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RISMEDIA, April 1, 2009-Is spring fever prompting you to head for the beaches or some other vacation getaway? If you’re planning to travel during the spring holidays this year, you can help protect your home while you’re away by following these tips from the Florida Association of Realtors(R) (FAR):

1. Make it look like you’re home. Install timers on interior lights so they turn on and off periodically. Consider leaving your radio on and tuned to an all-news or talk show station.
2. Disconnect and remove all exterior electrical decorations before you leave to reduce the chance of fire and theft. Install exterior lights controlled by motion sensors to make your home a more difficult target for prowlers.
3. Discontinue your newspaper delivery temporarily. Be sure to give several days notice so your order can be processed in time.
4. Ask someone to collect any free papers or sales materials left near your house. When fliers and papers are left on a driveway day after day, it’s a sure sign that no one is home.
5. Have the post office hold your mail. This can be initiated by calling the U.S. Postal Service at 1-800-275-8777 and listening to the option for putting a vacation hold on your mail. You can make arrangements up to 30 days in advance of your vacation; at minimum, two days will be needed to process your request. Or you can go to the Postal Service website at https://dunsapp.usps.gov/HoldMail.jsp and follow the instructions.
6. Ask a friend or neighbor to park a car in your driveway occasionally and keep an eye on your place. If police regularly patrol your neighborhood, give law enforcement authorities your schedule so they can watch for suspicious activity. If there’s a crime-watch program, notify the person in charge.
7. If you have an alarm that is monitored, tell the alarm company you will be away. If possible, provide a phone number where you can be reached.
8. If you’re going to be away for two weeks or more, ask a friend to mow the grass or hire a lawn service.

Before leaving for vacation, take these simple steps to help protect your property.

For more information, visit http://www.media.floridarealtors.org.

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