What Makes Your House Vulnerable to a Break-in – see this article to get empowered

I came across this article and thought it was very timely as I was looking at my home security.  I thought you might also be interested in it.  I plan to make some changes based on this information.

A survey on a large group of convicts as to their preferences of homes to target.thief

  1. How did you typically break into a home or apartment?

Most inmates broke in through an unlocked door or window.  Several burglars kicked the door open.

“I would kick in the door rather than break glass. Loud bangs are better than loud glass breaking, plus you run the risk of getting cut,” said one inmate.

  1. Once inside, what was the first thing you looked to steal?

Jewelry, electronics, cash and credit cards are all attractive to burglars. Inmates also added collectibles and guns.

“NRA sticker on car bumper = Lots of guns to steal,” wrote one burglar.

  1. Where did you look for hidden valuables?

Most burglars started by searching the master bedroom for valuables, then moved through the rest of the house.

“Everywhere!  From the stove and freezer, to the fish tank and toilet tank, book shelves and in boxes of cereal,” said an inmate.

  1. What time of the day did you prefer to break in?

Burglars prefer breaking in early morning or afternoon.

“Between 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm. Anyone that was home for lunch should be gone by then and most kids should all still be in school,” wrote a convicted burglar.

  1. Did home protection or security signs posted outside the home deter you?

Burglars had mixed opinions about home security signs. Some burglars said it didn’t faze them. Others said they knew how to disable alarms or avoid setting them off.

  1. Did pets in the home, like a dog, make you think twice?

If a homeowner had a big, loud dog most burglars would stay away.  Smaller dogs don’t seem to bother them.

“Dogs are a deal breaker for me,” said one inmate. “Big breeds, home protectors are the best to keep people out.”

  1. Did you typically knock on the front door before breaking into a home?

Yes. All of the inmates who responded said they would knock on the front door before breaking in.

  1. If someone answered the door, what would you do or say?

“Act like I was lost or looking for a friend.”

“I would approach the resident as though they had posted an ad on Craigslist.”

“Say wrong house, sorry and thank you.”

“Ask if they’d seen my dog and leave.”

“Sometimes I would wear nice clothing and print a questionnaire off the Internet and carry a clipboard and see if they could spare a moment for an anonymous survey.”

  1. If a home alarm system went off, what would you do?

Most intruders said they would leave immediately if a security alarm went off.

“I would try and turn it off or get the hell out of there,” said one burglar.

  1. If there was a security camera visible, would it keep you from breaking in?

Generally, burglars agreed security cameras were a deterrent. But some said it also likely signaled there were valuables inside the home.

  1. Did lights on in the home make you think twice?

Responses were mixed regarding lights on in a home. Some said it was a deterrent. But one burglar said the combination of lights on and blinds closed created an attractive location.

“Would drive through upper class neighborhoods looking for many things, like porch light on with all window blinds closed,” wrote one inmate.

  1. If you heard a radio or TV on inside the home, would you still break in?

Most burglars feared someone might be home if they heard a radio or TV. They wouldn’t break in.

“Absolutely not,” wrote a burglar.

  1. Would it make a difference if there was a vehicle in the driveway?

As a homeowner, this is one of the best precautions you can take.  Almost all of the burglars said they’d think twice if there was a car in the driveway.

“Most of the time that is a sure-fire sign of someone being home,” wrote an inmate.

  1. What was your ideal target for a burglary?

Burglars don’t want to be seen. They looked for homes with big fences and overgrown trees or bushes.

“Home away from other homes, blind spots, older window frames, cheap wooden doors,” wrote a burglar.

“Large trees, bushes or shrubs around the home, or very reserved and conservative neighbors,” wrote another inmate.

“Nice home with nice car = A person with money,” another said.

  1. Did you ever do surveillance on your target?

The responses were mixed. Some burglars did surveillance before a burglary, while others did not.

  1. If you did surveillance, what were you trying to figure out?

Of those burglars who did surveillance, most agreed they were looking for the best opportunity to break-in.

“Who lives in the home, what are their weekday schedules (weekends are too unpredictable), what they drive, is there a dog, a hidden key,” wrote one inmate.

“What time the house would be empty and for how long,” wrote another.

  1. What is the one thing homeowners can do to avoid being burglarized?

Burglars suggest homeowners make their property visible with good lighting and trimmed bushes and trees.  You should get to know your neighbors and alert police if you see anything suspicious.

“In my opinion, I think homeowners should always leave a TV or radio on,” said one inmate.

“Get a camera and make it visible!” wrote another.

“Put bars on your windows and doors, get an alarm, keep an extra car in the driveway, keep lights, TVs and radios on when you leave your home,” read one questionnaire.

“Home alarm, know your neighbor so they can report suspicious people around the neighborhood,” said a burglar.

Many of those inmates who responded were remorseful. They don’t want homeowners to be victimized.

“Thank you for giving me the chance to help and give back something that will actually help people,” wrote one inmate.

“I’ll never be able to give back the sense of security I destroyed but I can help prevent others from losing theirs,” said another convicted burglar.

Published: Oct. 31, 2016 – http://www.9news.com/news/investigations/we-asked-86-burglars-how-they-broke-into-homes/344385966  – Kudos to this station for doing this survey.

There are also a lot of ways with the use of technology that you can deter a break-in.  One is get a Ring doorbell or similar.  When someone walks within the target zone you set up, the camera will notify you of the activity so you can see the activity in real time and talk with that person.  When someone rings the door bell you can even converse with them while you are halfway around the world or just inside the door.  Amazing technology.

If you are interested in what other technology is out there for security send me an email.

Santa Clara County’s Active Real Estate Inventory is Miniscule

silverlake small frontWe have the lowest active inventory since 2006 when I started tracking local statistics.  The total of active single family homes, townhomes and condos was just 555 on January 2nd!  That is in a County with over 1.9 million people!  No wonder prices have been steadily increasing.   Last year was also low with 20 more than this year.  To give you some perspective – in 2008 there were more than 6000 listings. 

The number of active single family homes was 449 and condos/townhomes were 106. The number of active homes is about 45% lower than last month.

The number of homes and townhomes/condos that went into contract in December was 760. It was made up of 546 single family homes and 214 condos/ townhomes. The pending sales were down about 34% from November, due to the lack of inventory. 

December saw more closings than in November.  November was the first month that felt the effect of the new lending requirements rolled out in October.   The number of closed sales in December was 1133 (816 were single family homes and 317 were condo/ townhomes).  The closed sales were up 13% from last month and up 15% from last year’s figure. Find out more market conditions in specific areas in Santa Clara County.

What does this mean to you? If you are a buyer, you need to be ultra prepared and have a knowledgeable Realtor to guide you. As a seller, you can reap the rewards of this good market. How much your home sells for can be very improved with proper guidance on how to prep and market your home.

I am daily in the trenches with real estate. I have been through 31 years of ups and downs in Real Estate.

Understanding your options both in Real Estate and lending is critical now as guidelines have changed making the real estate market fluid. Want to know your options? Call me!

For more information on this local market, go to my website – Pat@PatChadwell.com 

Pat Chadwell,
Broker, CRS, ePro, SRES, CDPE, CIAS, SFR.
I have 31 years helping clients with their Real Estate needs.

Move- In Ready Blossom Valley


Upgraded 3 bedroom 2 bath home with beautiful amenities. Triple pane windows and sliding glass door, kitchen and bath remodeled in 2011, new heater in 2012, mature landscaping in front and back, complete finished garage with built in and free standing cabinets. Come enjoy the view of the hills from the front and back yards. This home is ideally situated close to new shopping complex on Cottle, Kaiser Hospital, Light-Rail and easy Freeway access. Schools, park and community garden close by.

Townhouse San Jose Great Home, Great Location


Come see this updated 2 bedroom 1&1/2 bath townhome conveniently located  in Blossom Valley in San Jose. This home is close to shopping, freeway entrances and parks. Gorgeous updated kitchen with granite counter tops, newer appliances,sink faucet and lighting. Cabinets are complete with easy-close drawers and a corner lazysusan. dual pane windows throughout, updated baths and laminate wood flooring. enjoy the ease of and indoor laundry, enclosed patio, extra storage shed and newer water heater. HOA includes sparkling pool and open space play areas. Check out MLS# 81417367 for more features on this lovely home. Virtual Tour at http://www.tourfactory.com/1161427

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Retirement Gypsies, Idaho

Many retirees have fled California for the “potato” state of Idaho. As I had discussed previously, the government of the District of Columbia publishes a study comparing the total tax ramifications for the largest city in each state. They take into account such items as: state tax, sales tax, gas tax, tobacco tax, income taxes and property tax. It then ranks each state by the highest overall taxes paid to the least. On page 18 of the 2011 study, the estimated percentage burden, of major taxes, for a hypothetical family of three making $75,000, was 8.8% in Boise, Idaho. To give you a comparison, the highest city and State was Bridgeport, Connecticut with a total tax burden for the same family at 21.5%. The lowest was Cheyenne, Wyoming at 3.1%. This placed Boise, Idaho at the 31st highest tax burden state. Not bad.

Idaho does have income, sales/use tax and property taxes. Generally, all income received by an Idaho resident, regardless of the source, is subject to Idaho income tax.  Idaho does not tax social security benefits, benefits paid by the Railroad Retirement Board or Canadian social security benefits (OAS or CPP). 

 Taxes aside, I made my first stop in Twin Falls, Idaho. Upon stepping from my car, I detected a slight “cow” aroma. Since their economy is agriculturally based, I guess this is to be expected. Claiming to be the “Base Jumping Capital” of the nation , this is a rapidly growing city in South central-Idaho. Their climate averages 34F. in Jan to 85F. in July. Low temperatures are often below freezing from Dec. through March. Twin Falls, like other desert communities, does experience fast moving electrical storms. Their 3 great recreational and tourists areas are the Sawtooth Mountains, Shoshone Falls and the Perrine Bridge area.

Housing in Twins Falls, was priced well, compared to the Bay area. The current average listing price for a home is $209,531 and climbing. In touring some neighborhoods, I found many beautiful, newly constructed homes, below $300,000. A gallon of gas was $3.56, a gallon of milk was$2.99 and a dozen eggs ran $2.09.

In the spring of 2011, they did open a new hospital which is always high on my list of must haves for a permanent retirement location. The College of Southern Idaho, a large junior college, is located here as well. Twin falls also has a full orchestra Symphony and operatic productions at the Idaho Falls Opera Theater.  Twin Falls offers all the conveniences of a mid-sized city. Venturing out into the public, I asked two local mid- aged men what they thought of their fair town.

Both agreed that the town was excellent for children up to the age of twelve but when they reached high school  the kids seemed to lack  activities. They also agreed that this was the same for retirees. Unless you loved hunting and fishing, and the small town atmosphere, this was not a place that offered much for these two age groups. Both men were avid hunters and naturally said they would never move.

As for me, Twin Falls, meets many of my retirement requirements: Affordable housing, reduced taxes,  a college community, a quality hospital, a regional airport, cultural venues and outdoor activities. Where it seems to fall short is in having months of winter weather and the distance from other diverse communities and activities.



be found on City Data’s site.

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