While violent crime has seen a decrease in recent years in Chicago, property crime appears to be on the rise. Combined with the recent housing market crisis, it can be intimidating trying to sell a property in a neighborhood that is perceived to have higher crime rates. While this is certainly a concern, it shouldn’t stop you from putting your property up for sale. There are some quick and easy approaches to make a house more secure and attractive in a higher crime neighborhood.
Dead Bolts and Window Locks
This seems like an obvious one, but it’s surprising how many houses don’t have dead bolts on all of their outer doors. A dead bolt is the heavier type of lock on a door that can only be opened by rotating the lock cylinder, as opposed to being manipulated in some way (like with a credit card or a lock bump key). Realtors often use lock boxes as a means to prevent burglary, and a private seller can use one as a means to secure the home while selling from long distance. This is possibly the most effective solution to making a home more secure and it’s extremely easy to pull off.
Another obvious improvement is adding window locks or jams. Many windows have a cheap lock on them that can be jimmied or busted open, but adding a more robust lock or a jam can improve security immensely. If a neighborhood is particularly bad, you could consider adding window bars to the outside of the home − but many buyers consider these unattractive. Weigh the costs and benefits for your particular neighborhood.
Hire a Security Company
Homes without security systems are about three times more likely to be broken into. While this is a more pricy choice for some, the statistics don’t lie when it comes to effectiveness. When searching for a security company that’s right for you, it may be a good idea to shop around a bit and read some reviews. Even if you decide not to get a home security company, many of their logos and stickers can be found on eBay. Just the sticker by itself could be enough to deter most criminals if cost is an issue, and it certainly makes the home look safer.
Keep the House Furnished
Even if you plan on selling the house without furnishings, it’s a good idea to keep them in the house while it’s on the market. This is because most vandalism occurs in unoccupied houses. Even if no one is actually living there at the time, a potential vandal is much less likely to break in if it looks like someone could come home at any moment. An additional benefit to showing a house that is furnished is that it gives a prospective buyer a better idea of how space is used in the house, and also lets you show off more attractive design ideas. If you absolutely must leave the house furnished and unsupervised, consider getting a safe for the most valuable of your possessions. Do some research and make sure you are purchasing a safe that can withstand professional criminals with an array of tools.
Fence in the Property
Another easily overlooked step is putting up a fence around the property. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but criminals tend to break into houses that are easily accessed. Even the slight annoyance of having to climb over a fence has been shown to lower the chances of a break in occurring. This also gives another opportunity to dress up the property aesthetically if you decide to spring for attractive looking fencing.
Good luck selling, and remember to keep these tips in mind. Final walkthroughs will help in determining which aspects of the home need to be made secure before selling time. Although high crime rates tend to stop some buyers it is understandable that most people are just searching for a nice home.