Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate



Posted by Thomas Murphy on 9/4/2016

There are certain home disasters most of us would prefer not to think about. A house fire, a flood, or even a break-in are all some of a homeowner's worst fears. But being prepared for the worst is always the best choice in the long run. One of the most important things people lose in home disasters are their vital documents. If your documents are lost in a fire it will take a lot of time and money to replace them all. There are two main ways to insure the security of your documents: physically and electronically. However, neither method is 100% secured. Just as some safes can be broken, so can some electronic storage systems. In this article, we'll cover the documents you should secure and the latest and best ways to secure them.

What to secure

There are few things that are irreplaceable. Since most agencies you'll deal with in your life have your information backed up on their computer systems you probably can rest assured that your information is safe there. But for your own convenience and wallet, it's a good idea to secure the following documents and files:
  • Social security cards
  • Passports
  • Birth certificates
  • Insurance papers
  • Copies of wills
  • Legal papers
  • Vehicle titles
  • Hard drive with family photos, home movies
  • Medical information (doctors, prescriptions, etc.)

Buying a safe

Even if you tend to back up all of your documents in a secure place online, it's still a good idea to own a safe. Servers can crash and files can be hacked. Plus there are certain items that you can't back up online. Spare keys to your home, vehicles, and safety deposit boxes are all important items for your safe that won't take up much room. Similarly, family jewelry or heirlooms are also priceless additions that should fit nicely. When buying a home safe there are a few things to consider. Safes can range from under a hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars depending on factors like their size and security capabilities. You should look for a safe within your budget that is both fire and water resistant, but is also a practical size. If you're only protecting some documents and keys, you won't need a huge safe that will be difficult to move if need be. A benefit of a large, heavy safe is that it becomes difficult to steal from your home to break open elsewhere.

Protecting your data digitally

There are two ways of digitally security your items. One option is to use a flash drive and then keep that flash drive in a safe place (why not in the new safe you just purchased?). The benefit of a flash drive is that they are small and can hold huge amounts of data--multiple years of tax papers, for example. For an added layer of security on your flash drive, buy one with encryption capability. What's encryption?  Encryption is a method of securing data by making the information unreadable to those without the key. There are several types of encryption and many ways of encrypting your data online. Another, simpler option for securing your data online is to use cloud storage. Google Drive, iCloud, and Dropbox are all common cloud storage systems that incorporate encryption. However, not all cloud storage systems are created equally. Some are better for security, others are designed to be convenient and user-friendly. Whichever storage service you decide to use, it's important to be smart with your passwords. Make them complex, unique, and change them frequently to ensure the safety of your data.  





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 5/15/2016

If you are a new homeowner and haven't changed your locks yet, then you should strongly consider doing so as soon as possible.  You  have no way of knowing who holds keys to your new home.  Thankfully, there are really cheap ways to go about accomplishing this.  Hiring a locksmith to come into your home and change the locks can be expensive, but is an option if you are pressed for time.  However, you can take your locks to a local locksmith shop and have them changed for a fraction of the price. If you have different keys for different doors, you can use this as an opportunity to make all of your locks match.  Additionally, you can choose to purchase knobs and deadbolts that suit your decorative flair a little more.  Sets can be ordered online, or through your local hardware store.  Styles like egg-shaped bronze, handle pulls, oil-rubbed bronze, and riverwind doorknobs can add a touch of personality to what can ordinarily be a home fixture easily looked past. After refitting your home with new locks, be sure to pay attention to the placement of your new keys.  Wait until you get to know your neighbors a little better before you leave a spare key with them.  Until you become a part of the neighborhood, keep a spare key handy, but hidden.  Hideaway rocks, potted plants, and magnets can all be employed as a good hiding place, provided they aren't too conspicuous-looking.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Thomas Murphy on 4/10/2016

The Security of the home is a point of paramount significance to all homeowners.  Burglary is one of the most common crimes committed in the United States. It is estimated that every 15 seconds, someone falls victim to this felony. Knowing that a criminal has violated their personal living space,  homeowners can become fearful and feel insecure in their own homes.  Worrying about whether or not your home is safe can affect the whole family's feeling of security.  Together, the family can make some simple changes that may help deter a felon from entering their home. Helpful hints to secure your home against burglary: Do not leave valuables lying around in plain sight, inside or outside of the house. This could be an open invitation to thieves.  Personal belongings that would be tempting to a burglar should be kept out of sight in a secure location.  There is a wide variety of home safes available today that provide secure storage.  It is also important to protect your belongings outside of the home.  Leaving expensive items such as toys, bicycles, or tools unattended in an easily accessible area of your yard is an unsafe practice.  The criminal mind is always looking for a quick pick ! Be aware of how much personal information your trash can provide. After purchasing a new appliance or electronic device, avoid placing the box in its entirety out with your trash. Cut it up, place it in a large trash bag, or bring it to a recycling center. To a criminal this is great advertisement that there is an brand new plasma TV in your house! Burglars tend to come around when no one is home.  If they get the impression someone is home, it discourages them from entering. Therefore, when leaving the home, it is best to create an illusion that someone is still there. Leave on some music, a lamp by your favorite chair and maybe your coffee cup on the table.  When you need to be away from your home for an extended period, the use of timers on the inside and outside lights will improve the authenticity that someone is actually home.  The minimal amount of electricity that you will be burning to implement these safety measures will be well worth it if you can deter a break in. Securing all possible entry points of your home is also key.  Older sliding doors and windows may need to be secured with an extra measure of protection as some can be easily popped off.  Bulkheads and basement doors need to be locked and secured to avoid easy access.   Window air conditioning units can be easily removed allowing quick access if not installed securely.  An unlocked door on an attached garage can be open invitation to a criminal.  Keeping your doors locked may not deter all break ins, but it is a simple step to take in making your home more secure. Although it may seem like a good idea to leave a spare key under the doormat, this type of behavior should be avoided.  Most burglars are aware of the common hiding places and will quickly locate your "hidden" key.  A safer option is to give a spare key to a trusted neighbor or friend. You can keep a spare key hidden in your vehicle or secured with a combination lock somewhere outside of the home.  Remember, never place any information that identifies your house on the key just in case it ever ends up in the wrong hands. There are many things a homeowner can do to keep their home safe.  Fortunately there is also a wide variety of home security systems available for individuals that desire a higher level of security.  Taking the preventative measures that you can and seeking the guidance of a security system professional is the best way to confirm your home secure.