Protect yourself from FOGA (Fear of Going Away) by outfitting your homes and rental properties with smart devices.

FOMO Being Overshadowed by FOGA

Now that people are traveling again and demand for short-term rentals is through the roof, Fear of Going Away (FOGA) is taking the spotlight from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

Rather than having to be constantly vigilant in protecting your home and rental properties from gigantic water bills caused by leaking faucets, shut down water heaters, frozen pipes and/or “guests” not returning house keys, ease your own FOGA by installing some smart-home gear.  (You might choose to send along this list to your clients as well.)

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Quick Fixes to Minimize Appearance that No One Is Home

  1. Stop mail or ask someone to pick it up.
  2. Ask/hire someone to pull out and collect garbage cans on schedule.
  3. Get a smart plug/switch (or three-pack) to turn lights/lamps and televisions on and off at various times. Smart bulbs such as Philips Hue or Wyze Bulb Color are easier to program.
  4. Install a smoke alarm system (Nest Protect) that instantly notifies you on your phone when either smoke or carbon monoxide is detected.

Smart Options on a Budget

  1. Get an outdoor camera (eg. Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera or a Nest Cam) and mount it in a conspicuous place outside the door. Outdoor cameras can help you check on the property if/when persistent rains cause flooding.  Forget about mounting dummy cameras and mount a real one.  What you don’t need while you’re traveling or simply unavailable is a false sense of security.
  2. Security experts recommend getting a motion-sensor-activated lighting system around the outside of the house.
  3. Get a low-cost motion-sensing camera inside the property that will let you know if/when a repair person, house sitter, dog walker, and/or a potential burglar is inside the house. Some of these cameras let you see live video and communicate walkie-talkie style.

The Works

  1. Consider getting a smart lock system (eg. Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro) that eliminates the need to copy, keep track of and collect keys from rental guests. Some of these systems notify you via phone when people come and go from the house.  You can disable access when you get home without having to collect keys and set it to auto-lock when someone forgets to do it.  These smart lock systems are low-profile and can be attractive, unlike keypad locks.
  2. A doorbell camera, (eg. Google Nest Doorbell) pings your phone when someone is at the door. A doorbell camera does double-duty as a security camera as it records video 24/7 and also sends alerts to your phone when it sees motion.
  3. A smart thermostat, (eg. Ecobee’s SmartThermostat with Voice Controls) optimizes the temperature in the house in order to avoid frozen pipes or scorched plants.
  4. A smart water monitor, such as Phyn Plus, attaches to your home’s main water supply. If there’s a small or catastrophically large water leak, it sends you a message  via phone and can automatically shut off the water in case the leak is huge.  This smart water monitor system is the costliest and requires installation by a plumber but insurance companies love these devices and often provide its clients with discounts equal to the cost of the whole thing.  The Insurance Institute reports that 98% of annual claims are from property damage and that 1 in 50 homes suffers from water damage.

DIY Alternatives

Systems such as SimpliSafe, Abode, Ring and Wyze let you mix and match compatible security sensors without an ongoing service contract.  These and other systems charge modest fees when you go away and are definitely worth those fees.

Know that Tim and Julie Harris Real Estate only mentions but  does not endorse any of the above products.

For further information about any and all products mentioned above and many more products not mentioned, check our Wirecutter’s Guide to Security Systems.

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Thanks to Wirecutter.



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