Keeping costs in line with your budget is vital to the financial success of any fix-and-flip investment property. A major threat to the profitability of your project is theft. Even if you have an insurance policy that protects against these types of occurrences, the process to recoup your losses will still take time, significantly adding to your holding period and whittling away at your profitability. If you want to keep your investment safe and secure, here are some tips to deter criminals from targeting your property:
1) Stay Away from Front-Door Lock-boxes
Hanging a lock box from the front door of a property is a great way to provide access for contractors and the other vendors you hire to help with repairs and renovations. To criminals, however, they make vacant homes much easier to identify.
If you want to reduce the risk of thieves targeting your home, avoid hanging your lock box in a location that is easily visible to anyone passing by. Instead, opt for a more inconspicuous location such as on a rear door (if the back of the home is easily accessible to your workers) or behind shrubs and other sight obstructions.
2) Use Criminal-Deterring Signage
For the most part, criminals are going to target properties where they feel they’re the least likely to get caught. By using criminal-deterring signage, you’re giving the impression that your property isn’t going to be an easy mark.
Consider posting a sign stating the home is protected by an alarm company. You may not even have such a system installed, but potential thieves and vandals won’t know that. Most of them won’t want to take the chance of having an alarm sound or the police notified, and will instead set their sights on a safer target.
Other deterring signs, like “Beware of Dog” can help reduce the chances that criminals will even stop to take note.
3) Don’t Leave Tools and Materials in Plain Sight
If a nefarious individual does consider targeting your home, don’t give them any reason to follow through with their plans. Make sure your construction team stores tools and materials somewhere that can’t be seen by someone peering in through the windows.
While it may not help prevent vandals from breaking into the property, thieves are less likely to do so if they think there’s nothing valuable for them to steal. If they see professional tools which can easily be sold for hundreds or thousands of dollars, even a security system may not deter a quick smash-and-grab.
4) Beware of the Dark
Thieves don’t just blindly target homes. They may drive through a neighborhood a few different times at night to determine which properties are vacant and make the easiest targets. To reduce the risk of your property being on their list, leave a light or two on inside the home.
The dark also provides a great cover for break-ins to occur unnoticed. Consider investing in motion-sensor lighting, especially around the front and rear of the property.
5) Be a Friendly Neighbor
Perhaps the best way to keep your fix-and-flip safe when you’re not there is to rely on the people who are. If you’ve just purchased a run-down property, take the time to meet the surrounding neighbors. To them, you’re helping improve the quality of their neighborhood by renovating an eyesore. To you, they can be a huge help in spotting any suspicious people or behavior around your property.
There are no sure-fire ways to keep your investment safe from crime but following these helpful tips will go a long way toward protecting your profits.