One thing we hadn’t really considered through the whole tender and contract process was the security of our new home (or allowed any money for it). We live in a relatively safe neighbourhood and Ive never heard of a break in within our apartment complex in the 7 years we have been living here.
But as we talked to other people who were building or already in their new homes we realised that new developments are big targets for crime, especially theft. As developments push further and further onto the fringes of cities, they become more likely to be sleeper suburbs where large percentages of the residents have to travel elsewhere for work everyday.
Some of the stories we heard include people driving round broadcasting different garage radio frequencies to access houses via the garage, sliding doors and windows being lifted right out of their frames and just simple broken windows and doors. Builders never install appliances until the last minute because they get stolen so frequently. I even heard of someone having their tapware stolen from their build a few weeks ago (literally removed from the walls).
Up until handover, any criminal damage or theft is the responsibility of the builder and they will have insurance to cover it. But as soon as you handover it becomes your issue, which can be especially nerve wracking if you can’t line everything up to move in ASAP. So what are our options?
- Reinforced flyscreens – for years we have mocked the good old crimsafe adverts on TV, but we are seriously considering these for our doors now. They were already appealing to us because they’re pretty much cat claw proof too (we have a lot of holes in our current screens thanks to our furry friends). Definitely not a cheap solution. We expect to need to spend $3-4K to get them for our sliding doors and laundry but they will offer reassurance that if someone has climbed over our fence, the rear doors are secure. This is something we will do ourselves after handover so we can get the exact product we want rather than being reliant on whatever the builder can offer.
- Alarm Systems – our package includes an alarm system with several movement sensors positioned through the house. But there are lots of upgrade options – sensors for windows and doors so they trigger the alarm when they’re opened, extra movement sensors. Setup of extra zones so you can have arm the alarm even when you’re in the house which really appeals to me as I tend to get nervous when Im home alone. Most builders will include an alarm system package in either their base option or as part of a promotion pack and I think it’s well worth taking.
- Deadlocks and bolts – this is a good post handover option as it’s easy to do yourself. We have already put deadlocks on all our external doors as part of the build, plus the door between our garage and house. But we will be considering adding some extra locks at the top and bottom of door frames and onto windows so they can’t slide open when the bolt is locked.
- Surveillance System – home CCTV setups are becoming increasingly common these days and you have the opportunity to do it with minimal disruption during a new build. Cameras can be hardwired into the locations of your choice and cabling can be run to wherever you choose to store and review the footage. The alarm system vendor that Wisdom use offers complete packages with 4 cameras for $2600 or 8 cameras for $3800.
- Video Intercoms – its easy to think of security while you’re away from the house, but it’s important to feel safe in your home too. Video intercoms are becoming increasingly common and give you the opportunity to check out who is at your door and ask them to show ID without having to open your door. Some even work like mini CCTV cameras too and will automatically record when a motion sensor is set off so you can see if someone is checking out your front door even if they don’t ring.With all of that to consider it could get really expensive. Overcapitalization is a constant concern with a new build and it’s unlikely that a future buyer will see the true value of all the effort you have gone to if you add a lot of security options so keep that in mind. Anything that visibly makes your house look more secure is a positive as it will act as a physical discouragement to potential thieves when they’re looking for targets. Consider your options and what might work best for you and your lifestyle. We see anything we do as more of an investment in our own peace of mind but we are carefully considering what we put into the build vs what we will do ourselves at a later stage if we feel we need it.