Can your neighbours tell if you're away?!

Submitted: Monday, Jun 24, 2013 at 21:30
ThreadID: 102938 Views:2435 Replies:20 FollowUps:2
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If you leave your house vacant, even for a week's holiday, can people tell that it's empty?
(If you get house sitters, you're exempt from this question!)
We are surrounded by retirees who have the luxury of going away frequently...and we can tell that they have done so!
One neighbour behind us closes all blinds when he goes away. It's the only time his blinds are all closed! It's pretty obvious. And from the front, his motorhome is missing from the driveway...that's even more obvious!
Another neighbour closes his blinds and shuts the house up like the proverbial clam. Even the pot plants are moved.
Another neighbour has no lights on for weeks so we can easily tell when she's away.

I marvel at the fact that no-one's robbed these neighbours of ours.

What sort of measures do you undertake? If you had a not-so-nice neighbour, would he/she be able to work out that your worldly possessions are there for the taking? Do you need to re-think your old thinking of "close the curtains so no-one can see in while we're gone" to something different eg. "let's close the curtains a bit more often while we're here and invest in a timer for a light?"

:) Robyn

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Reply By: Mudripper - Monday, Jun 24, 2013 at 21:54

Monday, Jun 24, 2013 at 21:54
Every time we go away I make sure that there's 240V at every doorknob and window frame LOLOLOL!

And for those who are sense of humour challenged, yes I am kidding.

Have a good evening.

AnswerID: 513758

Reply By: Member - William B (The Shire) - Monday, Jun 24, 2013 at 22:26

Monday, Jun 24, 2013 at 22:26
Please advise where you live and any other obvious traits of your holidaying neighbors.
Yours nefariously,
B. Urg-Ular.

he he
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AnswerID: 513762

Reply By: The Rambler( W.A.) - Monday, Jun 24, 2013 at 22:32

Monday, Jun 24, 2013 at 22:32
That's what you pay insurance for.
AnswerID: 513763

Follow Up By: Steve D1 - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 13:29

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 13:29
Yep. Insure it. Lock it. And drive away.

FollowupID: 792548

Reply By: Jeremy W - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 00:09

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 00:09
I tell my neighbor when I go away and give him the house and shed keys. He always gets an excellent bottle of Bundy.

AnswerID: 513768

Reply By: Jarse - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 05:12

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 05:12
We have fantastic neighbours right along our street, who keep an eye on things for us. They do the bins and mail while we're away.

And in suburban Sydney, no less! :)
AnswerID: 513771

Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 08:12

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 08:12
We have four neighbours and we tell them all. As they tell us. One of the niceties of living in a neighbourhood that isn't as yet ignoring their neighbours. And as a bonus the Neighbourhood Watch system is alive and kicking here.

AnswerID: 513774

Reply By: Member Bushy 04(VIC) - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 08:23

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 08:23
We work with our neighbours and watch each others hoses and yards, to the piont were a panel has been taken out of the side fence so that the dog can go into the yard of the one without a dog.
It stops all sorts of problems, as when we are away our out the panel is often left open so that the dog can go into both yards, sales reps dont like it when they go to the next house and realize that its the same dog and she still does not like
We do the bins and watering for each other when one is away.
AnswerID: 513775

Follow Up By: racinrob - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 08:35

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 08:35
I too am fortunate with good neighbours on both sides who do the bins and mail while we're away.
One is a bearded biker with a Harley and a pig dog, a genuinely nice bloke but I don't doubt he could be a handful lol.

FollowupID: 792533

Reply By: The Landy - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 08:37

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 08:37
Like others, we have great neighbours, never been an issue for us.

AnswerID: 513777

Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 09:37

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 09:37
I go bush, wife stays at home as she hates corrugations and tenting it; so problem solved there. If we go overseas, we have lights that come on and off at various times during the night.

Also tell the neighbour and have our mail stopped by the PO. Ask the neighbour to clear out the junk mail. On long trips we try and get a house sitter.
Make sure you give back more than you take

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AnswerID: 513779

Reply By: Member - Ann D (WA) - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 12:01

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 12:01
Hi Robyn,

We all bring in each others bins and mail.
My lawn mower bloke has gate key for back,so lawns are kept mowed when away.
Depending on how long I'm away my nephew will baby sit the house.

AnswerID: 513784

Reply By: pop2jocem - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 14:01

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 14:01
Hi Robyn,

Most of the above for us. We have security lights that come on if anyone walks down the driveway at night. Fortunately we have a retirey on one side and a semi retirey on the other. We put each others bins out on collection days. Our kids also come over whenever they can and spend a day. The grandies get to play with their cousins and one of my daughter's partners keeps the lawn mowed and turns the sprinklers on in dry weather so the place does not look too derelict. Well worth a carton or two. We have stopped all mail deliveries to the house, even when we are at home, and use a post office box that one of our kids empties for us and lets us know if anything urgent has shown up.
At the end of the day people get broken into when they are at home or just popped down the street for a carton of milk. We don't have a vast art collection or expensive jewellery that can't be replaced so if someone wants to walk off with the TV we will be claiming on insurance. My greatest concern is what damage they may do but it's not something that is at the front of my mind when we go away and we will not let thoughts about an incident that may never happen spoil our holiday.

AnswerID: 513789

Reply By: andrew t - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 19:25

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013 at 19:25
a thief will always be able to tell if you are away but great neighbors will also help to make it look like you are home,ours will collect mail and put out bins even park a car in the driveway for us and yes they keep a look out for anything suspicious, good neighbors better than insurance any day,
AnswerID: 513802

Reply By: Bazooka - Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013 at 00:48

Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013 at 00:48
Gotta laugh. All a prospective thief has to do is get on a website and ask.

I've planted a few ofthese around the yard. Guaranteed to ward off snakes in the grass and other evil spirits. They also double as divining rods, rare mineral detectors and designated contact points should our alien friends decide to pay a visit in our absence.
AnswerID: 513809

Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013 at 08:40

Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013 at 08:40
Hi Robyn,

Our neighbour knows because she comes along! Like others here we have a good neighbourhood and everyone pretty well knows what's happening. We also have a great security system and adequate insurance. Everything is automatic at home and for all intents and purposes the place looks lived in. The yard gets mowed and the sprinklers are auto which means the place looks tidy. We also cancel the local rag which to my surprise is possible meaning we don't end up with a pile of newspapers on the council strip. No junk mail signs seem to work as does a large letter box. We pay most bills directly and via email notifications etc to minimise any "urgent" mail.

It also helps if someone can come past every couple of weeks.

Kind regards
AnswerID: 513811

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013 at 11:08

Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013 at 11:08
Hi Robyn,

A very good question. We don't live in the suburbs so are a bit atypical, but having suffered once in a fairly major way from those with a "help yourself" mentality we are now very careful when we go away. We always have housesitters - for security and to take care of our animals, and we try to avoid advertising the fact that we are planning to be away, though we do let trusted neighbours know. Its very easy for others to let the cat out of the bag though. For example, shortly after having been relieved of our possessions we were not impressed when someone got up at our 4wd club meeting with maybe 80 people in the room, to wish us (and others) well on a forthcoming trip, leaving on a specified date. Nice sentiments but no thought about the possible consequences for us.

We no longer post blogs when on the road, and in any case prefer to take my time and do them carefully when we get back home. Email is fine for keeping those who need to know informed of our progress.

Having insurance is all very well, and for us it all worked out OK in the end, BUT it took months and a LOT of hassling and time. Definitely better to avoid the experience rather than to just rely on having insurance to cover your loss - because there will be aspects of that loss that insurance just cannot cover.

Finally, thieves have their own ways of doing things. Ours apparently watched our property to be sure that it was vacant. We "think" their monitoring may have involved watching for any letter box activity, so even cancelling papers and mail deliveries can have its downsides.

So for us its housesitters - which takes a bit of effort, but we have always had really lovely folk and good experiences - plus its an incentive to give the house a really good clean and tidy every so often.

Thanks for posting this - its an important but not often discussed facet of going travelling.


J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

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AnswerID: 513815

Reply By: AlanTH - Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013 at 11:11

Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013 at 11:11
Wish we had good neighbours. One side has over the years filled our gutters by the down pipes with rubbish, thrown crap over the fence, sprays anything within range with poison including the Cook once which a magistrate said was an accident so it didn't matter!!!
We've got a camera system set-up which is plainly obvious to him, lights all round and internal timers as well.
Luckily he's been renovating for the last 2 years with money he got from a dodgy insurance claim (one of many) and hasn't lived there but we think the pest may move back in soon.
And the cops aren't interested.
AnswerID: 513816

Reply By: Axle - Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013 at 15:30

Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013 at 15:30
G/Day .Robyn, ...You need to be like my mate he dosen't worry about locking anything up at any time!. Weekends away , nights, holidays , everything is left open!

Reverse physiology he reckons, the would be thieves get nervous that everything is there for the taking, so leave it alone!!...LOl... He's never been robbed in a long time, so maybe something in his logic?

Cheers Axle.
AnswerID: 513820

Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013 at 20:00

Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013 at 20:00
Yea, though I walk through the valley of death I will fear no evil, for I am the meanest son of a bitch in the valley. LOL

Ive always had good neighbours who keep an eye on my place while Im away as we do theirs.
We've lived in some pretty rough places and never had a break in yet! (touch wood!)
Some poor bugger got close one day but he's since seen the light........a bloody Maglite! Hahahahaha
AnswerID: 513838

Reply By: Member - evaredy - Friday, Jun 28, 2013 at 12:26

Friday, Jun 28, 2013 at 12:26
We don't do anything different when going away. I have a very good neighbor on one side, we look after each other when either is away.

But we just do what we do when we are at home and at night. Everything is left where it always is, even things that are in plain view in the carport are left.
We turn the lounge room light on and have the radio on 24x7, it's always on when the tv is off anyway, even when we are home.
AnswerID: 513928

Reply By: Daisy G - Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 17:11

Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 17:11
My neighbours never tell me when he is away. Me too, having pressure at working, I never notice whether my neightbour is away. But one trouble is the postage. One time I have purchased a parcel at eBay with tracking number from After a week, the parcel still not reach me. But the website of carrier showed it has been succefully delivered. So I conduct a searching of my parcel. The parcel is on the front door of my neightbour. But he is away for a 2 weeks holiday. The carrier dropped my parcel there.
Form my store, do you think sometimes it is nessessory to keep an eye on our neightbour.
AnswerID: 514631

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