When you are selling your home, you have no choice but to let strangers walk through your home. Although most people looking to purchase a home are honest, there are safety precautions that every homeowner needs to keep in mind.
Never Show Your Home Alone
If you choose to sell your home without the assistance of a real estate agent, ask a family member or friend to be with you during your showings.
Always Require an Appointment
During your open house or showing, strangers will walk around your home; however, you should avoid opening your door to a stranger at other times. If an individual requests a walk through without an appointment, refer him/her to your agent (if you have one); otherwise, ask him/her to call the number on your sign to schedule an appointment.
This allows you to:
- Prepare your home for a visitor.
- Contact someone to accompany you during the walk-through.
- Remember that safety must always be your first priority.
Prepare Your Home for a Showing
Before your open house or showing you need to open all your blinds, curtains and shades. This should be done in every room of your home. When outsiders can look inside your home, the chance of a criminal act occurring is decreased. Keep all valuables out of view.
- Important Papers
- Credit Cards
- Valuable Artwork
- Cell Phones
- Portable DVD Players
- Handheld Video Games
- Prescription Medications
- Do not have anything visible that details your schedule. For example, if you have a calendar on your refrigerator that outlines the family’s activities for the month, remove it.
Protect Your Children
- Family Photos
- Anything Displaying the Names of Your Children (Personalized Banners, Blankets, Backpacks or Artwork)
- Items that Identify Your Children’s Schools
Ideally, you should remove your free roaming pets from the home during your showings. If you are unable to remove them from the home, you need to make sure they are restrained in a way that they cannot cause harm to the agent and potential homebuyers. Should an animal cause harm to one of your visitors, you are held liable (which means you could be sued).
Safety Precautions During the Showing/Open House
Keep a Record of Visitors’ Identities
If you plan to sell your home without an agent, keep a log with details about the people who walk through your home. Do not take the individuals word for it; ask to see a photo ID. Explain this is just a security measure. Ask your friend or family member to jot down this information for you. This allows you to remain available to answer questions about your home.
Have your friend or family member write down:
- A Physical Description of the Individual
- Phone Number
- Driver’s License Number (Issuing State)
- Color, Make and Model of Vehicle
- Vehicle’s License Plate Number
Other Things to Keep in Mind:
- All visitors should enter each room before you do. This precaution ensures that you are not attacked from behind.
- Follow your instinct; if a visitor makes you feel uneasy remain alert.
After the Showing
Once the showing is complete, make sure all your doors and windows are locked. After an open house, thoroughly examine your home. Look in closets, under the bed, in your showers, etc. to make sure everyone is gone.