A struggle that everyone faces is keeping priorities straight. As careers advance, families grow, and financial responsibilities increase, some priorities fall by the wayside.

One example of how that can happen is with home security. When you have your mind on twenty other things that need to be taken care of this week, it’s easy to forget about consistently locking doors, turning on security lights at night, and being observant of suspicious activity or people in your neighborhood.

There are dozens of home security mistakes people make every day, most of which are the result of complacency or a lack of awareness. Probably one of the biggest security blunders many homeowners and renters make is broadcasting the fact that they’re away from home, traveling, or planning to leave the house for any period of time.

In many cases, you may be unaware of security breaches you’re creating. In an era in which nearly everyone has a social media presence, it’s very common to let your guard down and announce on Facebook or another platform that you’re planning to go to a high school reunion, a wedding, or a week-long vacation at a Florida theme park.

While sharing personal information on social media or blogs may be one way to keep in touch with friends and family, it’s often safer to be a little vague about exact dates and times you’re away from home. Once you’ve returned, there’s certainly no harm in providing a full account of your travel adventures, but doing so beforehand can be a little risky — especially if you haven’t set your social media account settings to private

Forgetting to have your mail or newspaper delivery suspended for the duration of your absence is another way people inadvertently advertise the fact that their house is unoccupied. The ideal scenario is to have a trusted neighbor keep an eye on your home while you’re gone. That enables them to report any trespassers or other suspicious activity to the police.

Even if you don’t have mail or unread newspapers piling up in your mailbox, driveway, or front steps, there’s still the chance that an unexpected package will be delivered and left out in the open for passersby to see. You can’t always predict when a box, a catalog, or an advertisement is going to be left at your home, so it pays to have a friend, relative, or neighbor check on your house daily to remove any telltale signs that no one’s home.

Perhaps the ultimate in home security is to have closed circuit cameras, monitored alarms, and/or a wireless security system installed in your home. Once you get the hang of it, being able to monitor and control different aspects of your home environment remotely can enhance your security, your safety, and your sense of well-being.

Before you kick off a home search, it is important to differentiate an ordinary house from a dream residence. That way, you can set realistic goals for your home search and accelerate the process of acquiring a house that matches your expectations.

Ultimately, each homebuyer’s definition of a dream home varies. But for homebuyers who want to streamline the search for a dream home, there are several home factors to consider, and these include:

1. The Age and Condition of a Home

Dedicate the necessary time and resources to learn about a home’s age and condition – you’ll be glad you did. With these home insights, you can determine whether a home will require substantial repairs in the immediate future.

To evaluate a house’s age and condition, you should hire a home inspector. This professional will examine a residence both inside and out and search for any structural problems with the property. Then, the home inspector will provide a detailed report that outlines any home issues.

A home inspection offers a valuable learning opportunity, one that can help you determine if a house is right for you. And if a home inspection reveals your dream home is actually a dud, you can always rescind a home offer and reenter the housing market.

2. A Home’s Price

Many people want to own large, extravagant mansions. Yet the costs of these properties can be prohibitive, which is why most homebuyers search for houses that fall within a specific price range.

As you prepare to search for your dream home, you should get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will enable you to enter the housing market with a budget in hand and avoid the temptation to spend too much on a house.

Also, it is important to realize that no home is perfect. Although you may search far and wide for a dream house that has all the amenities and features that you want, you’ll likely need to make trade-offs to find your ideal residence.

Creating a list of must-haves and wants for your dream home usually is a great idea. This list will enable you to narrow your home search, evaluate properties that fall within your price range and discover your dream home faster than ever before.

3. A Home’s Location

Consider where you want to live before you launch a home search. By doing so, you can identify available houses in certain cities and towns and map out your home search accordingly.

Think about what’s important to you in terms of home location. For example, if you want a home that’s close to your office in the city, you may want to search for residences in or near the city itself. Or, if you want to live close to the beach, you can explore properties that are conveniently nestled along the beachfront.

Lastly, if you need help finding your dream home, you should hire a real estate agent. With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble making your homeownership dreams come true.

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