Twelve Days of Holiday Safety Tips

Tips from the Red Cross

Having a busy time getting ready for the holidays? While you are shopping, baking, gift wrapping, decorating and going to parties, the American Red Cross has holiday safety tips to help keep the season safe, happy and bright.

• Prepare your vehicle for traveling to grandmother’s house. Build an emergency kit and include items such as blankets or sleeping bags, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, compass and road maps, shovel, tire repair kit and pump, extra clothing, flares, and a tow rope.

RELATED: How To Winterize Your Car

• Drive your sleigh and reindeer safely. Avoid driving in a storm. If you must travel, let someone know where you are going, the route you’re taking to get there, and when you expect to arrive. If the car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along their predetermined route.

• Help prevent the spread of the flu. Stay home if you’re sick. Wash hands with soap and water as often as possible, or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands. Learn more about preventing the spread of the flu.

• Follow Santa’s fashion lead – dress in layers. When it’s cold outside, layered lightweight clothing will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat. Gloves and a hat will prevent loss of body heat. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs.

• Use a Red Cross-trained babysitter when attending holiday festivities. Red Cross-certified babysitters learn to administer basic first aid; properly hold and feed a child; take emergency action when needed and monitor safe play. Some may be certified in Infant and Child CPR.

• Avoid danger while roasting chestnuts on an open fire. Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.

• Be a lifesaver during the holidays. The Red Cross recommends at least one person in every household should take first aid and CPR/AED training.

• Designate a driver or skip the holiday cheer. Buckle up, slow down, don’t drive impaired. If you plan on drinking, designate a driver who won’t drink.

• When the weather outside is frightful, heat your home safely. Never use your stove or oven to heat your home. Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended. Install smoke alarms.

• Cut down on your heating bills without being a Grinch. Get your furnace cleaned and change the filters. Make sure your furniture isn’t blocking the heat vents. Close off any rooms not in use and turn off the heat in those rooms. Turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater.

• Home for the holidays? Travel safely. Check the air pressure in your tires and make sure you have windshield fluid. Be well rested and alert. Give your full attention to the road – avoid distractions such as cell phones. If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.

• (Bonus!) Resolve to Be Red Cross Ready in the New Year. Get ready now in case you or a member of your household faces an emergency in 2015. Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.

YOUR TURN

Have holiday safety tips to add to our list? Sound off on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook Page or on our Twitter or Instagram Feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly HOME ADVICEtm eNewsletter for articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Power Outages: Be Prepared

Your electric service is generally very reliable; however, extreme weather conditions and other factors can lead to a temporary loss of power. To keep your family safe and comfortable during an outage or other emergency, it’s important to be prepared.

power outage

Here are some tips:

• Create an emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash and first aid supplies.
• Maintain supplies of healthy and filling snacks that don’t require refrigeration, such as dried fruits, nuts and protein bars.
• Make sure you have alternative charging methods for your phone or any device that requires power.
• Purchase ice or freeze water-filled plastic containers to help keep food cold during a temporary power outage.
• Learn about the emergency plans established in your area by contacting your state or local emergency management agency.
• If you rely on anything that’s battery-operated or power dependent, such as a medical device, have a backup plan.
• Maintain backup generators according to manufacturers’ recommendations and store an adequate supply of fuel in a safe place.

During an outage, monitor local radio stations or online sources for reports about power restoration. Disconnect or switch off appliances and electronic equipment that were running when the power went out. Avoid opening refrigerators and freezers to save cold air and preserve food longer.

Staying safe

Follow these measures to ensure the safety of you and your family during and after an outage.

Generators. Operate backup generators safely by following manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t attempt to connect your generator to the electrical system; it can backfeed to outdoor utility lines and injure or kill utility service personnel. An automatic transfer switch—installed by a qualified electrician—will help to ensure safe operation.

Refrigerated foods. Discard any perishable items in your refrigerator or freezer that may not be safe to consume. A refrigerator keeps food at a safe temperature for up to four hours during a power outage if it remains closed. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends discarding foods such as meat, poultry and eggs if they’ve been above 40°F for more than two hours.

YOUR TURN

For more tips and resources, see Power Outages from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Like Patrick Parker Realty on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly HOME ADVICE™ email newsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

5 Crucial Questions Home Buyers Should Ask Sellers Before Moving In

Moving into a home you’ve just bought is exciting—and sometimes exasperating. That’s because, although you might love your new place, you don’t know it all that well—which means that sooner or later, you’re bound to end up in a situation where you’re floundering cluelessly with the circuit breaker, or petting a neighbor’s seemingly adorable Pomeranian who nearly nips off a finger. Home, sweet home, right?

Yet you’d be surprised by how many of these unfortunate surprises home buyers can circumvent merely by asking the person who sold them the home some pointed questions before moving in. Sure, you’ll also be soaking up intel from the seller’s disclosure agreement, the home inspector who gave a thumbs-up to the place, and eventually even the neighbors. But truth be told, there’s nothing better than hearing about a home straight from someone who’s been living there for umpteen years. So go ahead and ask!

FREE DOWNLOAD: The Ultimate Home Buyers Guide

Just keep in mind that some sellers might feel tight-lipped if they think your questions might jeopardize the sale. As such, many of these questions are best asked near the end of the process—like during your walk-through or at closing.

1. Are there any special quirks about the house?

A thorough inspector will point out any oddities that are unsafe or devalue the house, but only someone who’s lived there will have a handle on all the unique characteristics worth mentioning—light switches in unexpected places, doors and windows that stick up or down, poltergeists, you name it. This question is most effectively asked during the final walk-through.

RECOMMENDED: ‘I’m wondering if you can tell me anything I might need to anticipate moving forward?’ Be subtle but persistent.

2. Have you had any past problems with the house that you’ve fixed?

True, sellers are often required to disclose most existing problems or issues related to the home. But what about past problems that have since been repaired?

RECOMMENDED: ‘I’ve read the disclosure statement. Is there anything else that has happened or that you’ve done that would be helpful to know?’ Use the disclosure as a jumping-off point to learn about what’s not listed.

3. Where are the water shut-off valve, sump pump, circuit box, and more?

Hopefully, the home inspector will locate all of these things and point them out to the new buyer as part of educating them about their new house, But not all inspectors do. So these are some important safety questions.

Ask the seller to show you not only the location of these valves, switches, and pumps, but also how they work. If you’re moving into an older home, chances are that many of the utility features will be unique in their operations, so rather than fumble around blindly, it’s a no-brainer to lean on the seller.

4. How is the neighborhood?

This is a great question to help establish rapport between buyer and seller, and is also best asked near the end of the buying process.

RECOMMENDED: ‘Tell me about the neighborhood.’ Keep it light.

Often the good, the bad, and the ugly will tumble out if approached conversationally. While you’re at it, if you’re new to the area, consider asking the seller for recommendations for everything from grocery stores to their favorite restaurants.

5. Is there anything you want to leave behind?

This one doesn’t so much help you get to know your home, but it might result in a few nice bonuses. It’s worth a shot to see if the seller is willing to part with large items he or she might not want to bother moving.

Most things that are being left, such as appliances, are dealt with in the original contract, but as it gets closer to closing, sellers are often wanting to unload some other things too. You might get lucky and wind up with something great.

YOUR TURN

Are you a recent homebuyer? Do you have questions you wished you asked? Let us know on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook Page or on our Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram Feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly HOME ADVICE email newsletter  for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Join the fight against hunger by donating food

 

bradley-beach-food-drive-new-jersey-patrick-parker-realty

Patrick Parker Realty invites the community to take part in their annual holiday giving initiative. This year Patrick Parker Realty offices will be collecting canned food and dry nonperishable items at their Bradley Beach and Ocean Township locations to benefit the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean County. With the objective of organizing and collaborating to better serve Monmouth and Ocean County’s food insecure families, the Patrick Parker Realty team has selected the Foodbank as the beneficiary of this year’s holiday giving initiative to address the crucial need at this time of year for more food donations with the onset of winter’s higher household costs, the approaching holidays and higher grocery store prices.

Here is a current list of our most needed items.

 

* Please no glass containers.

Non-Perishable:

• Canned Tuna, Chicken, Salmon (in water)
• Canned Fruits (packed in juice or light syrup)
• Canned Vegetables (low sodium or no-added salt)
• Natural unsweetened applesauce
• Brown, Wild, White Rice
• Peanut Butter & Jelly
• Pasta (whole grain preferred)
• Canned or dry beans, peas, lentils
• 100% juice boxes
• Healthy snacks
• Unsalted Nuts
• Hot & Cold Cereal (low sugar preferred)
• Cooking Oils
• Ready-to-eat Canned Meals
• Canned Dry Beans

Patrick Parker Realty’s Bradley Beach and Ocean Township locations are accepting donations 7 days a week between 10am and 3pm or by appointment.

Patrick Parker Realty Bradley Beach Directions:

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Patrick Parker Realty Ocean Township Directions:

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Halloween Safety Tips 2016

 

With Halloween right around the corner, Patrick Parker Realty has consulted with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to provide some important safety tips.

halloween-jersey-shore

Yes, Halloween brings fun and sweets to children, but those ghouls and goblins are not the things to be afraid about. Accidents and mishaps increase dramatically on Halloween night.

Here are some tips to help ensure you and your family have a safe and enjoyable holiday:

ALL DRESSED UP

  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises on the big day.
  • When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
  • Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost.

    RELATED: Police Department near Bradley Beach, NJ with Contact Information

CARVING A NICHE

  • Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
  • Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
  • Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and not on a porch or any path where visitors may pass close by. They should never be left unattended.

HOME SAFE HOME

  • To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
  • Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.

ON THE TRICK-OR-TREAT TRAIL

  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
  • Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or-Treaters:
    – Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
    – Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
    – Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
    – Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
    – If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
    – Never cut across yards or use alleys.
    – Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
    – Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
  • Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.

HEALTHY HALLOWEEN

  • A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
  • Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
  • Try to ration treats for the days and weeks following Halloween.

BE MINDFUL OF CURRENT EVENTS

These aren’t tips we pulled from the AAP website, or the Department of Education or elsewhere. These are just some tips that fall under the ‘common sense’ category given current events. Sadly, our opinion is to avoid clown costumes – especially – “scary” clowns. Just steer clear altogether. We might also recommend avoiding politically themed costumes. This may be more relevant for older kids and/or young adult. Given this heated election a Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton mask – while it shouldn’t – could invite trouble in the form of conflict, even violence. For (mature) adults going to parties it may be a different story, but kids of all ages are more knowledgeable about this year’s campaign than ever and with all the heated opinions out there, it may just be safer to express your opinion in other ways.

Happy Halloween from everybody at Patrick Parker Realty!

Home Safety Tips and Basics for Your New Jersey Home

Buying a home is an exciting adventure and if it’s your first home, a big step on the road of life. Once you’ve made this great acquisition, you want to keep your biggest investment protected with these home safety tips and basic safety measures.

home-safety-new-jersey-real-estate

This great investment now houses your most priceless of treasures and that would be your loved ones and pets, to name a few. Keeping them from harm in your home is vital. Home safety involves a few different factors, which is why Patrick Parker Realty has put together this important checklist:

Electrical
Where possible, avoid extension cords and instead call an electrician to install another outlet where you need it the most. Running long cords around your house increases the chances of someone tripping on them. If you must have a long cord running from two different places, run it discreetly along the wall. If you have young children, baby proofing electrical outlets is imperative. Use plastic covers to prevent injury. Don’t overload outlets with too many plugs. This could cause the outlet to overload and short out completely.

Heating
It is a great idea to have the HVAC system and heating appliances routinely inspected. Examining the appliances for problems as well as checking the ventilation prevents any large problems in the futures. Have flues and chimneys cleaned annually. Water heaters should also be checked by a professional once a year. Keeping the temperatures at 120 degrees prevents accidental burns with young children.

RELATED: Benefits Of A Smart Home and HVAC Systems

Detectors and extinguishers
Installing smoke detectors in every room of your house is necessary. A carbon monoxide detector should be installed on every floor of your home. Test all alarms monthly and replace any old batteries annually. Teach family members the sound of each alarm so they are aware in case of an emergency. Fire extinguishers should be strategically placed throughout the house. The kitchen is definitely a good place for one. These should be maintained and replaced when needed. Consider installing a sprinkler system as a safeguard.

Create an emergency plan
Coming up with a plan tomorrow may be too late. This should be done as soon as possible because you never know when an emergency will strike. In case of fire, create a plan with two possible exits in each place of the house. Set up a meeting place where your family can meet once outside the house. If you are in a two-story house, placing a rescue ladder in an accessible place is important.

RELATED: Emergency Basics Every Home Owner Should Have On Hand

Patrick Parker Realty wants you to be safe
Every year people die due to negligence and poor planning when disasters strike. Fatalities can be avoided simply by staying vigilant and planning with your family. Don’t wait till it’s too late, get your home safe today and educate your family on these plans and steps.

For more safety tips; like Patrick Parker Realty on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or on LinkedIn.  Plus don’t forget to subscribe to the monthly Patrick Parker Realty email newsletter  for articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox.

Haute Hanukkah Decorating Ideas

Bring modern style and sophistication to your Hanukkah table with a mix of metallics and layered blues.

Hanukkah TreeUse Traditional Colors in a Non-Traditional Way
Blues and silvers not only give this dining space classic elegance, but they also introduce a Hanukkah color palette in a less-traditional manner.

Create a Custom Table Runner
No sewing machine? No problem! Create a custom table runner with three yards of satin folded into thirds, then top it off with a layer of metallic crafting sheer. The bound edges of the metallic crafting sheer add a graphic edge which gives the layered textiles a finished, tailored look.

Coordinate With Gold Flatware
For an unexpected touch at your Hanukkah dinner table, consider using gold flatware in place of traditional silver. To ensure longevity, strictly use it for special occasions. The more frequently gold is run through the dishwasher, the more likely it is to show its age.

Mix Gold With Wintry Hues for Your Napkin Rings and Place Card Holders
Something you should keep in mind when choosing the proper gold for your Hanukkah decor is to stick with shades of gold that have yellow undertones. Yellow gold mixes well with blue, the most popular color associated with Hanukkah. Brown-gold and orange-gold tones create more of an autumnal look and are trickier to mix with wintry colors.

Manzanita Branch MenorahGo Modern With a Manzanita Branch Menorah
For a fresh take on the classic menorah, consider a manzanita branch candelabrum as your table’s centerpiece. Many manufacturers offer metallic manzanita sculptures that come with eight integrated holes for candles. You can also try the do-it-yourself approach by spray-painting a manzanita branch with metallic spray paint and adding small scraps of wood with hot glue, wire or screws to create a space to accommodate tea lights.

Choose a Classic Winter Flower
Lilies are the ideal flower choice when it comes to winter decorating. To give lilies Hanukkah flair, place them in metallic vases made of classic materials such as mercury glass.

Take It to the Floor
One design element homeowners may skip when decorating their dining and gathering spaces for Hanukkah is the floor. To carry the color scheme down to the floor, consider a solid, textural area rug in blue, gold or silver. During the holidays, swap the year-round rug out for a Hanukkah rug, and instantly the entire room will take on a seasonal vibe. No need to spend a fortune either… outdoor area rugs on discount sites like www.overstock.com will do the trick!

Add Glamour With Metallic Gift Wrapping
Add some glamour to your Hanukkah decor this season with gifts wrapped in metallic paper. A fresh color scheme for gifts is turquoise, royal blue, gold and silver. Goes beyond gift giving… wrap empty boxes for a decorative touch.

Decorate a Hanukkah Tree
As many modern-day families start to combine religions, new holiday traditions begin to take shape. For households where both Christmas and Hanukkah are celebrated, consider outfitting a white tree with ornaments in shades of blue, gold and silver.

YOUR TURN

Have you made your Hanukkah haute? Share your decorating tips.  Sound off in Comments, on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook or Twitter pages and don’t forget to sign up for the monthly Patrick Parker Realty eNewsletter for more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Patrick Parker Realty Press Contact:

Chuck Cutaia
Patrick Parker Realty
732-455-5252
chuck@patrickparkerrealty.com
www.patrickparkerrealty.com


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Community Relations and Real Estate:

Patrick Parker Realty 2nd Annual Coat Drive Helps Local People in Need Stay Warm

 

Patrick Parker Realty again partners with One Warm Coat®, warming our communities… one coat at a time.

 

Bradley Beach, NJ (PHANTOM POWER MARKETING) October 12, 2015 – While the need for warm coats has never been greater, it can also be rather easy to meet this vital need in our community. Patrick Parker Realty – a Bradley Beach based boutique real estate brokerage serving Eastern Monmouth County and the Jersey Shore – invites area residents to join them in an effort to ensure that no one goes without a warm coat this winter.

Patrick Parker Realty is holding their 2nd Annual One Warm Coat® Drive and will be collecting clean and gently used warm coats and, in partnership with the national One Warm Coat® non-profit organization, will distribute the coats directly to children and adults in need.

“The response to our 2014 One Warm Coat® Drive was overwhelming,” says Patrick Parker, Owner and Broker of Record.

“Equally important was the message of caring that the community has sent to our neighbors in need. Bradley Beach and surrounding Shore residents turned out in a collective effort to donate more than 250 coats last year. We are proud to again be partnering with the One Warm Coat® organization.” continues Parker.

Patrick Parker Realty invites you to bring your clean, gently used coats and jackets to their new location at 523 Main Street in Bradley Beach beginning November 16th. Donations can be made 7 days a week between the hours of 10am and 3pm.

“We are hoping that by providing drop-off times 7 days per week we can help our busy neighbors by offering greater availability for donating. We are extending our coat drive past the holiday season, through January 30, 2016, after the holiday season as last year we found many donations came in after new coats were received as holiday gifts,” says Parker.

“My sister gave me a new coat for Christmas. I’m glad Patrick Parker Realty is holding this drive so my old coat can be of use to some in need,” said Roxane Bersin of Ocean Grove who donated last year.

“So many of our neighbors need help these days. Any coat or jacket is appreciated; we have those in need from infancy through adulthood. We are proud to again partner with Patrick Parker Realty as a coat drive organizer. The time, resources and energy they gave last year, along with community support, made a difference. We know with their involvement again this year we can continue our mission of warming communities one coat at a time,” commented Jennifer Stockard, President and Chief Executive Officer of One Warm Coat.

Patrick Parker Realty is located in the heart of Bradley Beach at 523 Main Street next to the Bradley Beach train station. They are easily found via Google Maps or any GPS tool or application. For more precise directions you may call 732.455.5252 or visit http://patrickparkerrealty.com/contact/.

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For more information:

Patrick Parker Realty Website:
http://patrickparkerrealty.com/

Patrick Parker Realty Contact and Directions:
http://patrickparkerrealty.com/contact/

One Warm Coat®:
http://onewarmcoat.org/

Patrick Parker Realty on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/PatrickParkerRE

Patrick Parker Realty on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/PatrickParkerRE

Patrick Parker Realty on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/PatrickParkerRealty1

Patrick Parker Realty Blog:
http://patrickparkerrealty.com/blog/

About Patrick Parker Realty
Patrick Parker Realty, an independent boutique brokerage located in the heart of Bradley Beach is your local market leader. We understand the demands of a changing real estate market and avail ourselves of the latest industry information and tools to ensure excellent results.

Our seasoned Real Estate Agents are committed to providing all of our clients, from first time sellers to veteran real estate investors, quality and friendly service. We walk you through every step of the sale process offering the guidance, feedback, and expertise needed to ensure your complete satisfaction.

Patrick Parker Realty is more than just a brokerage; we are your strategic marketing partner boasting a dedicated marketing department to effectively promote your house via modern channels that yield the quickest, most effective results. We do this by monitoring the latest technologies, using effective communication methods and leveraging our knowledge of all things real estate so our efforts are informed by activities that yield results.

About One Warm Coat®
One Warm Coat® is national non-profit organization that supports and encourages coat drives. It helps individuals, groups, companies and organizations across the country collect coats and deliver them to local agencies who deliver them for free to those in need.

10 Things a Burglar Doesn’t Want You to Know

Successful burglars have lots in common — home owners who unwittingly give invitations to robbery. Here’s how thieves thank you for your generosity.

Leaving boxes by the curb alongside the trash lets burglars know you’ve got new toys inside. You come home to an open front door, a ransacked house, and missing valuables. How did a burglar know you’d be gone? How did they get in?

RELATED: Clever Security Tricks That Will Fool Any Burglar

In these 10 thank-you notes, your friendly neighborhood burglars share advice on how to stop lending them a helping hand:

sony1. Thanks for the ladder!

Call me a social climber if you will, but I did discover a ladder in your back yard. Thank you for leaving it where I could lean it against your home and easily reach a second-story window. I really love it when upper story openings aren’t wired to a home security system!

So, if you want to keep me out, store your ladder in the basement or a locked garage. And call your security company to wire upper-story windows into your alarm system.

Vertically yours,
A rising star

2. Loved your trash

Can’t tell you how much fun I have driving around neighborhoods on trash day (especially after big gift holidays) when the empty boxes on the curb reveal what wonderful new toys you have. Your thoughtfulness made it possible for me to land a new laptop and a flat-screen television in one easy trip to your home!

Next time, break down the boxes and conceal them in the recycling or trash bins.

Happy shopping!
Curbside Cruiser

3. Dear Can’t-Get-Around-to-It

Recently, I noticed you hadn’t trimmed trees and shrubs around your home, so I knew I’d have a wonderful place to hide while I worked to break into your home. I really can’t thank you enough for all the great new things I grabbed.

Next time, trim back bushes and trees near windows and doors. Make sure entry points to your home are easily visible from the street — I much prefer to work in private! While you’re at it, install motion-sensor lighting. I’m scared of bright lights!

Cordially,
The Tree Lover

4. Su casa es mi casa!

I was sincerely relieved to find your back door was a plain wood-panel door. I had no trouble kicking it in (my knees appreciate how easy that was!) Imagine how silly I felt when I discovered that your windows weren’t locked anyway.

You may want to take a cue from your neighbor and install steel-wrapped exterior doors with deadbolts on all your entries. And be sure your windows are locked when you’re away.

All the best,
Buster Door

5. Bad reflection on you.

You’d be surprised how many home owners position a mirror in their entry hall so I can see from a window if the alarm system is armed. (Yours wasn’t, but I’m guessing you know that by now!) Thanks for taking a lot of pressure off of me.

A little free advice: Relocate the mirror so your alarm system isn’t visible if someone else would peer through a window.

Fondly,
Mr. Peeper

6. The telltale grass

Wow, isn’t it amazing how fast the grass grows these days? I swung by now and then and noticed your lawn was uncut, newspapers were piling up on the front steps, and your shades were always closed. To me, that’s an open invitation.

Next time, hire someone you trust to mow regularly, pick up around the doorstep, open and close various window shades, and turn different lights on and off (or put a few on timers). One more thing: Lock any car you leave in the driveway, or I can use your garage door opener to get in quickly.

Best,
Your Trip Advisor

7. Getting carried away

Many thanks for putting your valuables into an easy-to-carry safe that I could carry right out your back door. (Nice jewelry, and thank you for the cash!)

You may want to invest in a wall safe, which I rarely attempt to open. Or, rent a lock box at your bank.

With appreciation,
Mr. Safe and Not-So-Sound

8. Dear BFF

Thanks for alerting a professional acquaintance of mine via your social network that you were away for the week in Puerto Vallarta, having the time of your life. Me? I enjoyed a very relaxing visit to your home with no pressure of being caught.

If only you had known that posting comments and photos of your trip on social networks is fine — but do that after you return so you won’t broadcast your absence!

Sincerely,
Cyber Savvy

9. Tag, you’re it!

Where are you? When you use popular geo-tracking apps, such as FourSquare and Glympse, I might know if you’re not home. Web sites such as www.pleaserobme.com help me keep track of your whereabouts.

If you prefer that I not visit your home, be careful about geo-tagging. But, otherwise, thank you for the loot!

Respectfully,
Just Tagging Along

10. Thanks for the appointment

Thanks for inviting me into your home to view the laptop you wanted to sell. I do apologize for the scare I gave you when I took it (and your purse).

Did you know that some large U.S. cities are averaging one so-called “robbery by appointment” per day? If you want to sell high-ticket items to strangers, I suggest you arrange to meet at the parking lot of your local police station. I definitely won’t show up, and you’ll still have your valuables (and your purse!)

Regards,
A Tough Sell

YOUR TURN

Have you been victim of a break-in? What advice would you give to other homeowners to prevent intruders? Sound off in Comments, on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook or Twitter pages and don’t forget to sign up for the monthly Patrick Parker Realty eNewsletter for more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Clever Security Tricks That Will Fool Any Burglar

A little ingenuity can make your house more secure when you’re home alone or away on vacation.

You don’t have to install a pricey or crazy security system to feel safer in your home. Here are some low- and no-cost ways to keep burglars at bay:

Don’t Sleep Alone   If you’re sleeping solo these days, take your car’s remote control to bed with you. If you hear suspicious noises, push the remote’s “panic” button and let the alarm scare away intruders.

fakeitFake It   Pretend you’re home watching “Downton Abbey” and deter burglars with FakeTV a small gizmo that glows and flashes like the flicker of a television set. FakeTV uses the same energy as a nightlight, and has a built-in light sensor and timer, which turns it on at dusk and off when you wish.  FakeTV is available at Amazon for less than $30.

Slippery When Wet   In the U.K., they slather “anti-climb” paint, which never dries, on downspouts, gutters, and anything they don’t want an intruder to shimmy up.  Anti-climb paint is readily available at retailers… here are some examples of anti-climb paint at Home Depot.

Footsteps In the Snow   Virgin snow is a sure sign that no one’s home. If you’re away after a snowstorm, ask a neighbor’s kid to tromp around your yard, creating footprints that will fool a burglar into thinking you’re around but just haven’t gotten around to shoveling your snow yet.

Parked Car   Again, if you’re out of town, ask a neighbor to occasionally park their car in front of your house, making it look like you’re entertaining visitors. And ask them to remove any fliers that may be wedged into your door or mailbox. Burglars sometimes case a home by planting a flier and checking to see if someone retrieves it.

RELATED: 10 Things Burglars Don’t Want You To Know… And Their Thank You Notes

YOUR TURN

What do you think of these tricks? Do you know any others? Sound off in Comments, on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook or Twitter pages and don’t forget to sign up for the monthlyPatrick Parker Realty eNewsletter for more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.


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