Whether you just sold your home, or are just going on vacation, protecting your home when you are not there is a top priority. A vacant house has an increased risk of burglary and all kinds of terrible things can happen when you leave your house empty and uninhabited. Damage to your empty house is the last thing you need to deal with while vacationing or moving.

Fortunately, keeping your vacant home protect is relatively simple. Follow these easy steps and keep the worries at bay!

1. Invest in an alarm system

Not only will an alarm system save you money on your insurance policy, but you can breathe easy knowing you’ll be protected whenever you’re away. Continuous monitoring services can also include fire alarms, so not only do you not have to stress about theft or returning home to a pile of burnt sticks. Alert the alarm company before you leave, along with a list of approved people who can enter, so they can keep an extra eye on your home.

2. Look into programmable thermostats

The ability to regulate your home temperature when you’re away can keep your interior pipes from bursting in the winter and from the wood in the house from swelling in the summer. Many thermostats now come with built-in WiFi and allow you to program them from your phone, so you can always be sure the home is the right temperature, no matter where you are.

3. Use exterior lighting and camera’s

Exterior lights on timers are an excellent intruder deterrent. Outfit your detached garages and sheds as well. Keeping these lights on a timer gives the illusion of someone being home and increases visibility around the house, risking exposure for any potential thefts. Installing exterior video cameras also give an added security boost.

4. Have a local contact

Having a local contact regularly check up on your house not only adds to the illusion someone is there, but it also gives you a first look into any potentially damaging problems. A family friend or neighbor can let you know immediately if a pipe has burst and is flooding the downstairs, or if a window has been broken. If you don’t know anyone local, there are companies who will perform these checks for you.

5. Prepare your home

Easy things like replacing worn locks and closing blinds can do wonders for protecting your home while you are away. You’ll want to ensure strong locks are used on all exterior doors to prevent an easy break-in. Position your blinds so natural light can be let in, giving the appearance of light in the house to deter intruders, but to also keep prying eyes out.