Are you planning to move into your first home soon? Before making the leap from renting to owning, take a minute to consider how you might be vulnerable to theft in the beginning of your journey toward home-ownership. The more prepared you are from the start, the less likely you are to run into trouble along the way.

Install Security Before Moving In

If the home you’re buying doesn’t already have a security system, you’ll be more at risk of having your belongings stolen in the process of moving. There are plenty of ways you could become the victim of theft. It could be movers who spot something they like or a burglar who’s been scoping out the house for sale in wait of its new occupants. Having all of your possessions carried up your new driveway on display of the whole neighborhood is a great way for a potential burglar to take inventory of your more expensive assets. A flat screen TV, a game console, or a safe could be enough to encourage a break-in.

This is why it’s important to have security installed in your new home before you move in. It will keep movers accountable and keep your home from looking like a target. Visible security might be the deterrent you need to keep burglars at bay. Get a camera, alarm, or floodlights put in where they’ll cover main entries or easy spots to break in. This works to keep you, and anything that arrives at your house before you, safe. If a break-in still occurs, a camera will provide video evidence.

Integrate Yourself into Your New Environment

Being new to the neighborhood has its own risks. If your new house has been vacant for a while, your new neighbors might not find it alarming to see a stranger entering or exiting through a picked or unlocked door. If you’ve previously been living in an apartment, you may also be unaccustomed to a lack of security at the ground level or from the numerous people you share a wall with. Burglars are less likely to break into an apartment when there are so many eyes and ears nearby. A house is a different story.

So how do you keep yourself safe from theft? Once you’ve moved in, Introduce yourself to your new neighbors. This will give them a chance to become familiar with who should and shouldn’t be going in and out of your house. That raises the odds of them noticing someone who doesn’t belong.

Next, make yourself familiar with your new environment. Check all the windows and doors in the house and ensure they’re locked when not in use. A strip or rod in the track of ground floor windows will keep them from opening far enough for someone to climb through. Secondary locks, like deadbolts, are great for external doors as the more time it takes to enter the house, the less likely a potential intruder is to attempt it. It is also worth the resources to replace the locks if you’re moving into a previously owned house.