Protecting your Old Home as You Proceed to the New One

An empty room with a lit window and wood floorRelocation is a tough business. Anyone who’s ever endured a move knows that selling your house is only one milestone among many in a challenging long-term project.

We all run on our own calendars: You might not find a buyer at the most opportune time, and you might not be able to organize a closing date that perfectly fits everyone’s schedules. Ultimately, you’ll have to take a few precautions to make sure things go as smoothly as possible, no matter how the timeline pans out.

Once you’ve put a signature on your new residence and you’re all set to call the movers (or bribe a few of your heavy-lifting friends with pizza and drinks), it’s time to think about how you’ll protect your old home during the relocation process. According to reports from the DOJ, criminals target vacant residences with the intent to steal, vandalize, and otherwise damage these empty properties.  As the owner of vacant home, you bear the responsibility to organize a way to protect your home even after you’ve moved out.

Fortunately, the strategy for protecting your now-vacated house is not much different from the  security precautions that you used to take when you went on vacation. Remember these three guidelines:

  1. Lighting is an incredibly powerful crime prevention tool.  Proper use of lights can be one of the most important elements in defending a vacant home. And with the amount of timers and home automation systems available on the market, it’s never been easier to manage the on/off schedule for visible hallway and bedroom lights. Whether you use motion sensors or web tools, make sure you have a way to flick on the lights at night.
  2. Security systems are as useful to an empty house as they are to an occupied house. A good home security system includes plenty of features to detect intruders and other threats, including security cameras. According to information on, camera technology has advanced to the point where you can review footage almost instantly through applications and web integration, so remote protection doesn’t require much more than a smartphone.
  3. Speak with your insurance company. They’ll want to know immediately if you’re changing residences so you can review your policy. If your policy is voided for vacant property, you’ll want to find a new policy or provider that can insure your former residence. You really don’t want to risk going uninsured.

In addition, you’ll want to keep in contact with your old neighbors and make a few periodic check-ins. For the time being, though, the best place to start is by shoring up your lighting, electronic security and insurance.

Just think: Once you button up everything at your old home, you’ll have so much less to worry about as you step into the next chapter of your life. Good luck, and safe travels!

Thanks and a big shout out to guest blogger Karen Clark

About Ken Montville

Ken Montville is a Realtor® and Associate Broker with RE/MAX United Real Estate in the beautiful Maryland Suburbs of Washington, DC. He has been selling nice homes since 1999. Way back in the 20th Century.

When Ken Is not doing the real estate thing he can be found all over social media in places too numerous to mention and he listens to jazz, reads a little (mostly non-fiction), hangs out with the Rotary Club of College Park, MD and can be found blogging at