Home Security Systems: DIY or Have It Installed?

The home security solutions market is projected to surpass $47.5 million by the year 2020, according to a report from research firm Markets and Markets. This comes as good news for security-minded homeowners, who have more tools at their disposal than ever for protecting themselves, their loved ones, and their property.

But while more choices are ultimately a good thing, deciding between home security systems can be overwhelming — particularly when it comes to the question of whether to do it yourself or go with a professional installation. Here's a closer look at the pros and cons of each.

Professional Home Security System Installation

Home security professionals know all of the ins and outs of home security — from the best installation methods to the latest technologies aimed at safeguarding people and their homes. If you're short on time, lacking in technical skills, or simply want the peace of mind that comes with knowing you're getting the very best results from your investment, then a professionally installed security system may be right for you.

While you can expect to pay an installation fee when you hire a professional, the expertise you get with that installation cannot be overstated. A professional doesn't just show up and install the system, but can also evaluate your home for security issues and make preventative suggestions toward heading off break-ins. Furthermore, if a problem arises during installation, meanwhile, you'll benefit from onsite troubleshooting.

Additionally, the installation fee may be offset by the cost-savings discounts and incentives offered by many professional security system companies when you opt for installation.

Do-It-Yourself Home Security System Installation

DIY home security systems, which can be as simple or sophisticated as you need, also have their fair share of advantages. At the top of the list, for many budget-conscious homeowners is price. If you have the time and technical ability to take this job on yourself, you can expect to pocket significant savings. According to the website Money Crashers, the lowest self-install systems cost less than $200 — compared to upwards of $600-$800 for professionally installed systems.

And while the truth is that installing a home security system may not be as difficult as you think, you may still end up wondering whether or not you did everything correctly. (One “best of both worlds” solutions which can ease this concern? DIY companies which provide guidance throughout the self-install meaning you'll have increased confidence in your work.)

Many homeowners find one major upside of installing their own alarm system is having the freedom to do things their own way. While a technician is likely to follow a by-the-books setup, installing your own system allows you to customize it according to your own particular preferences. Of course, some professionals will work with you toward this goal, as well.

Additionally, if you're worried about dealing with potentially complicated wiring while doing your own installation, you can set aside these concerns. Why? Because today's DIY services are wireless, meaning you can put down the drill while still gaining access to security features like video surveillance just by attaching a few battery-powered sensors to your doors and windows.

One last thing to keep in mind? While there are pros and cons to both professionally installed and DIY security systems, experts recommend one thing for both: read the fine print carefully before signing any documents. Some contracts lock in a set price for a particular period of time — a potentially costly move given that prices frequently change.

Ultimately, choosing an installation method — along with the alarm system itself — is anything but a one-size-fits-all process. The more you know about the products, their costs, and your own unique needs, the more informed a decision you'll be prepared to make.

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