Check Security When you Look for that Dream Home

Private Property South Africa
Lindy Barry

Beefing up poor security measures after you move into your new dream home can be an expensive exercise.

By doing a thorough check of the home’s security before signing the offer to purchase you will at least know what you are in for and, at best, be able to use the information to negotiate the purchase price.

This inspection should not be seen by sellers as yet another attempt by buyers to squeeze them on price.

Security is a serious concern in South Africa. The crimes that affect us most personally, house robbery, carjacking and business robbery, have consistently increased for the last three years. Home and commercial property owners should all be taking responsibility for lessening their chances of becoming victims.

The state of the existing security will depend on its age and whether or not it has been looked after properly. Things to look out for include signs of wear and tear or weathering; old-style burglar guards screwed into rotting wooden frames; rusting screws in burglar guards; security gates that don’t slide open and closed easily; unsecured external doors; welded units that have loosened over the years; windows without any form of protection.

Ask the seller to show you how the burglar alarm works, if there is one, and when it was last checked by the service provider. Enquire about a neighbourhood watch group and how active it is. Take a good look at the perimeter security, particularly hiding places for car hijackers. Find out if they have dismissed any domestic workers or gardeners and whether or not they had access to the home’s security.

Keys are a huge problem when buyers move into a new home. Often the seller is unable to give them the full set of original keys and ex-employees may have left without returning their keys. This leaves the new owners vulnerable as they don’t know who has access to the home. It may be necessary to change all the door and security gate locks, which can be expensive but definitely worth it for peace of mind.

Tip for homeowners installing new security barriers:

Ask the supplier for a randomly allocated key for the security door used most by employees and the family, so only one lock has to be replaced if the key is lost or stolen. The rest of the sliding security units can be keyed alike and these keys kept in a safe place.

offers an online security questionnaire to assess your current situation and see what needs to be done. Trellidor representatives are often called in by savvy house buyers to check the condition of the burglar guards and security doors of the home they’d like to buy.

They will assess the condition of the security and give you a report, including the cost of replacing units in poor condition.

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