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A good home security inspection will look at your property as a whole and identify any problematic areas where your home is either unprotected or under protected. Your windows and doors will, of course, fall under some of the heaviest scrutiny, as these are highly visible entryways for would be burglars, but these aren't the only areas that will be focused on. Your garage, landscaping, trees, lighting, and even the numbers on your house will all be examined. Often, it is these areas that present problems and need to be altered. Secure Homes, Not Impregnable FortressesWhile home security inspections are most likely going to suggest a few improvements to your existing property, they are not meant to make your home into Fort Knox!In fact, you may be surprised at how secure your home can be with only a few unobtrusive alterations. Of course, if you want your home to be a fortress, you can certainly find a security company to fulfill your wishes.

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Most monitoring services will double verify: If you don’t answer, the service will call a second number. If the service receives confirmation from you that there was a break in, or if it receives no response, it calls 911. A self monitored system notifies only you, not the authorities, usually via text or push message to your phone. That means you need to be on call at work and at play, watching for notifications. You’ll also be the one calling police and fire departments if something is triggered. Whether you need 24/7 professional monitoring depends on how much you trust yourself or your family, friends, and neighbors to respond to text messages and alarms, how paranoid you are, and perhaps how much you value your stuff. We lived with each system for four weeks, arming, disarming, and spying on each system both from inside and outside the home. We also triggered each system a minimum of five times to gauge reaction times for the monitoring company. However, keep in mind that how fast the monitoring company calls you has absolutely nothing to do with the speed at which your local authorities will respond to the alarm—if they respond at all. In Los Angeles, for instance, all alarm calls must be verified, either by an eyewitness or through video or audio from a surveillance camera or microphone. Salt Lake City has a similar ordinance.

 

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So it’s the little things that align best with your unique needs that will likely tip the favor of one home alarm company over another. The one distinct advantage Frontpoint has at this level is the two wireless light controls, as well as the option to upgrade your thermostat so you can control it from anywhere. Protect America has no equipment costs at this level, so as far as a bang for your buck, it leads the pack here. Although all of these options are attractive, Protect America wins this round. This tier features the high end offerings from each provider. Homeowners who are shopping at this price range are looking for home automation and video monitoring, something that all the providers, except Vivint, offer at this level. In order to get these features with Vivint, you will have to seek out their Smart Control package $60. 99/month. ADT Pulse is highly touted and advertised, but it is frustrating that we are unable to secure equipment pricing ADT won’t tell us, maybe because pricing varies by region. It’s also worth noting that none of the home automation or video features are included in the sign up price of the Pulse package. Frontpoint has everything you could ask for when it comes to home automation, but there is a $200 initial equipment fee.