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How to Shop For A Home Security System

Congratulations On Your New Home….

You just bought a home, making one of the largest investments in your life. Everyone is excited that the journey has concluded. More so down here in Miami, where unless you are a cash buyer it more than likely took you months to finalize a purchase. Well, Congrats! Now it’s time for you and your family to make it “your home.”

We all know the first thing that comes to mind today is setting up your internet. No one can live without internet- no Google, YouTube, or Netflix- ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE! I find it that only a small handful of homeowners rank home security as the top three purchases to make. Unfortunately, these folks have experienced some sort of event in the past, or they are just members of a small pool that are overly concerned about safety. You also have business owners that understand protecting their investments can either make them or brake them. But ok… the DIRECTV is installed, the internet is up, the furniture and large screens TV’s are in their place, and the beautiful vase by the front door is in position and ready to welcome your visitors. Now it’s time to think about purchasing your home security system. Here are three simple questions you might want to ask as you make your choice:

Who will monitor my security system? – Probably the first question I ask when I am shopping. You always have the big leaguers like ADT Security, Protection One, Vivint, and many others. However, they are not the only ones out there, and you should really focus on the how and not just the who. Things you need to know are:

Where are the monitoring stations located? Simply put, you don’t want something overseas. Local companies know local ordinances. It has taken national companies years to master these ordinances. Overseas….hmmm that’s a tough one

How many monitoring stations do you have? You want to make sure there is more than one monitoring center, and there is an emphasis on redundancy. In the past couple of years we have experienced acts of nature that have closed down towns, cities, and states. Relying on just one station is not going to cut it. Do not accept any service that does not protect you, and guarantee you redundancy

Who will install my security system?- These are the folks that will be in your home. I definitely suggest vetting this part out carefully. At the end of the day it comes down to the installing company being reputable, licensed, and insured. Like any other home improvement company, you want to make sure of who is doing the work. Unfortunately this is the part where I see most consumers overlook. Some tips for you to follow as you make your choice:

  • The sales representative carries identification on him with the Florida State License number. Per the State of Florida’s Department of Business Regulation, all alarm company employees must carry an identification card on them at all times. The ID card should have their state license number
  • Ask for a business card and google the address of the business. Most security companies must maintain sensitive information. You want to make sure there is an actual physical business location and not just a P.O. Box or home address
  • The installer shows up in a commercial vehicle, properly identified, and with the license number on the vehicle. Again, all requirements to conduct electrical work in the State of Florida.
  • The company and its employees present themselves correctly and accurately. There are companies in the industry that try to mislead customers and misrepresent themselves. Unfortunately, I see this mostly with the authorized dealers of certain programs. There is a huge benefit from purchasing from authorized dealers. We will talk about in my next article, but the best part about it is you are buying from a local point of contact, allowing the customer to circumvent all the red tape in the larger national companies. If an authorized dealer proudly presents itself as XYZ company, an authorized dealer for …. – then you have a huge green light to conduct business.
  • Check the companies online reviews. Nothing like checking out their Google, Facebook, Yelp and other social media outlet reviews. These are fellow shoppers just like you, giving feedback about their purchasing experience. Not to mention, a company that cares about their online reputation will place a higher emphasis on delivering an amazing customer experience. They understand that online reviews are a microphone for the customer to express their reviews to the world. If you do receive a good experience don’t forget to write back and let the world know that too!

What will my security system do?- We are in the Golden Age of technology. Frankly put, any system that does not allow you to control from your smart phone, tablet, or any other device is not worth your time or investment.

  • Ask for a demo of the interface you will use to control your system. Make sure it’s simple to use and is compatible with your type of mobile device. Any company or person that cannot show you a demo is an express ticket to the no buy zone.
  • Ask what else you can control and secure. Home security applications today should be to also give you options to upgrade into home automation. The ADT Pulse application does a great job of allowing users to upgrade to lighting control, live and pre-recorded video feed, and even integrates with Ring Video Doorbell and Nest Thermostat
  • Ask for the auto features. Can I set schedules? Can my door unlock or lock automatically? Will my AC turn off when I arm my system?

Today’s home security system is not just about keeping the bad guys out. You want to make sure the system allows your home to easily upgrade into what today we define as a Smart Home. With the complexity of installing and programming, consumers must really vet out their choices. Making sure monitoring is reliable, the installing company is professionally licensed, and you are being sold today’s modern user platform will ensure you make the right choice and obtain the peace of mind a monitored security system will provide.



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