I decided that I would post from time to time about the joys of being a homeowner. I am sure that many of you have similar stories and I would like to know how things are in your neck of the woods. Are they the same as mine? For instance, do YOU have a nosy/creepy/annoying neighbor? A loud xyz near your house? An animal that poops in your flower bed or eats your homegrown veggies? What woes do you have in your neighborhood?
My first woe is this: Alarm Systems.
When I first moved in, the “curtain twitcher” (my
nosy friendly neighbor across the way) came over to introduce herself (at 8:30 p.m. and mind you, I normally go to bed around 8:30) and to talk about the neighborhood and the goings on and the other people on our block etc. Apparently the guy behind me “might” be a drug dealer, the people at the end never leave their house and the people across the street rented to someone because they moved to Paris for work (but that is the only non-owner occupied home on the block). I learned all of this (and more!) in about 26 minutes, as the clock was slowly ticking toward 9:00.
The other thing she told me, which was interesting but not great, is that since we live on a street that is very easily accessible from the freeway (great for commuting!) sometimes thieves will get off the freeway, kick in your door, steal your TV and get right back on the freeway in a matter of minutes. Now, I am not super attached to my TV, but I am pretty attached to my life, so I decided to get an alarm system.
First of all, getting an alarm system is a pain in the butt. It’s worse than getting cable. First, you sign your life away by paying up front for the install/equipment and the first month. Next, some creepy guy comes to your house and tries to suggestive sell you on $9,000 worth of equipment, which by the way, will ONLY cost you an additional $900 in install/equipment fees and another $50 per month on top of the original $40 per month you already agreed to pay. Of course, in his spiel, your area is VERY dangerous and it’s IMPERATIVE that ALL windows, doors, peepholes, cracks and crevices be set up with an alarm and preferably a camera and a direct line to the CIA.
So I get the standard, the one that I ALREADY paid for and I kick the creepy guy out. Now, one of the things you also have to get, which creepy guy pretty much brushes over the details of, is a permit with the city or county. This is like a registration with the local police. However, creepy guy did mention that they would take care of it for me. I thought this was great until I got a bill in the mail from them, asking me to reimburse them for taking care of it for me.
Fast forward to three months later when I am riding my bike to work and my phone rings. I ignore it because who the heck is calling me from a 1-800 number at five in the morning; I figure it must be an east coast telemarketer. Turns out it was the alarm company, calling me because the alarm went off for no reason. The police were dispatched and they did not find any signs of a break-in. I was happy to hear that, and I thought that was the end of that. Until I received a bill last week in the mail for $84 for a “false alarm”. I thought, “No problem. I have a permit. I will call them and tell them there has been a mistake”.
Not so fast, little girl. I looked it up and here are the details.
General False Alarm: With permit = $84, Without permit = $154
Robbery False Alarm: With permit = $156, Without permit = $226
Genuine: With permit = Free(!), Without permit = $70
So, the only way to save money is if your alarm is genuine, aka you get robbed by a burglar. Otherwise, instead of getting robbed by a burglar, you get robbed by the city instead.
Do you have a home security system? What are the rules in your area? If you don’t have an alarm, what frustrates you about one of the rules of YOUR neighborhood?