes.

Technology has its benefits of course. With apps available on numerous smart phones and tablets, it’s easy to set up a security camera with your mobile device. The device needs to be capable of taking a picture, connecting to the internet, and running the motion detector app. There’s a variety to choose from; simply search for motion detector camera in your device’s application store. Many are free, as well.

To set up the phone or tablet, you must change the setting of the Auto-Lock feature. The device cannot lock (go to sleep mode), otherwise the camera won’t turn on as it should. Since you turn off auto-lock, make sure the devices are plugged in so that it doesn’t run out of battery. Next, point the camera in the direction you want it to focus on – a doorway or area you want to have photographed if someone were to come in.

The motion detector camera is great because most apps will email or text you if a picture is taken, so you’ll know right away if someone has entered your home. It also gives you photographic evidence of any crook or crime.

If you want people checking in the house every so often when you’re away, there’s an app for that too. Doorknobs are manufactured to be used with an app, so that the owner can virtually lock or unlock the door. This can allow for you to let your neighbors in to water the plants, feed the goldfish, etc – all without having to give them a key.

At the Gracik Makinney Group, we hope these tips are helpful to you in preparing for your summer vacations. We care about each and every home we sell.  If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Elmhurst area, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Contact us today at 190 North York Road in Elmhurst, or call us at (630) 567-5902.