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Moving tips: New home safety

Be sure to change the locks on your new home right away when you move in.

Be sure to change the locks on your new home right away when you move in.

Moving into a new home is a process and there are a number of different things to consider. Not only will you have to make sure you find the right location, the right mortgage and the right moving company, you'll also need to take the right precautions to make sure you and your family will be safe in your new house.

When you're picking out a home, take some time to walk around the neighborhood to get a sense of your surroundings. Take a close look at your neighbors' houses to see if there are signs for home security systems or neighborhood watch programs. In some areas, the neighborhood watch will issue posters for homeowners to hang in their windows, alerting any would-be criminals that someone may be watching, ready to call the authorities if something suspicious happens.

After you've moved into your new home, change the locks right away. Even though the old owners may be gone, you can never be sure who might still have keys to the doors. Also, immediately change the code on any burglar alarms that come with the house, and let the security company know of the change in ownership. If you decide to give copies of your home keys to friends or neighbors, keep a list of who has them.

You may also want to consider investing in some extra security around the perimeter of the house. Motion-sensing lights are a good deterrent against crime. Depending on how long ago the previous owners moved out, shrubs and trees near windows may have had time to grow. These could provide cover for a burglar, so be sure to trim them as soon as you get a chance. The National Crime Prevention Council also recommends making sure your house number is clearly visible and lit at night. This way, police can quickly and easily find your house in case of an emergency.

Inside the home, make sure all the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are fully functional. You might have to replace some batteries, or even entire units, so be sure to include this cost in your moving budget. Make sure all the windows have working locks, and that they are kept secure, even when you're home. Similarly, keep all your exterior doors locked at all times, and don't overlook the door to an attached garage.