A common complaint we get is that people who buy security alarms for their home have ‘faulty systems’. This is normally due to poor installation, bad wiring, or overall bad systems being put in place. We got a call last week from a gentleman located in Fort Collins named Gee Hernandez. Gee operates a lawn care company – www.siestalawncare.org. Gee mentioned that he was mowing his lawn outside of his home, and came too close to the home with his mower, and the alarm system went off in the home as a result. He said he checked to make sure that there was not an intruder in the home, and called ADT, his provider, immediately. The ADT representative had a technician come out to look at the problem, and there was faulty wiring within the system that was causing problems. This was not the first time he had issues with his alarm, and normally he said that there was one or two other instances monthly that would set the alarm off.
If you are having problems with your alarm system, there are some things that you can do immediately to check your system.
Reset the system. There is a reset button on almost every system, but depending on the system, you might have to call your provider, ADT is very good with customer service, and will walk you through the steps that you must take so when you reset, the police are not called.
Make sure that you are properly entering your password before you leave or upon entering your home. This may be very obvious, but we hear so many stories about people who are having problems either after or before entering their password.
Make sure that your entry doors are closing properly. If you have a security system in place and you are having problems, make sure that all of your doors are closing and locking properly. This is a common issue if you are having security system malfunctions, and is easily fixable.
To learn about how to avoid false security alarms, please take a look at this YouTube video done by ADT below, or contact us for more information.
We were asked recently what we thought about Xfinity Home Security, so we thought we would reach out to some of our colleagues who have Comcast Xfinity Services. Again, we chose realtors to ask because they see so many homes, and know what customers are saying.
Brad Sawatzky, a Realtor for Colorado Real Estate Pros in Fort Collins, CO said that he likes Xfinity because he the customer service is great across the board with Comcast. If one customer service rep can’t answer a question, another one will. Brad also said that he loves Xfinity Home Security because the price is right. ‘This is a relatively new service compared to other home security providers out there, but they are always working to make things better’. The price of Xfinity is 29.95 to 49.95 per month currently depending on if you have other services bundled together with it. This may include an installation charge, but you can always ask for that fee to be waived if you sign a contract for 12 or 24 months.
Mike Fall, a Realtor for the Red Door Group in Broomfield, CO said that he uses Xfinity because it’s simply easier to pay the all in one package for his internet, TV, and security all in one, and he gets a cheaper rate than if he had separate service with both. ‘I was with ADT for a very long time, and I got tired of having to contact them about every little thing that was happening with my home security alarm. They were unresponsive, technicians showed up late, and they didn’t do what they said they would do on the installation. Xfinity is so much better than ADT.’
Xfinity is starting to gain traction in the Home Security Industry because of the massive reach they have. Our only worry about this is that they get so big and become much like ADT with their poor customer service habits. For now, Xfinity is getting better reviews among the population than some other large Home Security System dealers. Just be careful that you ask Comcast and Xfinity the right questions like we posted about earlier. Don’t fall into the category of the people who listen to the customer service reps tell you that their company is the best. Most reps from most companies are simply trying to win your business to gain the commission that is coming to them.
For our notes, Xfinity has been reviewed quite well by our colleagues, which gains credence with us.
Because most people don’t know what questions they should ask before they buy a Home Security System, we will help you out! The questions you should ask are:
How much does it cost? There are simply home security systems that you can buy online for as little as 30 bucks, or you can purchase something from a very reputable company like Frontpoint for upwards of $300 (depending on specials). Make sure you shop around before you buy a home security system and ask at least 3 companies the same questions before making a decision.
What is the Installation process? This is very important, and has been scrutinized throughout the industry. You want to make sure that your control panels are somewhere that you can get to right when you open the door without having to navigate your way through your house before turning them off. How long will it take the technician to install the system properly? What if the installer does not do their job correctly, is there another person to come out and re-do the work? All very important questions to ask when deciding on a home security system.
What are the different monitoring options I have? There are many different systems out there, and there are many different options to every system. You should be aware of the different sensor options, keychain options, monitoring options, and notification options (very important).
Probably the most important question – What happens if my home is broken into? Don’t forget to have your customer service representative ask this question. The answer should be that you and the authorities will be notified ASAP, and if nobody answers any phone lines from your home, the police will be sent to your home right away. Make sure you get a clear consistent answer to this question, and you know the facts before choosing a provider.
Some of the realtors that we spoke with said that asking if you need a land line is a very important question. For Frontpoint, that answer is no, and most security alarm companies should be progressive enough to offer a cellular connection, but make sure you get the answer you are looking for with this. If you don’t have a land line, and you don’t plan on getting one, choose a company that offers the cellular connection.
What are the contract terms, or do you have a contract? The answer to this should be that every company has a month to month plan that you can ask for, but the cost for the month to month may be a bit higher than a 6 or 12 month term. Clarity is needed in this answer before agreeing to a contract.
That’s about it. If you have any more questions that you think need to be asked when first contacting a Home Security Systems Alarm company, let us know below in the comment section.
We polled a dozen real estate professionals in Frisco, Texas to see what they thought or what they had heard about ADT security systems. Their reviews are very consistent with what we see reviewed online, that ADT is middle of the road when it comes to home security systems. ADT is probably the most recognized brand out there due to their long history of marketing their services, so they are the most used home security system, according to Consumer Reports.
The reviews that we received were varied across the board, but generally, ADT received about 3.75 stars out of a possible 5 according to our research. We looked on a couple other review websites, and the results were varied as well, so we will stick with what our Frisco realtors told us.
Customer Service – Shoddy at best. This depends on what customer service representative you get, and how long they have been with ADT. If our realtors clients contacted someone who had been with the company for a long period of time, they were often times very knowledgable, but also somewhat grumpy. One person described their conversation with the ADT representative as disinterested. ‘The ADT rep did not seem to really care about my problem, all they wanted to do was get me scheduled with a service tech so they could get me off the phone and go on with their day. They made me feel stupid, and I was less than thrilled when I got off the phone.’
Equipment – ADT makes up for their poor customer service with first class equipment. They have top of the line monitors, have sensors installed all over homes, keychains are distributed to customers, along with indoor cameras, smoke detectors, etc. They have the equipment to really make the customer feel safe when they are signed up with ADT.
Equipment Warranty – Terrible, according to our poll takers. This was given 1.5 stars out of a possible 5. Some sensors had been damaged by weather and condensation on the inside of windows, and ADT made the customer pay for the sensor. Pretty awful on their part.
Ability to Relocate – Again, not very good here. ADT got a 3.25 out of a possible 5. Relocation should be easy, especially when it comes to a cable company, security company, or a phone company. This isn’t one of ADT’s strong suits, and we noticed that a lot of their customers that had reviewed this service were not happy.
Overall, we’d say that ADT didn’t receive a very good review from our poll. Like we said in the last post, Frontpoint is pretty much leading the way in terms of customer satisfaction from an overall viewpoint. But ADT is the big dog in the industry, and you will find that they sell the most security systems out there, and maintain the most plans among the national base.
From time to time, we will ask poll questions to people who see and hear a ton of security system stories. Mostly, this is realtors because they see a lot of home security systems installed. This last week, we polled 10 realtors in Cincinnati Ohio to ask what they thought was the best security system on the market. Out of everyone that we have polled, the answer to the question ‘What is the best home security system’ is not unanimous, but it’s pretty close. Frontpoint Security Systems are the number one security system on the market. You can’t get much better than them in a number of areas. Those reasons are listed below:
Customer service – Every representative seems to be genuinely concerned about your well being, and doesn’t really care about landing a commission on the back end of your call. They are quick, responsive, and helpful. When something goes wrong such as a security system malfunctions (which according to them doesn’t happen very often), or a cellular connection goes down, they are quick to help customers find a solution.
Cost – This is not cheap, but it’s transparent. Last time we checked, pricing was listed on their website, and there are no upcharges for adding an extra cellular line, or if something is broken, they are quick to replace it free of charge. That is not the norm in the home security system industry.
Cellular monitoring. This is different from other security systems that have hard wiring as their monitoring device. If a burglar comes in to break into your home, the cellular monitoring will still get through to Frontpoint, and alert your local Police station via 911 call. Translation – There is no worry over wires being cut and you being in danger of not having the authorities notified in case of an accident.
Along the same lines as cellular monitoring, Frontpoint has smash and grab protection, meaning that if a burglar tries to disable your security system by simply smashing it, Frontpoint sends is notified and immediately calls your cell phones/landlines on file to see if you need further help. Cell phone is always first, landline is second, unless no cell phone is identified.
Pamela Kurtz, a real estate professional in Cincinnati, was asked what she thinks of the Frontpoint system. She responded ‘I think it’s the best security system out there because of the service that the company offers. Their awareness of what questions each customer will ask is always spot on, and they seem to have the answers before the customer is done asking their question’.
Because of all the input we received, we have given Frontpoint our 2015 ‘Best Security System of the Year’ award. Very well done to Frontpoint.
When you decide to get an alarm system for your home, you can’t just go into the first store or the first website that sells these things. This is because there are plenty of alarm systems that are designed for a home, so you need to see what each of them does. It’s important to see both the brick and mortar stores, but also the online stores to see different kinds of alarm systems, and most importantly, you need to read as many reviews as possible.
There will always be a difference, not only in price, but also in what each system can do. A review will tell you everything you need to know about it. For example, there are home security system alarms that are adequate for a small house, while there are others that can be used for both domestic and commercial buildings. There will also be a difference in price, so you need to find the most competitive seller. The review will tell you where the system works best – on residential or commercial buildings, so read carefully.
Each system has its own unique features. When you’ll read the reviews for more of them, you will realize that even if there are common features, there will also be something that will be particular for each system.
For example, you might get a system that offers you protection for a certain area of the house – like the room where you keep your documents, your office or even your bedroom (this will be your choice to designate that area), or you will get increased protection for the garage or the perimeter of the yard.
There are also systems that are linked to a security company – the system will send a signal to their location to let them know that there was a breach in the perimeter, and they will get there as soon as possible. You’ll have to expect this to be a little more expensive, but it’s definitely worth it as they can get the burglar before the police does.
The Installation Method
Each system has a different installation method. You’ll be able to get more info on this from a review, so keep yourself informed before you choose one. There may be wires spread and installed through all the house and the exterior, or there might be a central unit that will cover up all the area that you need.
The reviews will tell you exactly how each system works, so that you can choose one that fits your preferences.
We’ve talked earlier about the price, that this can be different from seller to seller. Indeed, those who have written the reviews will tell you the usual price that the system is sold for. However, you will also get information about other prices practiced by other sellers. What you need to understand is that each seller gets his systems from the same provider, and the difference in the price that you see is his own profit. You can look for more sellers and choose one that has the lowest price – for the same system, you will get the same quality.
Of course, you need to stay within your budget, so get a home security alarm system that you can afford to buy. You’ll surely find one that has many features and it’s easy to operate if you look carefully enough.
The Personal Impressions
The reviews are always written by people – it’s a fact, but what you didn’t know is that those reviews are written by people who have already used those alarm systems. There are two types of reviews – one that you see on the site of the seller – these are usually looking like stars and the more stars a product has, the better it is. People use these stars to show how pleased they were with the product – one start for “not satisfied at all” and five stars for “extremely satisfied”. Look for those products with 4 or 5 stars.
The other kind of review is the one that looks like an article – that will contain all the details that you want to know about the product – how it works, how it can be installed, how easy it is to operate, if it is working properly, if it has any failures, what is its price and so on. It’s important to read them both, because you will get plenty of useful information and it will help you determine which is the best home security alarm system for your house.