Archive for June, 2012
Determining the value of a home security system can be a bit complicated, but is a necessary task for many homeowners. The Federal Bureau of Investigations estimates that there were 2,197,140 burglaries in 2007 alone; of these, 67.9% of the victimized properties were residential. For homeowners considering the expansion of their home security, here are ten ways to determine the value of an alarm system.
- Estimate the Cost of Replacing Valuables That Can Be Removed from Your Home – In the event of a successful burglary or home invasion, valuables that can be removed from your property are likely to be lost or irreparably damaged. Having an estimate of how much it would cost to replace these items because the perpetrators were not deterred or apprehended is the first step to determining a system’s value.
- Figure Out a Ballpark Cost of Home Repairs – In addition to the loss of valuable electronics and other belongings, it’s important to also consider the cost of replacing broken doors or windows, repairing damaged walls and furniture, and any other property damage that results in the event of a burglary.
- Weigh Installation and Annual Fees Against Potential Replacement and Repairs – After determining how much a burglary could potentially cost in terms of replaced goods and repairs, weigh that figure against the start-up costs of installing a system and the annual fees for monitoring.
- Factor in Homeowners Insurance Gaps – Many homeowners are under-insured, and are often unaware of the fact. After you’ve determined the potential cost of a burglary, double-check your policy to see if a pay-out would even be sufficient.
- Determine a Peace-of-Mind Value – It’s difficult to affix a price tag to your peace of mind, but the value of a home security system is dependent on how much it affords you. If you live in an area with very low crime rates and aren’t particularly worried about burglary or invasion, a system will not be as valuable to you as if you were dependent on it for your peace of mind each day.
- Acknowledge the Value of Signage as a Deterrent – The signage, window decals and other indicators of a home security system have more value than you might think; in addition to the protection the system provides in the event of an invasion, these alerts to criminals serve as very strong deterrents.
- Calculate Insurance Discounts – Most homeowners’ insurance companies offer discounts for home security system, and often the discount is greater than the annual monitoring fees. Check with your insurance company to see what, if any, discounts you’ll receive as a result of installation.
- Determine Added Home Resale Value – Resale value of homes with functioning, up-to-date security systems can be notably higher than those without. If you’re considering a sale in the future or even if you’re simply acknowledging it as a possibility at some point, this will contribute to the value of the system overall.
- Estimate Total Loss Expenses – Though burglary prevention is what home security systems are often connected with in the mind of a consumer, this is far from their only function. Most also have fire alert systems that can prevent a significant amount of damage in the event of a blaze. If your home were to suffer a total-loss due to a fire because you weren’t able to contact help in time, how much would it cost after your insurance payout?
- Look at the Special Services and Their Value – Many companies also offer specialized services that send alerts to designated mobile phones if specified areas are entered or tampered with. These services include alarms on liquor cabinets and gun safes; for families with children and teenagers that might be tempted to experiment when you’re out of the home, this service alone can be worth the cost of the system.
Carefully researching companies and the services they offer, weighing the costs versus the benefits of a system, and considering the crime statistics of your neighborhood are all important parts of the shopping process. Don’t be swayed into purchasing service packages that are larger than your needs, as this will greatly affect the value balance at the end of your calculations.
Emerging technologies in the area of home security are putting your parent’s outdated security systems to shame. Every day new products are being introduced strapped with bells and whistles that range from merely very convenient features to action-film impressive elements. Here are ten of the most recent innovations for securing your home:
- Smartphone Apps – Many home security companies offer apps for both iPhone and Android operating systems that allow users to control their systems remotely. From opening garage doors to disabling an alarm as you approach your door, there’s almost nothing that phones these days can’t do.
- Wireless Protection Devices – Wireless asset protection devices affix to valuable items like electronics or family heirlooms, sending an alert if the object is moved or disturbed in any way.
- Biometric Door Locks – Once relegated to the plots of spy films, biometric locks are now commercially available to the everyday citizen. These models scan fingerprints and match them against the pre-approved internal database, eliminating the need to fumble around for a key ring.
- Electronic Pet Doors – Pet parents know that the convenience of a pet door is evenly split with the worry of securing their inherent vulnerability. Now, there are electronic models on the market that interact with the dedicated collar to allow your pets free access to a fenced yard without issuing an invitation to burglars.
- Wireless Alarm Systems – There was a time not so long ago when alarm systems were costly to install due to the extensive wiring they required. This also put them out of reach for many renters who weren’t allowed to modify their properties in any way. The solution to both of these problems has arrived in the form of wireless systems that are easily installed and do not require drilling for the running of cables.
- Night Vision Outdoor Security Cameras – Security cameras serve little purpose in poorly-lit areas, unless they’re of the high-tech night vision variety. Fans of paranormal reality shows are familiar with the eerie green cast and high visibility in low- to no-light conditions; now homeowners can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing that their property is secured in the dark hours when it’s most vulnerable.
- Speech Recognition Systems – Struggling to remember a series of complex codes and being forced to change them every time you hire a house sitter is a thing of the past; new systems are voice activated and feature speech recognition software that allows them to respond to verbal commands from approved users.
- Home Automation – The ability to adjust lighting and curtains from anywhere, even while on vacation on the other side of the globe, is another burglary deterrent. Mimicking the patterns of inhabitants, these systems can often fool intruders that are casing your home into thinking that there are people inside.
- Heat-Sensing Fire Alarms – Hapless cooks can rejoice; a burned breakfast will no longer result in a call from the security company or a visit from the fire department. New fire alarms are heat-sensing, rather than reliant on smoke.
- DIY Systems – In addition to all of the new features that subscribers to a monitoring service have access to, there’s also a burgeoning market for higher-quality Do-It-Yourself security systems. Instead of relying on a monitoring center, some of these send alerts via cellular signal to the authorities or an authorized mobile phone.
Tech enthusiasts and security-conscious homeowners alike can have a blast browsing through the new, highly advanced offerings in the field of home security. These are only a few of the emerging gadgets; more are being introduced every day.