A lot goes into purchasing a rental property. Among other things, you need to calculate the costs, pay off any outstanding debts, secure a down payment, and find a Realtor.
You also need to choose a great location for the property to ensure high occupancy. If you haven’t taken this step yet, it may be worth your time to look into St. Petersburg. Turnkey notes that with a thriving art community and countless beaches, St. Pete is the perfect location for a rental property—especially a vacation rental. From Vinoy Waterfront Park to North Shore Beach to the Historic Old Northeast District, St. Pete has something for everyone.
If you decide to build a new rental property or buy an existing one in St. Pete—or in any location, for that matter—it’s essential to manage it well once you have it. That way, you can minimize your liability risks and maximize your occupancy rate. This article will discuss one of the most important aspects of managing a rental property—security. Here are eight ways to ensure your rental property is secure when you can’t be there:
1. Install surveillance cameras
When you have a property you love and it’s in a great location, securing it should be a top priority. As a landlord, you are allowed to have certain aspects of a security system in place, and you want to make sure it coordinates with your rental platform. Chief among these is surveillance cameras.
No, we’re not talking about putting cameras inside the home. However, installing cameras that look over the property’s perimeter and grounds (e.g., backyard, driveway, front door, etc.) is one of the best ways to monitor your home while you’re away and ensure that your tenants are safe.
2. Put sensors in place
Along with cameras, sensors can provide added security to your property. Smart sensors will alert you (via your smartphone, tablet or computer) when unwanted activity occurs. For instance, window sensors can be added to windows or doors, and you can program them to alert you or sound an alarm whenever a window or door is opened at certain times of the day. If you have a room with numerous windows, consider investing in glass break sensors, which will sound an alarm and/or alert you if the sound of breaking glass is detected.
Moreover, you can also get sensors that alert you when someone approaches your driveway, as well as temperature sensors, which let you know when the home’s temperature rises or falls too rapidly.
3. Add motion-sensing lights around the property
Motion-sensing lights are another option for beefing up the security on your rental property. Most burglars only attempt break-ins when the situation looks relatively easy. And many of them will scare off at the first sign that something has changed. Enter motion-sensing lights. Installed at your driveway, backyard, and/or porch, these lights will activate as soon as someone enters the proximity.
4. Use light automation
Another way to scare off burglars is to use automated lights inside your home. The primary function of these lights is to make your home look like someone is there even when they’re not. You can program automated lights to copy daily routines, abide by a custom schedule or turn off when no one is home.
5. Use a changeable combination pad
These days, it’s easier than ever for people to copy keys. Particularly if you deal with a lot of different tenants, consider getting a changeable lock to prevent future burglaries from happening. For example, invest in an automatic keypad and change the combination each time a tenant leaves. Also, key fobs are a good option because they’re difficult to copy.
6. Make sure doors, windows and hardware are secure
About 95 percent of home invasions involve forced entry of one form or another. That could mean kicking through a door, breaking a window or picking a lock. It’s paramount that your property has sturdy, high-quality doors, windows and hardware at every entry point. If you have weak, old or cheap doors, see if you can budget to replace them with solid wood, steel or fiberglass doors. If those are out of your price range, look into the various kinds of reinforcements you can add (e.g., jambs, security bars, barricades, etc.).
Likewise with the windows and hardware. Getting all new windows may be a hefty investment, but if it secures your property and tenants, it’s well worth it. You can add additional security to your current windows, such as pin locks and window bars. Periodically evaluate the hardware on your doors and windows (e.g., locks, deadbolts, hinges, strike plates, etc.) to make sure they’re up to the task.
7. Pull a trick
While it’s important to have real forms of security in place on your property, it’s also possible to fake out burglars. For example, even if you don’t have a full-on security system, consider putting a fake sign out in your front and back yards; you can even put decals on your windows. Also, a “Beware of Dog” sign will often do the trick, whether you actually have a dog or not.
Furthermore, whenever your rental home is vacant, see if you can arrange for a neighbor to park their car in the driveway. These should not be the only security strategies you rely on, but they can serve you well as an extra deterrent.
8. Work with a property management company
Finally, hiring a property management company may be one of the best all-around investments you can make for your rental property. Since you likely won’t be at your property all the time, working with a local team can help ensure your property and tenants stay safe. A property manager will make regular visits to your property just to check in and look for signs of damage or missing items. Plus, you can opt for all the other perks as well, such as cleaning and maintenance.
When you’ve bought the perfect rental property, you must do everything you can to manage it well so that you get the best return on your investment. And one of the most critical parts of managing a property is keeping it secure. Fortunately, technological development has made it easier than ever to do that from afar. Start coming up with a plan and implementing security today, and you’ll sleep well knowing your property and tenants are safe and sound.
Image via Pixabay