Ready to Sell Your Home? Keep Safety in Mind
What other time in your life do you invite random strangers into your home? Probably never. However, when your home is listed for sale, strangers indeed view your home online and in person. At the first listing appointment with your real estate agent, go over this list of security items to keep your home burglar proof and to keep your items safe while your home is on the market.
Buyer Screening Process
Understand your listing agent’s buyer screening process. At a minimum, it should include a phone screening prior to showing the home. Discuss whether or not you want buyers to be pre-qualified before a showing and understand what safety precautions will be in effect at open houses and showings. Will an electronic lock box be used to track all home entries? Are photo IDs required for entrance? Is video surveillance being used? If so, ask your listing agent to include these in all advertisements.
15 Security Items to Pay Attention to When Selling
- Prescription Drugs
Remove them or lock them up prior to open houses and showings. Also, remove expired drugs from your cabinets and night stands.
A real estate agent is not responsible for your valuables. A selling agent cannot be present at all showings. Therefore, it’s important that you canvas your house prior to any video or photographs being taken to post online. Remember, thieves can look at your home from the comfort of their home. If your images include valuables, it may make your home a target. Consider removing artwork, gaming systems, jewelry, cellphones, guns, etc. Secure all credit cards and always keep mail locked and away so no one can get access to your personal information.
- Personal Identifiers + Family Portraits
A listing agent suggests removal of family pictures not just for staging but also for safety. You don’t know who will be coming through your home. What if a pedophile or predator attends an open house and photographs of your children are on the wall? Take down all family pictures. Be safe and protect your privacy. Hide all family calendars and anything with your children’s names or schools, including school banners and photographs.
Stow away your laptops and conceal all easy-to-steal electronics like iPad’s and cellular phones. Keep all video games hidden away.
- Windows + Lights
Keep windows locked and open the blinds or draperies, especially during open houses. Check all of them after showings and open houses. Are they still locked? Make sure your home has adequate indoor and outdoor lighting before listing it for sale. Leave all of the lights on during a showing for everyone’s safety: the agents and potential buyers.
- Spare Keys
Keep them out of sight. This goes for house, car, safety box, etc. All keys. Keep them hidden.
Try to find out if kids are attending a showing. If so, pay extra attention to your home’s safety. Is the entryway clean and clear? Any tripping hazards? Make sure a responsible adult will be watching them throughout the showing so they do not get into personal items. Speak to your real estate agent and ensure she will be vocal about kids not straying during a showing or at an open house.
- Knives + Guns
Always remove kitchen knives from countertops and drawers. If there are any guns in the home, remove them prior to listing the home for sale.
Always remove pets prior to a showing or open house. You will be liable if someone is injured by your pet while viewing your property. If someone has a pet allergy, it makes your home less desirable to them.
- Extra Security
Once the home is listed for sale, it’s available to the public. Consider adding motion-sensor detectors to the home. Make sure doors have deadbolts. Sliding glass doors should have bars and extra locks. And, for added peace of mind, consult your real estate agent about a wireless security system.
- Unaccompanied Buyers
Never allow someone into your home without a licensed real estate agent who has set an appointment with your listing agent. If they come to your door, refer them to your agent. Never let them inside the home. Also, be aware of online real estate scams where, unfortunately, someone can list your home for rent. If this happens, immediately call your local police department.
Never allow a potential buyer to roam unaccompanied through your home. You want to be trusting and hospitable, but you cannot be foolish. Do not let your guard down and never be alone when showing your home. Watch their behavior. Are they lingering too long? Be aware.
Most people coming through your home will be legitimate buyers. Still, take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety and your home’s safety during the sales process. Always enlist the services of a licensed real estate agent who knows how to protect you, your home and your possessions.
As a buyer, your safety is also foremost on a real estate agent’s mind when looking for your new home. It’s important to:
- Know the neighborhood you are considering purchasing in.
You will be advised to drive through the neighborhood at different times of the day to see if what it looks like and what is happening there meets with your standards and expectations. Check crime reports and sexual offender registries.
- Vacant and/or Distressed Homes
Prior to stepping inside, look around. Are there broken windows? Do outside walls or the roof have holes? What does the yard look like? Is it littered? Are there signs of squatters? Once inside, be on the lookout for loose floorboards, rotting decks, loose railings, stray animals, rodents or other hazards.
Be aware of the home’s history. Were there drugs like methamphetamines manufactured in the home? These drugs can seep into the surfaces without being visible and cause health related issues later. If you get a burning sensation in your eyes or throat when entering a home, that is not a good sign. Mold can result from moisture in homes where marijuana was grown. Look around carefully for signs of contamination.
Linda Leier Thomason is a retired CEO who writes freelance business and travel stories, along with feature articles. Her work experiences include a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government and small business. Find out more about Linda by clicking the “Meet Linda” tab above. Interested in working together? Complete this form.
©Copyright. April 2017. Linda Leier Thomason
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