It’s important to do your homework before you go out and buy a home security system, if you don’t you run the risk of getting either too much or too little protection and either way it can cost you big. To find out the home security systems ratings of various companies and models, you have several places you can go.

First things first, walk around your neighborhood and see what types of systems your neighbors have. Ask them about their system, are they happy with it, how is the monitoring company when it comes to responding to alarms or maintenance calls, This will give you and idea of some companies that may have just what you want.

Your neighbors may not be able to help you with pricing since the system they have may not be exactly what you need, but they should be able to give you an overall idea of how competent the company and equipment are.

The next step is to look up reviews for certain security systems and companies. Find out what other users are saying. It’s always best to hear it right from the horses mouth, so to speak. If people seem happy overall with the company and equipment that is a good place to start. Publications such as Consumer Reports can also provide ratings on various systems.

When you’ve narrowed down your choices and it’s time to get some quotes do yourself a favor and take some time to figure out what you need and want first. It’s easy. Just take a walk around your house. Pretend that you are trying to get in, what are the weak spots, What areas of the house are vulnerable because the view is blocked from the neighbors by trees or other obstacles, Where could someone climb onto the roof and open up a second story window, These are all things you should consider.

Also, if you have a monitored system with an alarm you should consider having multiple keypads, preferably one on each level of your house. Having some sort of outside alarm or light to notify neighbors if the alarm has been tripped is a good idea too (just check your local codes since many locations have some restrictions about this).

Also find out what the procedure is for answering an alarm. Some companies will contact authorities right away, which can be good if there is an emergency but bad if the alarm has been tripped accidentally. Many towns will actually charge the homeowner if they have false alarms.

Other alarm companies will call you first and if you don’t give them a special code (this is to protect you from being coerced by someone to say everything is ok. You can tell the dispatcher the wrong code and anyone who may be listening in won’t know, the dispatcher won’t let on it’s the wrong code, but they will call the authorities) and if you don’t answer or provide them with the wrong code they will call for help. Obviously, both methods have their pros and cons.

When you are comparing home security systems ratings make sure that you are comparing apples to apples. It’s not fair to compare a complete home system with full time monitoring, glass break alarm, fire alarm, cameras, etc to a cheaper less complete system. Take some time to consider what you need and want and than do some research to find which models and which companies will provide you with the best system for your need.

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