What Safety Procedures Should I Follow When Selling My Home?
When selling a home, there are dozens of questions running through a sellers mind. Many of the most frequently asked questions from home sellers relate to topics such as interviewing agents, how to price a home, and the cost of selling a home.
One topic that isn’t normally running through a sellers mind is what safety tips should be followed when selling a home. Why more sellers aren’t concerned about safety when selling a home is quite surprising.
The reality is that crime, such as theft and break-ins, can occur while selling your most prized possession. It’s important when selling a home that home owners are protecting themselves and their property.
Below are the top 9 safety tips when selling your home. These 9 tips should be followed by every home seller because while you don’t expect to have an issue when selling a home, it can happen.
Discuss Showing Procedures With Your Realtor®
There are some home sellers who wonder if hiring a Realtor® to sell a home is worth it. There are dozens of reasons why hiring a Realtor® is worth it when selling a home. One important reason is that a Real Estate agents knows how to advise homeowners on how to protect their home and themselves during a home sale.
It’s very important when selling a home that showing procedures are discussed. Some of the most important procedures to discuss with your Realtor® include;
- Will a lock box be placed on your home?
- If a lock box is placed on your home, which type?
- Will people and/or other agents know there is a lock box on the home?
- Who is responsible for securing the home?
- Who will watch prospective buyers as they view the home?
- How will the showings be tracked?
Sellers should discuss these questions and procedures with their Realtor® well before showings begin. There are some real estate agents who will indicate in their listings that the property is on a lock box, especially if they’re selling a vacant home.
This is certainly not recommended because tracking showings becomes more difficult for the listing agent. In addition the difficulty of tracking showings, there are likely some agents in the business who’ll give a lock box combination to buyers even though they absolutely should not.
Putting a lock box on a home while selling is very popular, if it’s the proper type of lock box. The ideal type of lock box, and the safest, is an electronic lock box that can only be accessed by real estate professionals. An electronic lock box can be read by your real estate agent if there is ever a problem. Electronic lock boxes record the date, time, agent and who they work for. In the real estate industry these are known as Supra Keys.
If there was ever a problem your agent can see exactly who entered the home and when! A nice perk for using this type of lock box.
Don’t Let Anyone in Who Comes Without an Appointment
One of the most important pieces of advice to follow is to NEVER let a stranger into your home. Occasionally, it is possible that someone will see the for sale sign on your lawn and be brave enough to knock on your door. They will say something to the effect that they love your home and would love to take a peak inside. DO NOT let them in!
While the percentages weigh heavily in favor that this is just someone who is really interested in your home, you just never know. It is advisable to politely say I am sorry and ask them to call your real estate agent or theirs. If they are really interested in seeing the home they will schedule a showing.
Lock Away Any Valuable Items
The number of times when real estate agents see valuable items around a home while showing is far too many. A somewhat obvious, but very important, safety tip to follow when selling a home is to lock away any valuable items during showings.
Valuable items that should be locked away while selling a home include jewelry, money, car keys, credit cards, and house keys. The most ideal place to lock away valuables while selling a home is a secure safe. If you don’t happen to have a secure safe, then it’s recommended you remove these items while the home is being shown.
Remove Prescription Drugs & Medication
Another safety measure to consider while selling a home is to remove all prescription drugs and medication. A couple of years ago there were many stories being heard from home sellers relating to stolen prescription drugs and medications.
It’s suggested that when selling a home you clean out any medicine cabinets and other places where drugs and medication may be stored, such as kitchen drawers/cabinets or nightstands.
Put Away Bills, Calendars, Invitations, & Other Mail Pieces
One of the biggest crimes nowadays in the United States is identity theft. Criminals are able to steal a persons identity fairly easily and with limited information about a person.
Another important safety tip to follow when selling a home is to put away personal bills, calendars, invitations, and other mail pieces. There is often important personal information on these items and if this information ends up in the wrong persons hands, it can easily lead to identity theft.
In addition to identity theft, there is also a risk that account numbers are present on things that are received in the mail. Bottom line, put away anything that could lead to identity theft or could give someone information as to your whereabouts, such as a calendar or invitations.
All it takes is a thief to pick up one of your credit card bills and they will have your account numbers. Don’t take a chance on this happening.
Password Protect Your Computer
Criminals get more elusive all the time in the ways they come up with to rip people off. Another excellent safety tip when selling your home is to password protect your computer. For a criminal, it would be very easy to spend a few minutes and get into areas of your computer where important account numbers could be found. While this may seem a bit extreme, it is always better to be safe than sorry!
Depersonalize Your Home
One of the best tips for preparing a home for sale is to depersonalize a home. One of the reasons why depersonalizing is a good idea while preparing a home for sale is because personal items can often distract buyers while they’re viewing a home. This takes away from the main purpose of looking at the home, which is to actually look at the home, not the personal items.
Depersonalizing a home is also a great safety tip to follow when selling a home. One of the most important pieces of real estate marketing are the photographs that are posted online. Once a home is listed for sale and entered into the local MLS (Multiple Listing Service), the information and photos of the property are sent to hundreds of real estate websites.
Photos of homes for sale are available to every Tom, Dick, and Harry and having personal pictures of a child or family online could be dangerous. A popular decorating touch for a child’s room nowadays is having their name written on the wall of their bedroom. Removing this decorating touch prior to listing a home for sale is a safety tip to follow when selling a home with kids.
Skip Open Houses
Last but certain not least, skipping open houses is a safety tip to follow when selling a home. Open houses are a very controversial topic with real estate agents and home sellers. Many sellers grapple with the question, “are open houses necessary to sell a home?”
The answer is NO! In fact, less than 5% of homes actually sell as a direct result from an open house.
Open houses are a fantastic opportunity for real estate agents to meet prospective buyers. The problem is that most real estate agents who’re advocates for open houses don’t disclose to their sellers that they’re benefiting the most from the open house.
While open houses potentially offer a great opportunity for real estate agents to prospect, they’re also a fantastic invitation for crime. During an open house, there isn’t a way to know exactly who is walking through the home.
In addition to not knowing who is actually walking through the home, at a busy open house, it’s difficult for an agent to watch all of the attendees.
There are significantly more downsides of an open house than there are positives. The best way to sell a home is to have private showings. This requires a buyer to contact a real estate professional to schedule a showing for a home.
This gives a real estate professional the opportunity to screen potential buyers to make sure the buyer is who they say they are and also that they’re pre-approved for a mortgage to actually buy the home.
Saying NO to open houses is not going to kill a home sale. If a home is priced right and marketed properly, it will sell even if there aren’t any open houses. Not having open houses is a simple, yet effective, safety tip to follow when selling a home.
Think About Home Security Cameras
If you are selling a luxury home with lots of valuables or just want to take extra precautions, think about getting some home security cameras to station around your property. Safewise has some great options for home security devices that you can add fairly inexpensively. Keep in mind you can take these with you to your next home so it’s not a bad investment.
If there was a problem you can have the piece of mind knowing that it will be caught on camera.
Safety is often overlooked when selling a home which can be a big mistake. All home owners should be well aware of the above safety tips when selling a home. Following these home selling safety tips can be the difference between a crime occurring during a home sale or not.
Other Home Selling Security Resources
- Open house security tips via Anita Clark.
- Keep your home safe when selling via Paul Sian.
- How to prevent theft at an open house via Maximum Real Estate Exposure.
Use thee additional resources to keep your home safe when it is up for sale!
About the author: This article on safety tips when selling your home was written by Kyle Hiscock, one of the top Rochester NY Realtors, with RE/MAX Realty Group. He is the founder and owner, Rochester Real Estate Blog, where he frequently publishes helpful real estate related content.