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May 18, 2017 7:28 PM   Subscribe

Home security question. Can I cheaply and safely rent a nonmoving car to sit in my driveway? Snowflakes to follow

Hey all- (IDK how to Google this!) I need to leave my apartment (duplex) for ~2 weeks to go see Mom- really soon. I continue to not know people in my current town, and I reckon it's apparent to my neighbors that I live alone. I am far from wealthy. I'd like my stuff to be here when I return. I'll set timers for the lights. All I want is a car parked in my driveway so it looks like there's a presence. Where can I find a car to park there in my absence, without telling a stranger that my home is empty for x # of days? I'm trying to avoid a house sitter just because of expense (~$20/day. Reasonable otherwise, but Ouch.) Can you think of any other places to look, or ask, as opposed to Craigslist? I'm willing to pay, but I'd hoped to keep it minimal since it's just a car, which needs no food or wifi. Thanks in advance, and any thoughts are welcome, as I've run out-
posted by JulesER to Travel & Transportation around Colorado Springs, CO (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Why do you have to pay for a house sitter? There are a lot of places where there is a small sign up fee and then someone comes for free. Places like Trustedhousesitters.com, mindmyhouse.com etc. No one expects you to feed them.

You could ask a local garage if they have anything they could leave on your drive?

I am pretty certain if you asked around a random person would leave their/a car on your drive for $50 for two weeks.
posted by TheGarden at 8:14 PM on May 18, 2017

Depending on where you live you might be able to rent out your driveway as a parking space.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:07 PM on May 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

I am a little confused as to why you think a car sitting in the same spot for two weeks without moving will make people think someone is home. I think it might call attention to the fact that no one is home.
posted by AugustWest at 9:19 PM on May 18, 2017 [15 favorites]

Response by poster: I am a little confused as to why you think a car sitting in the same spot for two weeks without moving will make people think someone is home.

Ah, good point- I should explain. I work from home, and I'm also a student, so my car is present along with me much of the time. I go out to shop, hike, yada yada just a couple of times a week. So, my plan is consistency, just in case my car's absence is noticed.

Also, a 'random person' would be aware of my absence, and my home's vulnerability. Maybe makes sense? - I think being paranoid like this has helped me keep my stuff thus far.. :)
posted by JulesER at 9:47 PM on May 18, 2017

Does your mom have a car you can use while you're there? If so, you could rent a car just for the days you're driving there and back, leaving your own car in your driveway.
posted by whoiam at 10:36 PM on May 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: How about you get a housesitter for the middle week, so that your house is empty for three days, full for a week, then empty for three days? That significantly cuts down the amount of time anyone might spend thinking your house is empty.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:18 AM on May 19, 2017

Sign up for Nextdoor.com and ask if anybody in the neighborhood wants to park in your driveway for a couple of weeks. The only people who will see the post will be your actual neighbors. Don't put your actual address in the post, just give the general area. They'll have to use their real name to answer, and you don't have to give them your address until you've agreed to the deal. If there are no takers, you're not out anything. (I think when you sign up the site makes your location visible by default, so you'll want to switch that off.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:40 AM on May 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

I think you are worrying about nothing. Is there a reason that you can't tell your neighbors that you will be out of town, and ask them to call 911 if they see anything weird going on? The odds that somebody is staking out your place watching for an opportunity to rob you is vanishingly small.
posted by COD at 5:24 AM on May 19, 2017 [16 favorites]

Specific to the car question: If you know any neighbors, you could ask them to use your driveway off and on instead of their own. That way a car is coming and going.

To the bigger question of making it look like you're home when you're not: the good old fashioned light timer is tried and true, but won't fool anyone actually staking out your place. Of course, nothing will fool anyone staking out your place, because they will see no one coming or going. But the odds of you being a specific target are low.

For peace of mind, I'd recommend an IP camera, like the Nest. I have one that I use when out of town. I also have a Ring doorbell. This can all get pretty pricey, so if you don't travel often it still might make sense to pay a house-sitter if you have to. However, there are much lower cost cameras available.
posted by The Deej at 5:50 AM on May 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Instead of paying for a housesitter for every day perhaps you could pay for someone to drop in at least X days for the time you are gone. Less expensive, but you can ask them to send you a pic when they do go so you know they are there and someone's specifically looking in.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:20 AM on May 19, 2017

This isn't car-related, but I remembered this survey of former burglars on what would deter them from entering a house. Short version: leave your television on.
posted by pangolin party at 6:26 AM on May 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

You could also look into renter's insurance, which might cost less than some options presented here, and protect you against a wide range of maladies.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:37 AM on May 19, 2017 [16 favorites]

I agree with RobotVoodo and COD.

1) You should have renter's insurance anyway, it's extremely cheap.

2) Just talk to your neighbors. It's ok if you've never talked to them before. If your neighbor came to you and said, "hi, I'm so and so from next door--I'm going to be out of town for two weeks, could you please call the police if you see anything weird at my apartment?" you would say yes, of course, right? Right. Most people are good people. It's ok to ask your neighbors this.
posted by phunniemee at 8:36 AM on May 19, 2017 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, all- lots of good ideas! However, I'm pretty that sure several (no exaggeration) of my perfectly nice neighbors are dealers, and though I have absolutely no beef with dealers, I don't know the lengthy stream of customers that visit. The have been incidences which give me pause. I'll definitely consider your input. Thanks again!
posted by JulesER at 8:58 PM on May 19, 2017

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