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Feel Safe at Home with These Security Tips

by The Hat Team

Let’s face it - it can be a scary world.  Your home should be a safe-haven for you and your family.  While safety can never be guaranteed, there are steps you can take to make your home feel secure.  Here are some tips for making your home as safe and secure as possible:

  • Light it up!  While there is no reason to fear darkness itself, it is true that when bad things happen to people, they often happen under the cover of darkness.  So, brightening up your surroundings can help discourage people from lurking around your home.  Install energy-efficient bulbs in your outdoor lights and keep them on when it’s dark, or have motion sensors so that lights come on when there is movement near or around your property.  At night, keep some lights on inside so your house doesn’t appear completely dark.
  • Close window coverings when it gets dark.  You may not be able to see what’s going on outside in the dark, but people outside can clearly see in your house if your windows are exposed.
  • Get to know your neighbors. You certainly won’t feel safe if you are surrounded by strangers!  Knowing your neighbors will provide you with the security of having someone to call on if you are feeling unsafe. 15 Ways to Get to Know Your Neighbors
  • Keep emergency numbers handy.  Many people use mobile phones exclusively these days, so it’s a good idea to create contacts for emergency numbers so all you must do is touch a screen or push a button to call for help.  If you haven’t gotten rid of your landline yet, you may want to consider keeping it for safety reasons.  With a landline call, a 911 operator will receive your location immediately, whereas it might take a bit longer to pinpoint your location with a cell phone.
  • Eliminate hiding spots.  Make sure your shrubs are trimmed and well-spaced so that they don’t provide hiding spots for burglars.
  • Don’t hide a key outside.  I’ve locked myself out enough times to know that it is a good idea to have a spare key somewhere, but people looking to invade your home will find it no matter how well you think you have hidden it.  Instead, leave a spare key with a trusted neighbor.
  • Make sure you have quality locks.  The lock is the weakest part on a door.  You will want a grade 1 or grade 2 dead-bolt lock that penetrates the door frame.  It’s important to have a strike plate that is made of solid metal or brass.  The 9 Best Door Locks of 2019
  • Use signage to scare strangers away.  Whether or not you have a security system (or a big watch dog) you can place signs in your yard or by your doors that say you do.  You can also have a no soliciting sign to discourage salespeople (or someone pretending to be a sales person) from knocking on your door.
  • Invest in a security system.  There are many options for home security systems. Do some research and choose the one that works best for your family.  Many security companies will come out and inspect your home to give you an estimate of what you will need and how much it will cost. Nobody wants an added household expense, but feeling of being safe in your home is priceless!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of Professionals assist you with all your real estate needs! Call them today at 334-834-1500!

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4 Tips to Prepare Your Home For Summer Vacation

by The Hat Team

Summer has arrived!  Many families plan for their summer vacation months in advance but did you know that you need to prepare your home for your vacation as well?  Below are a few tips on what you should do to prepare your home for your summer vacation.   

  • summer vacationMow your grass before you leave for your vacation.  I would suggest that you set the mower on the shortest cut you can get so that you don’t have to worry about it growing up while you are gone.  If you are going to be gone for an extended period of time you may want to arrange to have a family member mow your yard at least once while you are gone.  Mowing your yard before vacation makes it look like you are still at home and therefore may keep away potential intruders. 

  • Another thing you should do before you leave on vacation this coming summer is to contact the post office and have your mail canceled while you are gone.  You can pick your mail up at the post office once you arrive back home and start your service back up.  This may sound like a huge ordeal but it really is an easy way to keep things neat and tidy while you are away from home.  This simple act will also deter intruders.
  • If you don’t want your house to stand out as if no one is home, you may need to install a flood light that is activated by motion outside of your home.  This way if someone walks up to your house that is not suppose to be there the neighbors will be able to see them and can report anything out of the ordinary.  Another thing you can do with lights is to set a few inside lights on a timer so that it looks like you are home.
  • Some water heaters have a VAC mode otherwise known as a vacation mode. If you have this setting on your water heater it’s a good idea to use it while you are away.  Doing this is not only a good way to save on your bill but it is also a good way to avoid any type of flooding that may occur while you are gone.  The last thing you want to come home to is a flooded house due to a broken or burst pipe.

Hopefully these tips will get you started in the right direction before you set off on your summer vacation and you’ll be able to relax and have fun without worrying about your house! 

Information provided by Montgomery AL Realtors Sandra Nickel Hat Team.

Ways To Protect Your Montgomery AL Home

by The Hat Team

Because more and more Montgomery AL homes are being burglarized, especially in the recent quest for gold items, more and more homeowners are taking steps to protect their homes and their families.  According to the Insurance Information Institute, intruders will generally bypass your residence if they would be forced to work in the light, have to take more than four or five minutes to break in, or if noise will be a factor. 

montgomery al homeAlthough 80% of homeowners with burglar alarms rated them rated them as effective, the financial cost for this peace of mind is not inexpensive.  Consumer Reports magazine says the owner of a Montgomery AL home should expect to pay $1-$2 per square foot and at least $25 monthly for monitoring.  Start-up expenses also need to be investigated.  Before purchasing or leasing any system or monitoring service, make sure that you get multiple quotes, know the type that is best for your house, and check the contract for specifics concerning early cancellation fees and company liability limits.  You can also read online reviews and ask for references for present and past owners. offers tips on assessing types of systems, choosing what is best for your home, and comparing the prices of alarm companies.

The most effective security system is actually the least expensive--the monitored burglar alarm. The following list summarizes some options along with the pros and cons of each.

  • Wireless home security system: inexpensive, runs on batteries and will alert you to fire and gas emergencies as well as burglaries. Needs to be monitored to keep the batteries charged; if it does not call authorities, it may not be effective against burglary in rural areas.
  • Home burglar alarm system: makes a lot of noise letting neighbors know to call authorities. Drawback: if neighbors are at work at the same time you are, there may be no one there to call for you. Also, burglars know how to disarm these and go on about their behavior.
  • Home security camera: lets you see what is going on at your Montgomery AL home from work as long as you have access to a computer. Drawback: the system can be expensive, and if you are supposed to be working, you may not have the time to pay attention to your home.
  • Motion Detector (Lights) Alarm with Telephone dialer: this alarm connects to a telephone socket and will automatically dial a preset number if motion is detected within 20 feet. It will also set off a 125 decibel siren, although you can select the silent alarm option. The only drawback to this one is that you have to remember to set the alarm when you leave the house. This is the cheapest and most effective option, especially when combined with door and window contact sensors.
  • Driveway alert: uses a weather-proof, infrared motion detector that sends a signal to a base unit located inside the house. The base unit then sets off an alarm. Drawback: A smart crook probably won’t come down the driveway.
  • Door and window contact magnets: sensors featuring a magnetic seal that detects movement if a door or window is disturbed. Not particularly effective by themselves, but very effective when installed as part of a monitored system.

Search all Montgomery AL Real Estate And Homes For Sale.

Sandra Nickel and the Hat Team have distinguished themselves as leaders in the Montgomery AL real estate market. Sandra assists buyers looking for Montgomery real estate for sale and aggressively markets Montgomery AL homes for sale. Sandra is also an expert in helping families avoid foreclosure through short sales and is committed to helping families in financial hardship find options. For more information you can visit

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