You do not need to have a monitored security system to put a sign in the front yard near the door.

Have you ever observed the trash that gets discarded after Christmas?  The giant discarded TV boxes, the remote-controlled car box and other boxes?  This screams, “We have very expensive new items in the house.”

 This is one example of a bad habit consumers and sellers can exhibit. As an agent, I try to advise my clients to be careful and take precautions, especially if the home is vacant. The holidays present another opportunity for thieves.

Here are some ideas on how to keep your home safe while it’s listed for sale.

Keep your property maintained.  Keeping the yard tidy, the grass manicured not only helps the home show better, but also can show potential burglars that the home is occupied and/or maintained.

Get to know your neighbors. Show the home to your neighbors prior to listing it and give them your contact information. Invite them over to see your home with your agent before it goes on the market. They may know someone who might be interested in the home. More importantly, they will feel more comfortable calling you if they see something suspicious.

Assess your home’s vulnerability. Observe your home from the curb. Ask yourself, “How would I get in if I were locked out?” The first thing you think of is probably how a thief will get in. Thinking about how you would enter is the best way to fix those issues.

Keep the home well-lighted. A criminal wants to stay in the dark. The last thing they want is to be seen. Automation makes keeping the home lit easy. You can get a few dawn-to-dusk lights, which makes the home look occupied.

Keep doors locked. The FBI Uniform Crime Report says that in 30 percent of burglaries, the criminals access the home through an unlocked door or window; 34 percent of burglars use the front door to get inside; and 22 percent use the back door.

Reinforce locks. Make sure your door jams are solid and provide a secure foundation for the deadbolt.

Put up security monitor signs. You do not need to have a monitored security system to put a sign in the front yard near the door. This is a good deterrent, because a thief does not suspect it is fake.

Make a record of your valuables. It is not a bad idea to log serial numbers and take photos of your belongings. This will help you in case you  need to file a claim with your insurance company

While not your only considerations when selling a home, these pointers are a good reminder to make it less vulnerable to a crime.


-Ahwatukee resident and associate broker Stacey Lykins, West USA, can be reached at 602-616-9971, or


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