How to Choose a Home Security System

laurieLast year, we moved from a home in suburbia to a small hobby farm in the country.  Things are SO different out here in the country.  I don’t think we could’ve found a more opposite move if we’d tried.  Gone are the worries of appearances and keeping up with the Joneses.  In the country, life is much more laid back.  People stop over on a whim, and they don’t care if we’re in sweatpants and t-shirts.  No more worries about weeds in the yard or having noisy neighbors.

But the one thing that hasn’t changed is the need for security.  In the ‘burbs, we had an “unmonitored” security system.  If someone attempted a break-in at our old house, a loud alarm would sound, notifying us (and/or the neighbors if we weren’t home) that something was wrong.  There was no notification to the police department; that would be left up to whoever took the time to make the call.  However, living in such a densely populated area, we had the security of knowing there were people nearby to make that call to police if they suspected trouble. 

Out here in the country, things are different.  Neighbors aren’t as close by, and it’s not always a given that they would hear the alarm bell from an unmonitored system, so we chose to go with a monitored system.  When we set our current alarm, and someone attempts a break-in, the monitoring company is notified immediately so that they can contact law enforcement.  This assures that whether or not we’re home, police help is on the way to assist us with any trouble.  It’s a comfort to us knowing that we’ve got that monitoring company watching our backs, since neighbors aren’t as close anymore.

So, what should you look for before getting a home security system?  Here are some tips:

1. Decide which type of system is right for you.  Are you comfortable with an unmonitored system, or is a monitored system better for you and your family?  Many factors will influence what type of system is best for you: cost, the service provided, ease of operation, etc.  For instance, if you’re a family in which the husband travels overnight often, a monitored service might be best.  This way, you can make sure your wife and kids always have someone close by to help in the event of a break-in.

However, if you are in a relatively safe, densely populated area, then an unmonitored system might do the job just fine.

2. How much can you afford?  Cost is another factor that’s important in determining what type of home security system is best for your family.  Home security systems come with many, many options.  You can choose with video surveillance or without, you can add communication devices, keypads, and fire/carbon monoxide alarms as well.  Monitored systems come with a monthly maintenance cost, whereas an unmonitored system is a one-time out-of-pocket cost.  Systems range in price from tens of dollars (I found a “dummy” security camera on Amazon for $8.58) to thousands of dollars.  It’s crucial when deciding on a home security system that you first determine what you can afford, so that you don’t choose a system that will take more from your bank account than you can comfortably handle.

3.  Ease of operation.  Home security systems range from the simple, to the highly complex, to operate.  Which is best for you?  If you’re not a “techy” person, you might be better off going with something basic.  There’s no use in having a security system that you have no idea how to operate, and that is so complex that you’ll never be able to learn.  Some homeowners might be perfectly comfortable owning and operating a complex system, while for others, the less they have to do, the better.

Home security systems go a long way in providing protection and peace of mind for residents of all types of homes.  Choose the security system that best fits your needs, wants and budget today.

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