Security during rehab thread

List your tricks and tips for keeping your investment safe during rehab.


We have used the ________ wireless alarm system that hooks into either a phone line or accesses the cellular network. It plugs in but has a battery back up so as to still work even if the power goes out. It is both sound and motion triggered and will actually call the police department and identify the property address, owner and contact number and anounces that the alarm has been triggered by an intruder, please send law enforcement now!

I have also used a cheap laptop (You can buy a decent used one for $100 to $150 and set it in the attic, and run wireless camera’s to monitor four side of a building by placing them discretely in each of the corners, all facing the same direction around the building! There are wireless video camera’s that are so small now that if your not specifically looking for them, you probable won’t catch them!


nice tip Gold River…What alarm system are you using btw? If it’s okay with you, can you pm the brand of the alarm? Thanks in advance… :slight_smile:

Have one of the guys working on the house to stay there at night…

And leave a radio on during the day…

You can also place an alarm company sign in the lawn…Any thief will assume that there is a system working in the property.

I’m curious about that wireless alarm system too GR…

I’ve been boarding up all the windows with bolts / nuts / 2x4’s when I’m not there… pita but it locks the place up nicely…

Also hired one of the neighbors to work for me, he keeps an eye on the place too and anyone he even see’s near the property, he warns them the place is being watched…

The neighbors on the back of the house can see the house through their windows, I’ve given them my phone number and told them I would give em $20 if they call me when they see anyone on the property…

we normally are replacing the AC/furnace, we do not put the new outside unit in until we are ready for a tenant to move in,with copper prices high, and thieves knowing they have copper in them, they don’t last long

one reason we normally put in new AC/furnace is I bu REO’s, and they have nearly all had the outside unit stolen

I take virtually everything home each night. I take all tools no matter what. The only things I leave behind are a few boards or gallons of paint. I don’t leave things like ceiling fans, light fixtures, a/c units, etc. behind. If someone is watching me work on the house, they’ll see I load everything up at night.
I also put up blinds and secure all windows as soon as I get a place. I either put window locks on in the beginning or I’ll just screw them shut until I get around to installing the locks later.
I also introduce myself to the neighbors if I see them outside when I’m working. Most people appreciate seeing that vacant house next door being fixed up. I even had a neighbor call me one night when the neighbor on the other side was stealing electricity from us by running an extension cord from an outlet on our house to her house.

I meet the neighbors as well.
The first rental unit I got had an overgrown lawn. I had the chainsaw and weedwacker out anyway.
An hour of work on two neighbor’s properties won me a couple allies.
When a neighbor complained that tennants ruin the neighborhood. I handed him my card and said call me if they cause any problems.
I now have a neighborhood watch.

The wireless alarms are great and really the only solution. There are several manufacturers and some real good deals. 

 Other than that I use Pex or PVC plumbing when replacing. No risk of theft.

For added security of your home, meet your neighbors. Let them know who you are so they could be aware that someone will be moving sooner that’s why the house is being fixed. Give them your number so they can reach you in case there are thieves or unlikely situation occurring in your home. For great safety, you can install alarms. There are property preservation companies which offer such.

  1. lasershield alarm system, although since I’m rehabbing 2 properties at the same time, I can only protect one.
  2. put cage on AC condensor because someone sprayed grafitti on house
  3. pin lock in sliding glass door
  4. waiting to put the new appliances in until I have the blinds up in the windows so that people cannot see in.
  5. do not leave major tools in house overnight

I always let my contractors know they should take their tools with them each night as they leave the job site. I also have them leave a light on somewhere in the house (obviously this is only applicable when the electricity is connected and working). I don’t typically talk with the neighbors as they are the most likely people to vandalize and steal from your property (they are there a lot more than you are). I also break up the routine by stopping by the property really early in the morning or later at night (times when the contractors aren’t there) so the neighbors don’t see any consistent pattern of when the home is vacant. I will show up in a different car on occasion.

One last thought… I use a lot of sub contractors who do my jobs on the side, so they need to be there real early in the morning or real late at night… this helps to make it seem like somebody is always at the property.