By Bruce Cathcart

My wife and I just went through the process of updating our home security system and I was amazed at the new technology and how relatively inexpensive and easy it was to get a “basic” new system installed.  I selfishly recommend that everyone who can afford the monthly maintenance on a new system do this as statistics show that neighborhoods with a higher number of security systems have a lower number of break-ins.  As I went through this process the most interesting thing I learned was what was most important for me to try and protect.  Of course none of the security companies I interviewed even asked me this question; they just knew that their systems would provide the best available means to protect EVERYTHING including my health and safety, my home and all the stuff in it.  But let’s be honest here, a basic system is going to get you that 15% to 20% discount on your homeowner’s insurance and deter some burglars while minimizing your loss from those it does not deter.  It has been proven that “smash and grab thieves” spend much less time in a home where the security alarm has been triggered and the sirens have gone off.  The same is true of intruders who break into your home with the intent of doing you and your family bodily harm.  So to further “minimize” your losses you will still need to take some extra measures to protect yourself and your family from intruders as well as the “stuff” that is most important to you that could have value to burglars.

Before I share some more thoughts on those extra measures, let’s take a quick look at the real estate sales activity for the Coachella Valley for the month of July.  At the end of June we were just starting to catch up with last year’s sales volume and had higher pendings than the year before.  Would a much improved July finally catch our numbers up to last year’s figures?  Here’s what happened.

According to the Desert Area MLS (as of 08/01/15) there were 718 pendings of residential properties here in the Coachella Valley in July.  There were 841 pendings in the previous month (June) which means sales activity is slowing down following our normal seasonal sales pattern, but again, not as drastically as last year.  Looking at the pendings from July of last year (2014) there were only 667 pendings.  So this is another year over year increase in pendings activity for 2015 and continued improvement in sales activity over last year.   In June there were 809 solds and in July we had only 689 solds.   Compared to last year in July, we sold 748 homes.   This number is extremely disappointing as it once again puts us significantly behind last year’s numbers for total sales volume.  This may only be temporary because in June we had 841 pendings (openings) and only 689 solds (closings) in July so we may still see higher closings in August to make up the difference.  I certainly hope so as we were just catching up to last year’s number of solds before this disappointing sale data indicated that our downward trend in sales volume is continuing through most of 2015.

Our inventory of homes for sale dropped significantly AGAIN this month with 4,030 homes available as of July 1, 2015 compared to only 3,657 as of August 1, 2015.   That’s another huge drop in inventory in just one month and that has narrowed the gap to only 297 MORE homes on the market today when compared to the same time last year. One way or another, this means properties are coming off the market and new listings are not coming on the market to replace them.  This could lead to higher prices if the demand for homes remains constant, but so far we are not seeing that in the market place. We will continue to watch this closely over the next few months.

So what are some additional layers of security that you can add to protect your life, home and property from intruders?  Starting from the outside and working in I suggest you post security signs and decals in obvious places.  Of course I recommend having a basic security system in place to back those stickers up!  I also recommend security cameras that have become super cheap and can record events and can be remote viewed via your phone or computing device.  Security gates and doors plus additional door security hardware, quality knobs and deadbolts come next.  One or two hairy, four legged critters, preferably dogs that at least bark at strangers and strange noises are extremely good for early warnings.  A lock on your bedroom door can provide a “safer” room and buy you a little more time if you are home when an incident occurs; and finally, a well-hidden (undetectable) safe (floor or wall) for your most precious valuables.  Hopefully this article will inspire you to consider getting some bids for a new home security system and get you thinking about how you can add some different layers of security to protect yourself, your home and your valuables.  In the end what I learned was that doing what was necessary for my own peace of mind was really the most important thing to me when considering home security measures.

Join me each month this year as we keep a close eye on our Coachella Valley real estate market.  If you have a real estate question or concerns please email me at the address below.

Bruce Cathcart is the Broker/Co-Owner of La Quinta Palms Realty, “Your Friendly Professionals” and can be reached by email at laquintapalms@dc.rr.com or visit his website at www.laquintapalmsrealty.com.

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