How To Prevent Theft from your Flip, Rehab or Vacant Rental

Real Estate Investing in Indianapolis seems to be at an all time high.  Local investors like myself, flippers, landlords, out of state investors and everyone else is wanting to get in on the action.  Indianapolis is a great place to invest so I don’t blame them one bit.  There is a lot of money to be made here and I for one have benefited significantly with my investment properties.  One major issue that we do have however is that there are a lot of thefts and break-ins on our investment properties.    I have had  success in keeping thieves out of my own investment properties by following these methods below.  By applying these security methods, these are your best chances for how to prevent theft from your flip, rehab or vacant rental in Indianapolis although these methods could be applied to any city.


What Houses Are Thieves Targeting?

  • Houses being flipped or renovated, vacant rental houses and vacant homes for sale seem to be the prime targets.    If you have a “for rent” sign out in your yard, that is basically free advertising for a thief as it tells them the house is currently vacant and fully equipped.


What Are Thieves Targeting?

  •  These thieves love to target HVACs, water heaters, appliances, copper cables and almost anything that is metal.  They then try and sell this to others or even to scrap metal places.    I’ve had thieves go as far as to take portions of a brand new wooden privacy fence installed on a flip I was doing.  They are relentless these people and will take anything they want.


Where Areas are Thieves Targeting? (Indianapolis)

  • Unfortunately these thieves can pop up anywhere but based on what I see and hear from other investors, the east and south sides of Indianapolis (inside the loop) seem to be hit the hardest.   Especially the east side as that area is heavily concentrated with investor activity.  It’s not surprising as these areas have and show the highest crime in the Trulia Crime Maps.   There is a lot of drug use and poverty in some of these areas which seem to attract crime and theft.   There are also bad areas on the west side and north side that have a lot of crime as well however do not seem to get a lot of real estate investor activity these days.


How To Try and Prevent Theft from your Flip, Rehab or Vacant Rental in Indianapolis

1)  Implement Simplisafe alarm system.

  • This is the best portable alarm system in my opinion.  You buy the equipment, it sets up easily in any home and can be easily transferred to any home.  Plus its reasonably priced. They have packages that start at just $15 per month that will call the police as soon as the alarm goes off.  There is no WIFI needed.  It uses a phone sim card to dial out.   I personally have two sets of simplisafe alarm systems and I move them around house to house as I need them.   It’s definitely worth it and they come with Simplisafe alarm signs that you can post on the front and back of the house.  That along might deter thieves.  There is a cost to the initial equipment which can vary depending on what you get but once you purchase it, its yours to keep and to move around to different houses or projects.   Don’t forget you can write all this off as well in your tax deductions.
  • You can get a FREE simplisafe camera by signing up using my this referral link.  You won’t find a better deal.

2) Install fake security cameras.

  • I install these dummy security cameras in all my flips and rehabs.  They look real and come with signs.  For less then $20 this is a no-brainer and yes I do think it can absolutely prevent someone from breaking in if they see it.  Especially at night time if they just see the blinking light.   Meth heads and low life criminals don’t know the difference between real or fake security cameras.

3) Put up Simplisafe Alarm signs

  • Hey if you can’t afford or just do not want to pay for the real thing, then the next best thing to do is to put up Simplisafe Alarm signs on the house without actually installing the system.   You can put them up on the front windows, back of the house, garage or anywhere that is super visible on your property.   This could prevent some theft as the thieves would never know if the alarm system isn’t actually installed.

4) Install a metal security cage around your outside AC unit.

  • To prevent a thief from taking your Central AC unit outside, these  AC Unit security cages will do the trick.  The savvy investors all use these especially in those high crime areas.   The steel construction cage is put on a concrete pad and comes with a lock and hinges to access the unit and make repairs.  I have yet to hear any stories from anyone having their AC unit stolen when using one of these cages.


Once I started using all these methods of security on my flips and rehabs, I have yet to have any break-ins or theft on my investment properties   Obviously its not a guarantee that it will fully prevent theft but it’s the best options you have to mitigate the risk.

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Good luck out there my fellow Indianapolis real estate investors!!  And if you know of any other security measures you can take to help, please comment below.

In the meantime, check out all the active foreclosures and short sales in Indianapolis.

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One Comment

  1. I have Simplisafe sensors all over my house and don’t see the need in paying for monitoring. So far, their security system has been really simple to set up, the app functions effectively, and I have no problems.

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