Just like the castle it’s supposed to be, a home needs reliable protection. You need to know the property is safe and your family is secure at all times. Thanks to advances in modern technology, it’s possible to monitor your home from anywhere and enjoy guaranteed 24-hour protection.

Home security should be at the forefront of every new homeowner’s mind. A security system is the front line of defense, but there are several additional steps you can take to improve safety. By combining smart security practices with surveillance technology, you can relax knowing your home has all the best defenses in place.

Keeping Your Home Secure: The Basics

Whether you’re relocating or moving into your very first house, securing the premises should be high on your list of things to do when you arrive. Get started on these basics of home security even before you unpack the boxes.

Get to Know Everyone

Meeting the neighbors not only makes your transition to a new place easier but also gives you an idea of who can be trusted to watch out for your home when you’re not around. Take the time to chat with the people on your street. Invite neighbors over for coffee, and start making friends on whom you can rely. You’ll build a network of people you can call to keep an eye on the house and report any suspicious activity to the police if you can’t be there to do so yourself.

Leave the Light On

Would-be burglars watch for patterns, and your home becomes vulnerable as soon as one of them spots an obvious break in routine. Keep them guessing by putting your lights, TV and other devices on timers so that everything runs as usual whether or not you’re at home. Setting timers to cycle and make it look as though someone is moving from room to room is also a smart idea. Add motion sensors to turn on lights if someone gets too close to the house.

Keep Everything Maintained

When you leave on a prolonged vacation, tall grass or piles of snow are clear indicators of an empty home. Arrange to have the lawn cared for or the aftermath of extreme weather cleaned up if you plan to be away for an extended period of time. Call up one of your neighbor friends, and ask them to grab your paper and the mail every day. A clean lawn and ongoing deliveries both make it look like you’re still home, and you get the added bonus of not having to plow your way through waist-high weeds or snow when you get back.

Learn to Love an Unfriendly Lawn

Landscaping the area around a new home can be a lot of fun, but keep security in mind as you design your outdoor space. Avoid placing tall bushes or extensive greenery close to the house where someone could use them as a hiding place. If you can’t resist adorning the perimeter, choose prickly plants like roses or juniper. Add motion-sensitive lighting along pathways, and consider installing a privacy fence to restrict access into and view of the yard.

Lock it Up

Christen your new home with a fresh set of locks just for you and your family. Even if there’s nothing wrong with the current set, you never know if all the old keys were rounded up when the previous owners left. If the garage is controlled with an electronic panel, change the code to something you’ll remember but no outsider can guess.

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Top Five Home Security Systems

Installing a total security system is one of the smartest things you can do to ensure the safety of your home. Surveillance and monitoring devices protect vulnerable points of entry, provide a way for you to keep an eye on your home at all times and alert authorities to the presence of intruders. Compare these five top-rated options to find the right combination of features for your new abode.

Frontpoint

For a flat monthly rate, Frontpoint provides 24/7 professional security monitoring and an extensive home system with a wireless keypad control panel. A three-year equipment warranty provides protection for the single motion sensor and four door and window sensors. Crash & Smash protection ensures intrusion alerts will be sent even if the panel is destroyed. Do-it-yourself installation means you can have your Frontpoint system in place in no time.

Link Interactive

The Link Interactive system also offers Crash & Smash protection, a rarity among home surveillance equipment. Different plan levels are offered, so you can afford top-quality home protection even on a limited budget. The monitoring team at Link Interactive is UL-listed and Five Diamond-certified, making them one of the most reliable security groups available.

In addition to home security monitoring, this system keeps your family safe from common dangers by watching for smoke and fire, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and unusual extremes of temperature.

Protect America

If you choose Protect America, you get a lifetime equipment warranty covering the control panel, nine door and window sensors and one motion detector included with the system. Rates are locked in for life, so what you pay when you move in to your new home is what you’ll be paying throughout the duration of your residence.

This system has enough sensors to cover multiple entryways and other areas of concern, and you get the added bonus of vehicle tracking when you sign up. Since your car is also vulnerable when you’re not at home, this extra feature can be particularly useful if you’re a frequent traveler.

Vivint

If you’re into the Smart Home experience, Vivint is your kind of security system. The company offers 24/7 monitoring and gives you remote control access to all components. No matter where you are, you can control the locks, cameras and sensors in your customized automation package. This advanced technology requires professional installation but offers extensive features and superior control when compared to many other options. Choose a monthly or contract plan for full access, and enjoy extra features like temperature and appliance control.

SimpliSafe

With no contract to lock you in, you’re free to use SimpliSafe for as long as you wish and cancel the monthly plan at any time. Wireless construction means installation is easy, and the simplicity of the system makes it possible to change the configuration and expand functionality as necessary. Monitoring is conducted over a cellular network to ensure constant coverage. However, you won’t get the home automation perks found in some other packages, and you’ll have to pay extra to gain remote access from a computer or mobile device.

With today’s smart security systems and some basic protective measures, your house can be a secure, comfortable fortress. Find a security solution with the best tools to monitor your home and keep your family safe, and you’ll enjoy peace of mind whether you’re settling down to sleep or heading off on a prolonged vacation. When you implement the right plan to defend your home, you create a haven in which your whole family can relax.