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Feeling safe in your new home

How do you overcome those first night nerves in your new property? Make sure your new home is as safe and secure as possible.

Feeling safe in your new home

Online safety

As tempting as it might be to pose in front of your new property, depending on your security settings you could be giving people an uncomfortable amount of information. The same goes for using check-ins or location markers. Just as it’s unwise to post online that you’re on holiday and away from your property, letting people know where you’re moving means someone can take advantage of the chaos of the move.

Security during the move

Moving day can be well organised and on a strict schedule, but it’s often the case that security can be compromised. Whether that’s boxes being left outside the property, back doors being left open whilst movers are lifting heavy items to the van, or leaving items in your car overnight before the move – there are moments opportunists can take advantage of.

In many ways, knowing your removal company before they arrive, and taking note of how many movers there are and if they’re wearing a uniform, will make it easier to identify anyone hanging around who shouldn’t be there.

Ensuring a parking permit is available or clearing the entrance to your property means that the van will be closer to the house and in sight at all times.

Any particularly valuable, delicate or sentimental items, like jewellery or heirlooms may be best travelling with you to your new home.

Bear in mind that whilst most removals firms with offer a form of Goods in Transit insurance, often if damage occurs and you did the packing yourself, the removals team will not be liable. Even if they are, the cover often has a limit per item, so if you’re transporting some high value items, it’s worth increasing the cover you have. Your removals team will probably be able to provide you with options.

When leaving your old property, double check all doors and windows when you do a final check.

Make sure you’ve forwarded your post to your new address. Royal Mail offer this as a service. Ensuring the people in your previous property don’t have access to post with your details on can cut down on identify fraud.

On arriving at your new home

It’s both exciting and daunting arriving at your new property. You’ll probably want to get going with unloading the van, but it’s important to take the time to check all of the keys you’ve been given and where they connect to.

Finding you can’t open your windows or get into certain rooms is not ideal! You may want to label some of the keys at the beginning so you know which is which.

When it comes to security, most people call out a locksmith to change the locks immediately. Whilst some view this as an extra expense, it really depends on how concerned you are about security. The last owners will have endeavoured to collect all of the keys they’ve given to family, friends and neighbours over the years, but how can you be certain? If you are concerned about security, getting a brand new lock will put your mind at ease.

When unloading the van, apply the same mentality as when you were packing up – try to limit the open doors and windows so you know which access points are being used by the team. Be aware of keeping the van in sight, and don’t leave any boxes on the street.

The first night

Your first night in a new home can be a little nerve-wracking. The house will make noises you’re not used to, or perhaps the surrounding sounds might keep you awake. Even silence can be surprising if you’re used to a more noisy area!

Even if you lived alone in your last property, you may feel a little nervous on your first night as you acclimatize. Why not have a friend or family member stay the night with you, and celebrate your new home with dinner? You may even be able to rope them in for some unpacking too!

Assess security weaknesses

Your new property is going to have different access points and weaknesses to your new one.

It’s worth having a dedicated stroll around your property to consider any alternative points of entry.

Check the fencing around gardens, any side doors, back doors and have a look at what your property backs on to.

If there’s a footpath, car park or green space at the back of your home you may want to make sure the fence is higher, painted with non-climbing paint or other elements that will stop anyone either climbing over or seeing in.
Even something as simple as planting trees that will obscure the view of your home can be effective.

If you’re in a flat, your points of entry are usually more limited, and thus more secure, but keep an eye on whether the front door is fully closed by residents and try to avoid keeping anything of value in the stairwells or communal spaces.

If you are on the ground floor, ensure you keep windows or balcony doors fully locked, and perhaps install a light sensor on your balcony.
 

Welcome to the neighbourhood

Introducing yourself to your neighbours isn’t only a great way to make friends in your new area – it means there’s another pair of eyes looking out for your property. If your neighbours know you, they’ll know when someone who shouldn’t be there is hanging around.

If there’s a Neighbourhood Watch group, you can join this and feel protected as part of a community – it’ll also help you get to know people and depend on the fact that if something does happen in your area, you’ll know about it and be able to adapt. For example, if there are burglaries in your area, or issues with car break ins, your neighbourhood watch will likely have all the information you need to be as safe as possible.

Be sure to register any big items to your new address, like bikes. These can be registered with the police and tagged with a UV pen.

Using technology

Whilst broadcasting your location on social media can be a risk, there are ways you can use technology to enhance your safety.

Home security systems and alarms have always been a good idea, where even the sight of an alarm system can put a burglar off. The same is true of security cameras.

This can be a wireless camera simply placed by your front door, or even inside, but more recently, cameras can exist within your doorbell and can be accessed remotely by an app.

Often they also have motion detectors, so you’ll get an alert if there’s movement outside your property, they can tell the difference between a human and a passing animal, and you can talk to people who come to the door through your doorbell speaker system.

You just have to make sure the camera isn’t pointed at the street or someone else’s property, in order to protect your neighbours’ privacy, as well as passers-by.

A wireless camera gives you eyes on your property at all times, and makes it seem like there’s someone inside, making burglars less likely to take the risk.

It’s worth installing versions of this at the back of the property too, so that you are fully protected.

Going old school

For security reasons, some people would rather it didn’t look like they lived alone. They may leave a few pairs of boots outside a back door, or even put up a ‘beware of the dog’ sign (whether or not they have a dog).

Keeping curtains or blinds drawn so that there’s no sign of the valuables inside can also be a simple deterrent.
Motion detector lights or those set on a timer can put off any thieves from taking the chance.

Ensure your locks are of a good quality, use a chain bolt when inside or at night and try not to leave keys in clear view of the door.
 
 
Deciding to move to a new property is a great adventure, but whether you’re moving alone, as a family, with young children or pets, your safety in your new home should be paramount. In order to safeguard your property, your items and yourself, always stay aware, and don’t forget about insurance.
 

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