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I'm toying with buying a house in a dodgy (i.e. cheap area). Looking around Burley, seemed like a significant number had been broken into, and  maybe 5% of the houses were boarded up. Presumably the unoccupied rate is even higher.

 

Are there any useful measures one can take in such an area, especially if leaving the house unoccupied for any time. e.g. steel doors and shutters. I assume most of the burglaries are local amateurs, homeless, druggies, etc, as there wouldn't be any valuable possessions in most. EA did say that they can strip the house of everything, including boilers etc. Even saw one that the wall had been broken through to get access (an internal wall in a porch, not an external wall).

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It's a tricky one, especially if you are talking about a back to back terrace. Your front door and downstairs window are going to be the only way out if there's a fire. The idea of blocking these with metal bars gives me the shits, but plenty of houses in Burley have them.

 

My approach would be to make the house look cared-for and lived-in. Net curtains, fresh paint on the ledges. Make sure downstairs door and window are sturdy. Maybe an alarm or CCTV you can monitor from your phone?

 

Burley only looks cheap compared to the ridiculous prices in other areas. Student houses are starting to sit empty as students realise that they'd rather have an en-suite loo and ethernet in one of the newly built blocks. I expect Burley to get cheaper still, but you know that because you're here. Good luck whatever you decide.

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Being retired, we go away for months at a time.

My security consists of five IP cameras dotted around the house (£25 each on ebay) that I check once or twice a day when we are away. It won't stop a break in, but it will enable me to see if there is a problem so that I can ask a relative, or the police, to investigate. The cameras also detect motion and can be set up to take a still picture and email it to me. I also have WiFi controlled lights that I can switch on and off remotely and a WiFi hall thermostat to monitor and control the temperature remotely.

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