Options for a good home security system used to be much simpler: you needed a deadbolt, a heavy door, and a solid baseball bat. However, as technology has advanced, it’s provided many more (and safer) options for protecting homes.
A number of companies now provide home security monitoring. And still more provide technology that you can use to monitor your home yourself. The latter is becoming more popular; Citi, the parent company of ADT, estimates that self-monitored systems will control 34 percent of the market in the next five years.
Would you rather have a company monitor your home, or do it yourself? To help you decide, consider the pros and cons of using self-monitored security systems instead of those monitored by the companies that own them.
Pros of Self-Monitoring
Portability: Because you purchase self-monitoring security systems upfront, and not along with a service from a company, you own the system. If you decide to move, you can take your security system with you, as well as add or take away cameras to fit your new home.
No False Alarms: If your alarm is triggered, professionally monitored security companies typically send police to your house automatically unless you’re able to answer a verification phone call and let them know it’s a false alarm. If you’re too late, you may have to pay a fine for the false alarm.
A self-monitoring system allows you to decide if/when you’d like to get the police involved. When you receive an alert telling you your alarm has sensed something, you can access your camera feeds to check what’s going on in the house before notifying authorities.
Price: Price is likely the most significant difference between self-monitoring and professionally monitored systems. Besides paying one cost for the system upfront, you’ll notice that many self-monitoring systems require some kind of paid subscription if you want them to store a certain amount of footage.
Wait a minute! You sprung for this because you didn’t want to pay regular fees. You still will, but likely much lower regular fees. If you look at the fees for professionally monitored systems, you’ll see a significant difference. The most expensive subscription option for the well-known Nest, for example, is only slightly more expensive than the starting price for ADT, the most popular professionally monitored system.
Cons of Self-Monitoring
No Plan B: It’s up to you (as well as any trusted others) to respond to a home security alert. That can be a challenge if you’re away from your phone, have a bad connection, run out of battery, or are asleep. If you miss the notification, you could be too late to stop whatever is occurring.
With a professionally monitored system, someone in their response center should always be available to respond to your home alarm. Someone will likely call you first to determine whether it’s a false alarm. But if you don’t answer, help will be sent to try and protect your home and valuables for you.
Room for Human Error: Imagine you’re building a piece of Ikea furniture. You do things step by step, but still end up with a few extra parts. Apply the same thought process to home security. You may think you’re doing everything right. But, in this case, even just a small mistake can mean the security of your home will be at stake.
This might sound a little extreme, but it’s relevant. If you install your cameras wrong–upside down, for example, or facing into a corner–you are responsible for fixing it. But if you purchase a professionally monitored system, someone from the company will install the cameras for you.
Price for Large Homes: Self-monitored systems generally have an edge over professionally monitored systems when it comes to price. But if you have a large home with many rooms and entryways, that may not always be the case. A self-monitored system requires you to purchase as many cameras as you have areas you’d like to monitor, and you have to pay full price for each. A professionally monitored system may offer efficient bundle pricing for this situation.
Neither security system option is inherently superior. It’s all about what fits your individual needs best. Primarily, it’s a case of cost versus convenience. Think about the price, as well as how much responsibility you’re willing to take on.
Deciding Based on Your Neighborhood
If you’re still on the fence, consider checking out your neighborhood to see if anyone has experienced crime in your area. You might also be concerned about your neighbors themselves. If that’s the case, perform a people search to see if you can find out more about who’s living around you. Perform a criminal records check to try and make sure they don’t pose a risk to your family or your home.
For even more ideas on how to stay safe–in your home or on-the-go–be sure to visit the PeopleFinders blog.
Image attribution: antic – stock.adobe.com