Security 101: How to Buy a Professionally Monitored System

(BPT) – As temperatures rise, so do crimes of opportunity. Keeping our family safe is something that every one of us innately does. We teach our kids about ‘stranger danger’ and we teach our teens about staying a safe distance away from the car in front of them. Yes, keeping our family members aware of their surroundings helps protect them in public; but what can we do at home to keep our families safe?

If you want to lower the threat, harden the target.

Currently, one third of U.S. broadband households have a security system, an 18% increase from 28% in 2018, according to Parks Associates. And according to Resideo’s research, 60% of consumers believe a professionally installed system is the way to go.

For those looking to help keep their families safe this summer, below are several things to expect when shopping for a professionally monitored system:

Do your research. This isn’t just a smart speaker purchase; this is a life-safety system that needs to have a reputable company standing behind it. Seek input from family and friends on anyone they’ve worked with. And be sure you choose a professional who is a member of the Electronic Security Association and has gone through its National Training School. This program helps ensure the dealer has completed extensive training in electronic security and is more efficient and produces higher quality work than those who are not certified.

Make an appointment. Once you’ve narrowed your list of potential dealers to one or two, you’ll want to schedule a phone or video-based meeting so they can provide tailored solutions to meet your unique needs. A reputable dealer will have a no-contact solution during the coronavirus and will show credentials before coming in your home, and in some states a license is required.

Be prepared to answer questions. It may feel overwhelming at first, but rest assured that a good dealer will ask many lifestyle and family questions and is trying to get a sense of what your system should include. You may even walk around the home to identify any potential issues. A good security dealer also will be skilled in home-networking and will ask you about your Wi-Fi network to ensure any wireless devices, like a video doorbell, will stay online and give you what you need.

Don’t forget the video. While it may add a small amount to the monthly monitoring fees, video monitoring is a must-have for most home automation systems today. Does the home have a backyard with no line-of-sight from neighbors? While that’s great to have, it also means the home has a blind spot that is vulnerable to break-ins. Resideo’s Honeywell Home security platform allows the homeowner to sense motion and view video of their home, inside or out, from anywhere in the world. Increasingly, this is a capability that is a must-have for most homeowners.

Avoid the high-pressure selling tactics. Did you know that after signing a contract, a homeowner has time to back out for any reason (it’s often called a three-day, cooling-off period). This was created to allow the homeowner to recover from sharp, aggressive sales tactics. However, if you allow the dealer to install any part of the equipment in your home, even if to just hang the panel in the location so the installer knows where it goes, the homeowner has essentially waived their right to rescind their decision. The United States Federal Trade Commission has more details about this on their website. If you think you may get cold feet after you’ve slept on your purchase decision, don’t let anyone install anything.

Get ready to save! A final benefit of working with a local professional is that they will know about any potential reductions in home insurance rates for your area and will provide your insurer with a certificate of installation. Discounts can range from 10-20% for a whole-home, professionally monitored system. USAA offers a 20% discount, again only if the system is professionally monitored. A good dealer will know these discounts and will manage them on your behalf.

Burglars love it when seasons change: In the spring and summer, they like when windows are open during the day, or garage doors are open when you’re doing yardwork. So, it’s important to safeguard your home year-round. Visit to find a professional security dealer near you.