Beef up security to attract buyers and tenants

Private Property South Africa
Sarah-Jane Meyer

In most areas, security is a top priority for home buyers as well as tenants, so it makes sense for sellers and landlords to upgrade these features to give their properties the edge in the market.

The security measures prospective buyers and tenants tend to be most interested in are alarms, beams, security gates, electric fencing and secure parking. However, security experts advise installing a layered security system to prevent criminals from gaining access to a property. This could include perimeter electric fencing, security beams in the garden, passive sensors on exterior doors and windows, security doors on sliding doors and burglar bars on windows.

More people now also look for technological safety systems such as CCTV cameras, remote surveillance, and other perimeter security systems such as infrared sensors to beef up security. Also sought after are home automation systems that can enable you to monitor your property remotely and respond to alerts in case of an emergency.

The system you fit:

  • Should be able to integrate with any upgrades or expansions that may be installed in future.
  • Must always be in good working order and must be regularly serviced. Test the system regularly to ensure it is working and that alarm and panic signals are transmitted properly to monitoring centres.

Look at the layout of your property to identify any outside risks, such as overgrown hedges that could offer hiding places for criminals. Make sure these are removed or suitably trimmed before the property is viewed by prospective buyers or tenants.

Household content insurance is important for buyers and tenants alike, so sellers and landlords should look at their properties with this in mind. When it comes to insurance, security gates and burglar bars are essential to prevent or limit smaller losses, according to Bertus Visser of PSG Insure.

“Burglar alarms can deter criminals from gaining access and limit losses, especially when they are linked to an armed response service. Electric fences are valuable, but burglar bars and security gates are definitely considered to be the most important security features for insurance cover. “In most areas, burglar bars on all opening windows are the minimum requirement, as well as security gates on all opening external doors. Some suburbs may also require a monitored alarm for insurance cover,” says Visser.

Basic security is a requirement for insurers to accept risk, so there is no guarantee that security features will lead to discounts on premiums. One factor that could help lower premiums is whether your car is locked in a garage or behind security gates at home, rather than on the street. Secure vehicle parking facilities are appealing to both buyers and tenants, so if your property doesn’t already offer these a garage or lock-up carport could be a worthwhile addition.

Visser says for properties in security estates or apartment buildings, some factors that could influence premiums would be high walls, 24-hour security guards and certain access measures such as visitors signing in, as well as electric fencing and other features that could increase security. When buying any property – whether to live in rent out – it’s important to take into account how secure the area is. Several factors contribute to the security of a neighbourhood, such as good neighbourliness and an active neighbourhood watch.

Many neighbourhood watches are installing camera networks as part of the security systems they put in place. The advantages of camera systems include the ability to provide views of areas where people cannot be present all the time, and to supply crucial evidence that could be used in apprehension of criminals.

CCTV systems and networks in a neighbourhood allow security service providers and law enforcement agencies to respond faster when crimes take place, and to deploy their limited manpower and other physical resources more effectively.

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