When doing a major renovation, or any renovation to your home, you have to think security.
We all hope that nobody will try and take advantage of a house in "state or repair" but they do.
We are renovating a house right now, and we are NOT living there, so at the end of each working day, we have to make sure everything is secure. It is in a nice neighborhood, with nice neighbors, but you still need to protect yourself and your property, especially tools. They can get up and walk away very easily.
If you are doing big renovations, and you have no curtains, don't leave tools out in plain sight. You need to allow about 1/2 hour at the end of your work, to organize your security. If you don't have a security system, you are an easy target, (Thieves are more apprehensive about going for a renovation project with the homeowners still living there.) take a few steps for some security.
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Keep Curtains Closed or Cover Windows
In our case, we gather all the tools, and we take them home. I know this sounds like a pain, especially if you just want to show up the next day with everything still set up. But these tools can take a walk very easily. Most insurance companies know this as well. My particular insurance company has told us we have a "5000 dollar deducible" if house is empty. Which means they could go off with a lot of stuff before we would get anything from insurance.
Once we move in, or a tenant, then it reverts to a reasonable deductible of $1000.00 dollars. That right away, shows you just how much of a problem this can be.
We are also very careful about what gets delivered to the house. It is nice to be thinking ahead of time, and get vanities, plumbing fixtures and lighting to start showing up, but if you are not ready for them yet, then these are loose in the house or garage, and can get taken. A brazen thief will back up a truck to get this stuff, and who would think them out of place? Especially since you are working on it all the time, and the odd truck shows up anyways.
Try not to get deliveries until you will be installing them. Words of advice I got from a contractor friend of mine. Apparently the goldmine for theft these days is appliances that have been delivered and still sitting on their skids and wrapped. They can steal these and resell them right away. Next is fixtures, such as those specialty items like vanity bowl sinks, and high end faucets etc.
You can't protect yourself from everything, but if you take as many precautions as you can, then you greatly reduce the chance of theft.
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Keep Your Neighbours in the Loop
Another thing I did, that I felt better for, is I knocked on the door of the neighbor on each side, and gave them my phone number, just in case they see anything out of the ordinary, or if the police and fire have had to come. If this is the case, you might not find out anything until the next day, when they try to research who owns the house, whereas the neighbors could tell them right away.
So far so good, or at least so I thought. I did have a slight security problem. I had a "dumpster" delivered to our driveway the first week of this renovation project, and we were quickly filling it with construction debris from the house, but it was not completely full, we still had room for more debris.
Finally yesterday, I phoned the company and asked them to come and take it away, but this morning, when he got to the house to remove the dumpster, I got a phone call. I was on my way there to do some more work, when he mentioned to be that the dumpster was way too full, and that he can't take it that full. We get charged by the metric ton, but it was overflowing, and unsafe. I thought this to be weird, because we had placed everything in there so carefully.
Now I know either he was exaggerating or something wasn't right. Just as I thought, in the night some other home owner, I would assume along this peaceful neighborhood street, decided to clean out their basement and throw it all in the dumpster. Probably thought I wouldn't notice. But I did.
It is expensive in this small town to get rid of big garbage, so this must have looked like a great opportunity to clean out their basement. What was I suppose to do? Take it out? So, the guy spread it out better, and I guess I will get stuck with that extra bill. You can only secure so much!
We put in a timer, and have the outside lights and a couple of lights inside alternate going off and on at different times, and tomorrow we are going to leave one of our cars there. We will try and make it look like we are living there. We also brought a snow shovel and make a point of clearing the driveway. The more we get done, the more lived in we make it look.
We are trying very hard not to stand out on the street as "that house being renovated"
We are already drawing lots of attention because of this. This house sat empty for seven months before we showed up.
When budgeting and working out your renovation needs, you have to allow time and money for some security. As soon as you purchase your new renovation project, the first thing on the list, should be to change the locks. You may have got the keys from the lawyer, which came from the homeowner, but how many of those keys were given out over the years? Neighbors? Relatives? Babysitters? Too many keys could be out there, and end up in the wrong hands. So, it is not that much to change the locks. Do that first, this is your first line of security. Than just be very conscious of what you do with anything that is not nailed down. Either take it home, or lock it up, and hopefully you will get through your renovation without any losses.