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Tips for Protecting Your Florida Vacation Rental Home

Florida Vacation Hoe - Florida Property Insurance

As a Floridian vacation rental property owner, there are many things you need to consider to ensure your vacation home is a successful and profitable investment. You’ve found the perfect property, gone through the buying process, fixed, furnished and decorated. You’ve listed your rental on popular listing websites and you’re waiting for inquiries to start coming in. As with any situation involving strangers, safety precautions should be taken.

If you own a Florida vacation rental home, it’s likely one of your most valuable assets. The last thing you want to do is jeopardize your asset. How can you protect your prized possession when no one’s home? Here are tips for keeping your Florida vacation rental safe and secure whether it’s empty or occupied.

  1. Maintain a “lived in” look

A home that looks unoccupied is attractive to would-be burglars. Here are some ways to keep your home looking less than attractive to potential thieves.

  • Hire someone to maintain the yard and driveway of the home. This includes mowing the lawn, trimming the bushes and trees, removing debris and making sure toys and tools aren’t scattered around the front yard.
  • Don’t leave a vehicle parked outside your home. Instead, park it in the garage or safely away from the property.
  • Ask a neighbor to pick up any door knob hangers or fliers local businesses might leave on the doorstep.
  • Stop delivery of all newspapers and regular mail.
  • Open curtains and shades enough so it looks like someone is home, but not so much that passersby can view valuables through the windows. Better yet, don’t keep valuables or keepsakes in your rental property.
  • Ask a neighbor or hire someone to put garbage cans on the curb on trash day and then move them back the next day.
  1. Minimize fire dangers

Protect your home from going up in flames. You can reduce fire risks by:

  • Testing smoke and carbon dioxide alarms and replacing batteries
  • Hire a licensed professional to inspect heating systems, chimneys and appliances
  • Unplug electronics and appliances during times your home is unoccupied.
  1. Consider smart home technology

Investing in smart home technology for your Florida vacation rental home is one of the smartest investments you can make.

  • Smart locks allow keyless entry into the home. You can assign different “keys” to different people (i.e. housekeeper, maintenance person, tenants, etc.) and then change the codes as needed.
  • A video doorbell will call your smartphone when the doorbell is pushed, enabling you to remotely see and interact with the visitor.
  • Smart lighting gives you the ability to program your lighting to set automatic on and off schedules throughout your home.
  • Video monitoring and security surveillance systems allow you to keep an eye on your property remotely. Built-in microphones and sensors send you photo notices when movement is detected, and footage is conveniently stored in the cloud.
  • Advanced all-in-one security systems enable you to stream real-time video of your home on your smartphone and receive alerts when activity is detected. You can also turn on a siren remotely to deter intruders in the event of a break-in.
  • For large homes or a home with valuable assets, a hardwired system with cameras that provide higher quality images might be a worthwhile investment. The cameras in these systems have built-in night vision and a compatible app that allow you to stream live video or play back recorded footage from your mobile device.
  • Smart thermostats give you intuitive programming with sensors and algorithms to reduce energy (and save money) but ensure the home is at the right temperature when guests arrive.
  • Smart sprinkler systems let you control, manage and adjust your sprinkler systems from your smartphone and use real-time weather data to adjust your watering accordingly.
  1. Don’t forget the basics

Tried and true safety measures have been around for one simple reason – they work. Follow these common sense tips to safeguard your vacation home.

  • Make sure the locks on your doors and windows are working correctly
  • Prevent flooding by switching off the water to your water heater, dishwasher and washing machine
  • If you have a traditional alarm system, be sure to turn it on before you leave
  • Replace burned out bulbs in outdoor lights and install motion-activated floodlights.
  • Secure sliding doors so would-be thieves don’t have an easy point-of-entry.
  • Install sturdy deadbolt locks.
  • Don’t stash a spare key in a flowerpot, under a welcome mat or top of a doorsill. If you must, leave a spare key with a trusted neighbor or your property manager.
  • When you list your property online, don’t give the exact address. You don’t want to make it easy for a thief to find your house.
  • Enlist a trusted neighbor, friend or property manager to keep an eye on your home to see if anything seems out of place or needs attention.

A vacation rental is an important economic asset. One of the most difficult challenges facing Florida vacation rental property owners today is home security. You don’t want your property damaged, and you don’t want your tenants’ possessions burglarized or vandalized either. Today’s tips will help you improve the security of your Florida vacation rental home.

To learn more about property insurance for Florida vacation rental property, contact a Lanier Upshaw representative here.