Security System

10 Replies

I recieved a good deal on a rental in a neighborhood that I would grade a C+. Not the best but certainly not the worst. What are your thoughts/opinions on installing a security system for an incentive and also to attract better tenants? The property is pretty much move in ready. I just have to have a couple bedrooms painted so my rehab costs are already below budget. Thanks 

@Aaron Breiding I suppose you could ask yourself the question. Would you move into a less desirable area because of a security system? A security system was never a "make or break" for me, and I would most likely live in C+ without it. But that's me, and I am unfamiliar with your area.

However, my reason for posting... you may want to speak with your insurance rep. You may be entitled to some insurance discounts that may be worth it to get the security system.

@Aaron Breiding I agree with John on this one. That being said...

If you want to complicate things, try marketing the property both ways, but have a higher rent on the one with the security system where you make additional profit on the system (charge more than the cost of the system). Making an extra $50-100/month may be worth it to you.

Marketing it with a security system makes it sound unsafe plus most systems have a monthly fee.  A good thing for you to have during vacancy though. Might consider to have during vacancy and offer to continue if they wish for a certain period.  For someone to whom it is important they would have that incentive but you don't give the impression that you need to have one in this neighborhood.

i don't think I would necessarily need one in the neighborhood. There has been some drug activity in the city just like any other city. I'm just trying to to put the best product out as possible, plus my rehab costs were not as much as I expected. Thanks for the responses everyone.

If it's in a C neighborhood chances are you will make tenants happy with a security system because you will be attracting tenants from C neighborhoods. I have seen systems in A & B neighborhoods so I don't think you'll be scaring anyone away by having one. Not to mention you get a discount on your homeowners for having one installed. Some of them also have alerts for smoke/carbon. Overall, it shows you are serious about their safety.

I use FrontPoint security. They are more expensive than ADT but they are also better in my opinion and burglars aren't used to disarming them compared to ADT and Slomin (which seems to make up the majority of security systems). I will always have systems and motions lights on every side of the house in my rentals as I want to make it clear to my tenants that I care about their safety. 

Originally posted by @Peter T. :

If it's in a C neighborhood chances are you will make tenants happy with a security system because you will be attracting tenants from C neighborhoods. I have seen systems in A & B neighborhoods so I don't think you'll be scaring anyone away by having one. Not to mention you get a discount on your homeowners for having one installed. Some of them also have alerts for smoke/carbon. Overall, it shows you are serious about their safety.

I use FrontPoint security. They are more expensive than ADT but they are also better in my opinion and burglars aren't used to disarming them compared to ADT and Slomin (which seems to make up the majority of security systems). I will always have systems and motions lights on every side of the house in my rentals as I want to make it clear to my tenants that I care about their safety. 

 That's kind of what I was thinking Peter. It shows that I care. I didn't know if it was a common practice or not in rentals. I like the fact that it is just one more level of protection on my investment. Thanks for your input.

Have you seen the SimpliSafe systems?  My contractor put on my house he's working on now.  It's wireless and portable.  All the sensors attach with those 3M command strips so you can take them off or move them.  He spent like $300 on it and $15 a month for monitoring.  Pitch it as an option, if they don't want it or want to discontinue, you can move it to another rental you have or a rehab.  IMHO, that says I don't think you need it but I have it if you are concerned, and if you become more comfortable I can take it out with no hassles. 

A single parent may like the security alarm.   It could be a nuance if you have a lot of false alarms calls.  I would add a lease clause for extra security alarm fees to the lease to be paid by the tenant when they go over the contract allotment. I would look at the numbers and maybe even give them a free one because of the extra profit coming.  

Side note: I have an alarm system on my new house as it came with the house  when i bought it but I don't have any service for it.  They system will beep when the doors open if the control panel has power otherwise its useless.  I believe its an ADT system.  It has become a good way to monitor 3 kids in the house.

I have worked in the security industry for about 10 years now.  The calls we get are either proactive (like yourself) or reactive (an event has already occurred).  The bottom line is that many insurance companies provide discounts on your homeowner's insurance for having a monitored alarm. Even if you don't want it for the burglary portion, I would highly recommend that you protect your investment by having fire monitoring (most companies don't provide stand alone fire, you have to have it with burglary protection). So, even if your tenant didn't set the burglary portion of the alarm, the fire detectors should work to call for help (as long as you are paying for monitoring).  

A point about SimpliSafe. I understand the appeal that it is a very frugal option and doesn't bind you to a contract. However, just from reading their product lines on their website I can safely say that I would be able to disable that system in less than a minute (and I'm not  a  burglar). So what then would you actually be paying for? Even if you opt to not go with a national chain like ADT, Comcast or AT&T and opt for a local company, I wouldn't select SimpliSafe (or Vivent for that matter, but thats a whole other post).

As for tenants thinking that the house is unsafe and needs an alarm, thats not the perception. An alarm doesn't make people think a house is unsafe, the location does. The alarm helps people to feel like the home is protected, and the statistics back that up. So my recommendation is to have the alarm installed because it protects your investment. Offer to allow the tenant to use it and give them a code if they include monitoring in their rent. If they decline, then they don't get an alarm code to turn it on/off for daily use, but  since the alarm is being monitored the tenant could at least push the panic buttons if they need help and the fire monitoring would be working.

I hope that helps you,

Hey Aaron! Did you ever get your security needs sorted out?

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