Options for Securing Vacant Property

Flipping properties in rough neighborhoods can be quite aggravating and costly if one does not take the proper precautions to secure the property during and after the rehab is complete.  Depending on the crime rate of the neighborhood, choose the option that makes the most sense for your area.

Electrocution (check with your local zoning laws first)

I came up with this brilliant idea after my first break-in.  My first home rehab project was completed the day before Thanksgiving in ’01.  The very next day, on Thanksgiving, I received a call from a fellow investor informing me that the back door to the house was wide open.  Upon arriving at the house, on Thanksgiving night, I found that all the copper plumbing was ripped out of the basement, along with the kitchen counter tops, kitchen cabinets, furnace, and the toilet seat.  They even left a souvenir in the toilet for me.  I have not figured out how to legally implement my electrocution security system yet.  Please let me know if you have any suggestions on how to make this happen legally.

electrocution Options for Securing Vacant Property

Security for Vacant Property

Steel Doors and Steel Window Screens

By far the best vacant property security system on the market is the type offered by VPS Inc.  Find them at www.vacantpropertysecurity.com.  They will install keyless, solid metal doors on the front and back of the house along with steel perforated window screens on all your windows.  Typical costs are $450 for installation with a $250 monthly rental fee.  The metal window screens allow air and light to enter the house so your rehab crew can work comfortably and safely on the inside.  The system does not cause any damage to the house and adds to the curb appeal of the house while securing your investment.  Look for VPS Inc. or other similar providers in your area when break-ins and vandalism are a constant problem.

 Options for Securing Vacant Property

Security for Vacant Property - Steel Doors and Windows

Plywood Board-up

The standard protection used on most properties is sheets of plywood over all the windows along with solid wood or steel doors with deadbolts on all the doors.  This is good for standard protection when vandalism and break-ins are not a common occurrence.  The determined crack head will pry these open eventually.

boarded up row of houses Options for Securing Vacant Property

Security for Vacant Property - Boarded-up Homes

Security Dogs

Either get your own dogs to watch the property at night or rent some.   Some cities have security dog services where they will drop off one or two dogs in the late afternoon and pick them up in the morning.  I have never used this service but the rates were reasonable.

scary pit bull Options for Securing Vacant Property

Make my day! Security for Vacant Property

Sleep at the Property

It is not uncommon to find volunteers from your crew that will actually sleep at the property once the more valuable updates are completed, such as copper piping installation. An extra $30 a night is worth the piece of mind.  The longer a house sits vacant, the greater the chances of a break-in.  This is why it so important to complete rehabs quickly and get then rented out ASAP.

sleeping at the job Options for Securing Vacant Property

Security for Vacant Property - Sleep at the Project

Alarm System

The installation of alarm system is another option for securing your rehab property.  A basic system from Brinks or ADT can be installed for $100 if you sign up for a contract monitoring plan.  There are other options out there including those that do not require a monitoring contract.  A company recommended by another investor is LaserShield.net.  After installing their motion detectors, you can have their monitoring center contact yourself, the police, and whoever else necessary all on a month-to-month contract.  Once the home is rented or sold, you can move this monitoring system to your next project unlike the permanent ones installed by ADT and Brinks.

alarm system Options for Securing Vacant Property

Home Security System

 Options for Securing Vacant Property

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