The vast majority of lookers are honest. However, there are criminals whose mode of operation is to disguise as a home buyer. Security measures are necessary for the possibility of visitors who see your home as an opportunity for crime and an easy mark for theft.
While I believe that the best way to sell your house is with the assistance of a Realtor, some homeowners prefer to handle it themselves. Here are 9 safety tips. I hope you’ll find them helpful and that you will contact me if you should decide to use a Realtor.
When someone rings the doorbell, you need to be prepared and take precautions to maintain safety for you and your family.
- Make all your showings, by appointment only. Get some information and check out the prospective buyer before you let them in your house. Always get a name and number and call them back to verify. Simply say, "let me check with my spouse for the best time and I will call you back."
- Don’t be home alone when a stranger visits. This ‘truth’ hurts. Yet, being robbed, raped, or even worse – hurts a whole lot more.
- Have visitors sign a guest book and ask to see identification. You are inviting strangers into your home and you have a right to know something about them. If possible, jot down a license plate number. Put the information in a safe place so if something happens, the police have a lead on a suspect.
- Hide all valuables. Jewelry, credit cards, guns, silverware, and collections. Anything of value needs to be well hidden. Hide ALL prescription drugs.
- Eliminate displays of personal information, such as which schools children attend.
- Never leave a message on your answering machine informing callers that you are not home. Don’t let strangers know your schedule, such as when you or your spouse are not home, when you pick up kids, when you work, when you will be on vacation, ...
- Request that visitors enter and exit through one door only. Have quick and easy access to all of your exits.
- Never leave a stranger alone and watch everything they do while in your house. Keep a reasonable distance between you and your visitor. Never enter a bedroom, den or other room with a visitor. You could be trapped inside. Stay in the doorway and don't be distracted.
- If you have a flyer about your house, do not put information on the flyer which would compromise security.
These Dallas thieves also work in teams. A friendly, clean cut couple makes an appointment to view your house. When they get inside one of them asks to use the bathroom. While in the bathroom they search for prescription drugs. There is a big market for these.
Or they may be planning to rob you later. A nicely-dressed, well-spoken woman comes to see your home. She loves it and asks to take some digital photos so her husband, who is away on business, can see the pictures. You have no objections. In fact, the imposter has just taken pictures of your most valuable possessions and documented the location of the rooms. If you have a home security system, she may have taken a picture of the motion detectors and the security key pad.
I watch out for my personal safety and screen all prospects before showing them a home. As a licensed real estate agent, I and my clients, benefit from a security system managed by our MLS. The security key box records every entry and identifies all agents that have entered a property. The seller’s agent can access the information not only for safety reasons but to get feed-back from agents that have visited the home.