You’re finally ready to put your house on the market! There are a million little details involved with selling a house, but the most important thing for you is to not add undue stress when you’re already so busy. As you walk potential buyers through your home, you need to stay safe. Read on to learn tips for selling your house safely and to avoid making yourself a target.
Only Show Your House by Appointment
When you want to sell your house, you may be tempted to let any interested party inside for a showing. But it’s important to remember “For Sale” signs are big signals to burglars. Sometimes houses for sale are empty, but even if they’re not, it’s much easier for them to case the interior for valuables and potential ways inside.
Spontaneously showing your house to someone who knocks on your door puts you at risk for several reasons. For starters, you may be alone. It’s never a good idea to let a stranger into your home – especially if you’re by yourself. Second, they may visit at odd hours, like late at night when it’s darker out with less activity in your neighborhood. Disarming your security system to let them in leaves you without protection at a vulnerable time of day!
Anyone who wants to legitimately consider your home will be willing to schedule an appointment with you or a real estate agent. This helps you get their information and ensure your agent or someone you trust can be there to help you show the house.
Store Your Valuables Someplace Safe
Most real estate agents will tell you not to hover over potential buyers viewing your home. This means you need to give them some space – which could be all an opportunist needs to swipe anything valuable:
- Portable electronics
- Credit cards
Anything left on tables, counters or in plain sight can be quickly grabbed and hidden in a purse or coat. Selling a home can be stressful, and you may not even notice it’s gone until well after the thief is gone.
If you own a safe or other lockable container, move smaller valuables inside until you’re done showing your house. For larger items, you can often move them into storage rooms or out-of-the-way closets. The important thing is to keep them out of plain sight and outside of arm’s reach.
Home Surveillance Cameras Can Be a Huge Help
Even with scheduled visits and helping potential buyers find their way around, you can’t pay attention to everything all at once. Home surveillance cameras are the ideal way to keep your house under watch no matter what happens.
Just the presence of home security cameras can be enough to deter would-be thieves from snatching something off a table or from snooping around outside too long. But in the event of a theft, they can be invaluable tools for collecting evidence to hand over to the police to help track down your belongings.
Keep Prescription Medications Hidden
In addition to your valuables, prescription medications are also commonly stolen. Most homeowners keep these types of medications in certain locations, like medicine cabinets, in bathroom cabinets or in other kitchen drawers.
Just like your other valuables, you’ll want to take these prescriptions and lock them away. While insurance can often cover the costs associated with lost jewelry or valuables, a day without your prescriptions could be dangerous for your health. Unfortunately, criminals who steal medications don’t often discriminate between the prescriptions they take.
You might not even realize they’re missing until you need them the next day, which might leave you going a day or two without critical medication. Lock them away to keep your family safe!
Lock Down Computers & Other Sources of Personal Information
Are you well-organized? Then you probably have old bills, tax documents and other personally-identifying documents in your home. File cabinets, folders or other obvious storage containers for your personal information may be an easier target for thieves than jewelry and expensive electronics.
Because of the volume and complexity of these types of documents, you may never realize they’ve gone missing. And, unlike jewelry theft, identity theft can have long-term effects on your life. Even after sorting out the initial shock, it could impact your ability to get loans or other types of credit even years later!
Like valuables, it’s best to hide these documents where they’re hard to access and harder to find. During a showing, it’s more important to stay safe than it is to keep them easily accessible.
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