Securing Your Investment Property During Renovations

September 4, 2017 by Christian Miller

Fixing and flipping residential real estate as an investment strategy can be a fraught proposition even for someone who has done their homework. Among the most unpleasant surprises is to learn that an investment property being renovated has been burglarized. The financial setback can be significant and can include lost tools, materials and time. In addition, vacant homes are subject to vandalism which can add to the cost and time of prepping the home for resale.

Although insurance may cover some or all of the cost, it cannot cover the time lost to the burglary or vandalism. This is one of the situations where an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. The problem is that the risk of burglary and vandalism for an investment property being renovated is greater than it is for owner-occupied homes. Just an ounce of prevention may not be enough. In addition, the owner is often not there when workmen are showing up.

Protect the Investment Property With Wireless Systems

Fortunately, technology has provided the solution to these problems. Internet based systems such as Blinkallow multiple cameras with motion sensors to be installed throughout the house. These systems also can support temperature sensors. This may be an important feature for northern climates where freezing temperatures can cause as much damage as vandals. Alerts from any of these sensors can be sent to smart phones.

However, these systems are connected through the internet, and not every house undergoing remodeling is equipped with internet access. In addition, security experts warn that it may be possible to disconnect wired internet connections from outside the house, effectively disabling the entire system and leaving the house unprotected.

Cellular based systems overcome this potential security breach. Systems such as Simplisafe have the same functionality regarding the different types of sensors. These systems send the same alerts to smartphones, but communicate over cellular phone networks rather than over the internet. In addition some of these cellular platforms are available on a monthly basis. This allows the fix and flip remodeler to disconnect the security as soon as the job is finished.

Both types of systems offer a convenient wireless connection between a central unit and the remote cameras and sensors. Many are battery operated. This means that they are easy to install and easy to move to the next job. This portability can be an important feature during a job since it allows cameras to be repositioned easily. This can be important when different areas of the house are under construction.

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More Options to Secure the Investment Property

Of course, security firms such as Protect America and ADT which provide residential security systems are also an option for an investment property undergoing remodeling. Some of these systems require more extensive installation, but can be left behind and become a feature of the remodeled house. If a fix and flip remodeler is concerned about burglary, it is at least possible that a potential buyer could feel the same way.

Motion detectors that turn on outside lights are a very simple and low cost solution. They act as a deterrent and can be particularly effective when paired with a fake camera. The concept is to make the house a less attractive target and encourage thieves to choose the next target. The downside of this faux approach is that because they do not send alerts it is impossible to tell if they are effective.

The downside of any high tech security system is that they tend to be viewed as infallible. The fact is that no system is infallible. Sometimes the old ways are the best. Establishing good relations with neighbors can sometimes provide the best possible security.

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