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Secure your home while on holiday

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During any holiday season, especially the summer, many people go on vacation for an extended period, with complete neighbourhoods practically empty, so there is no protection of your property from prying eyes.

For this reason, I wish to submit a few tips on how to protect your property since, at this point, thefts are on the increase.

Place an alarm system (approximately €1,000 + €200 p.a. maintenance), which will be connected to your mobile phone, the installation security company, the local police station and a friend.

Inform your local police station that you are away.

Place shutters at least on the ground level of your property (cost approximately €3,000).

If not all, for small windows, place steel bars (cost approximately €500).

Use laminated glass and security locks for the windows and doors (added cost €1,500).

In the case of more security-conscious people, use cameras, which will cover the main entrance points of the residence (another €1,000).

Have garden and entrance lights with automatic sensors (minor added cost) since the police have told us that this is the most critical issue for thieves.

Use a door with a video phone (approximately €300).

Invest in a safe which must be mounted to the floor so that it cannot be taken away (approximately €1,200).

Lock the door and windows when you leave, even briefly. Use a security door (add €500) and a safety lock.

Close the curtains and shutters so no one can see inside the house. Avoid giving out your house keys unless you know the person.

Giving your keys to occasional handypersons, pool cleaners, and gardeners is dangerous.

Do not leave the key outside (under the carpet or the electricity box) or inside the locked post box.

Connect your telephone with your mobile and avoid using the answering machine to say, “I am away.”

Do not leave ladders and other equipment in the garden which might facilitate entry from a higher point.

Try and build a good relationship with a nearby building or property administrator, asking them to keep an eye out.

A small gift (e.g., valuable souvenir, bottle of whisky) on your return will go a long way.

These and others are preventive measures one must consider, especially during vacation periods – including winter in holiday home areas.

You cannot imagine what sort of things people usually steal.

From an empty water bucket to the entrance mat, a water hose and even clothes drying on a stand or clothesline (in addition to the more serious thefts).

This sort of thing is especially noticeable in the Protaras and the Paphos areas, where whole neighbourhoods are “abandoned” during winter.

In these areas (at least), we were told by several friends who have adjoining holiday homes about their experience during November last year.

In one house with a fully stocked fridge, the thieves ate, but because there were no drinks or spirits, they broke into the second house, where they consumed three bottles of good wine, but because the beds were not comfortable, they broke into a third house where they slept (and left the bedroom TV on).

Nothing was stolen, but they must have been on an “organised night out,” according to the police.

When buying a holiday home, bear in mind the above tips and other costs since nothing is worse than visiting your home and finding it has been broken into.

It goes without saying that insurance is a must for all purposes.

 

By Antonis Loizou FRICS – Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Real Estate Valuers & Estate Agents