How to keep your home safe while away

Homeowners tend to worry when they leave on long trips, but there are many things that they can do to protect their property when they go away. Contributor Kris Lindahl shares tips on how to keep your home safe while away – whether you’re leaving for a quick weekend getaway or many months.  

How to keep your home safe while away
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Put Your Mail On Hold

One of the most basic ways to keep your home safe from intruders is to manage your mail. Mail that builds up on the doorstep of a home can tip off strangers that the home is empty. Putting the mail on hold can prevent this from happening. The post office allows homeowners to put mail on hold through online forms, or homeowners can go to the post office to make the request. 

For homeowners who don’t want to put their mail on hold with the post office, there’s one other way to prevent the mail from building up in the box; get someone from the neighborhood to check the mail and put it in the house. Many homeowners prefer this method because the mail is waiting at home when the homeowner gets back. 

Maintain Your Lawn

Nothing indicates a homeowner has been gone for an extended period of time quite like an untended lawn. For homeowners who use a company to tend to their landscaping, it’s important to make arrangements for the landscaping service to take care of the property even while the family is away. Homeowners who don’t use a landscaping service may want to pay a service for the period of time while they’re out of town.     

During the winter, homeowners have a different but related problem – snow that doesn’t get shoveled off the walkway can make a home look abandoned. Homeowners who leave for winter vacations can prevent this issue by paying a snow shoveling service to clear snow from their house while they’re away.  

Ask a Neighbor to Park in Your Driveway

Another basic way to keep your home safe while away on vacation? Offer your neighbors free parking! An empty driveway is a clear indication that no one is at home. Homeowners can prevent this problem by asking a neighbor to park in the driveway. By simply parking there in the evening and leaving again when going to work, a neighbor’s car can give the home an occupied look that can ward off strangers or potential intruders and keep your home safe while away.

Be Careful With Oversharing on Social Media

Among the litany of several things not to post on social media for personal security, geotagged photos or vacation plans tops the list. Discussing the dates of an upcoming trip on public social media is one way that strangers can find out homeowners are gone. Homeowners who want to discuss their trip on social media can do so, but should refrain from discussing specifics like dates. 

Use Smart Lights

Smart lights learn the habits of their owners. Even when the homeowner isn’t around, smart lights can turn on and turn off according to the habits and preferences of the homeowner. This is an excellent way to make the house look occupied, which can in turn keep away potential intruders and keep your home safe while away.

Hide Your Spare Key Well

It’s a common practice for people to hide their spare key under the doorstep, but this location is too obvious to be safe. Homeowners who must have a spare key on hand can hide their key a little more securely by purchasing something like a fake rock or a false sprinkler head for their lawn. 

Homeowners who aren’t sure what else they can do to keep their home safe while they’re gone can talk to their local police department for ideas. The police will know about crimes and other activity in the area, so they can give helpful suggestions to travelers. 


Kris Lindahl is a Minnesota native and owner of The Kris Lindahl Team with RE/MAX Results. Kris likes sharing knowledge to help homeowners and renters stay safe and enjoy their homes wherever they live.

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