There are numerous considerations to be made when investing in a home security system today. While the options for the type and scope of system have been narrowed down, it's the nuances of price, service, contracts and if it's a do-it-yourself (DIY) project, among other things, that can all make or break the long-term satisfaction rating you'll have.
- Costs: You get what you pay for. Bells and whistles add up to more fees up front and with monthly monitoring. Some alarms cost little up front and have larger monitoring fees. Others cost more up front and may be a DIY job, but with smaller monitoring fees. Do the math.
- Remote control: For a few bucks more, most systems are equipped with the ability to control them from your smartphone, tablet or PC. Straight up, it's worth every penny.
- Invest in monitoring: An alarm system that triggers a breach always sets off a siren. And while noise is a good deterrent, it's not nearly as effective as gun-wielding police being dispatched and showing up in your driveway. Spend the few extra bucks for the monitoring.
- Customer service: Alarms have many little parts that "brick." Over time, they fail, parts break, things go wrong, and alarms need replacement parts or service. Check out the reviews of a company's ability to service its customers before you sign on the dotted line. There's nothing more frustrating than bad customer service.
- Installation: Are you a do-it-yourselfer? If so, you can often save lots of money in the long term. If you need hand holding and don't know how two-sided tape works, then having an alarm company do the installation may be your best option. Keep in mind that with a DIY job, you do it on your own time. With an alarm company doing it, you will have as many as five service installers traipsing through your house for up to three days.