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By Judi Leonard | Agent in Braintree, MA
  • Home security systems…Is it the right choice for your home? Part 2

    Posted Under: General Area in Boston, Quality of Life in Boston, Crime & Safety in Boston  |  November 16, 2010 7:42 PM  |  447 views  |  1 comment

    Last week discussed 3 things you need to be aware of before purchasing a home security system.. Let’s discuss a few more.


    System setup and monitoring costs

    Equipment costs vary widely, from around $250 to as much as $700, depending on the options you choose. Some security companies may offer a basic package at a deep discount, or even for free, just to get your business.

    After all, they make their real money on the monthly monitoring fee, which ensures that someone is keeping an eye on your home 24/7, even when you’re not around or out of town.

    Choosing an installer

    You may have a choice between hiring a national firm or a local company. Do you want the monitoring center to be in an entirely different state or just around the corner? The national firms boast that their call centers are fully redundant, which means if a center in Cambridge loses power, the center in Vancouver can pick up the slack.

    Some say, choose someone in your area who’s been in the business at least 10 years.  If you go local, however, it’s smart to quiz your provider about what provisions it has made in case, say, a blizzard shuts down power or a bug going around your local schools sidelines half their staff. In my years as a real estate agent, I have a few vendors I could recommend.

    Wired or wireless?

    Installing a basic system usually takes a pro about three hours. Retrofitting an older home takes more time, because the installer will have to snake wires for the keypad and control panel though existing walls. (Sensors can be wired or wireless.)

    Another option is to go completely wireless. In this case, every component of the system, including the keypad and control panel, houses its own battery that provides just enough power to enable it to communicate with a remote cellular network.. You’ll need to check if this technology is available in your area. If it is, you may pay slightly more to install it.

    It is very important to me to help find my clients a home but its just as important to help you after you’ve moved in. So that is why I wanted to write about this subject.

    Next week we will wrap up this series with a few more helpful tips on choosing your home security system.

    Judi Leonard…Because Your Property Matter

  • Home Security...is it for you? part 1

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Boston, Crime & Safety in Boston, Market Conditions in Boston  |  November 2, 2010 1:16 PM  |  358 views  |  No comments

    Before choosing a home security system, you should understand the pros and cons of home security systems and choose the system that protects your property, safeguards your family, and fits your budget.

    A house is burgled every 15 seconds in the United States, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, costing homeowners an average of $1,900 in personal goods and possessions with each break-in. A home security can save your possessions but it can also give you peace of mind. The items can be replaced, but the thought of someone rummaging through your home can take awhile to get over.

    Let’s discuss a few reasons why home security may be the right move for you.

     Save money:

    You’ll pay about $35 to $75 a month in monitoring fees for that peace of mind, but home security systems also save you money: Insurers will shave 5% to 20% off your premiums every year you own your home. With an average national premium of $800, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, that means a basic security system can pay for itself in as little as three years.

     Before you call a pro

    Before you call an installer, take the time to give your doors, windows, and other entry points a thorough once-over. It doesn’t pay to install new security equipment if you need to upgrade your doors and locks. This is very important especially if you have a older home that hasn’t been recently renovated.

    Security system basics

    Home security systems typically consist of a keypad mounted near your entry way and usually a second one in your Master bedroom. This keypad communicates with smaller contact sensors and motion detectors attached to doors and windows around the house. The brains of the system—the control panel—is installed in the attic or basement. If an intruder breaks a window or kicks in a door, the sensor sends signals to the control panel, which in turn uses your phone line to contact an off-site monitoring station staffed by security personnel. If you do not have a land line, most security systems can use your cell phone. It typically costs more to set up. So ask that question at the beginning. (It also sets off an ear-splitting siren.) Staffers ring the house right away and prompt you or your family members to provide a password. If there’s no response, or if the person who picks up the phone gives the incorrect password, they’ll notify local law enforcement.

    Stay tuned next week for more tips on home security systems.

    Judi Leonard…Because Your Property Matters

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