It’s better to be safe than sorry as the old adage goes… The same thing goes for real estate sales: when you’re listing your home take real world precautions like those that Lew Sichelman listed in his April 24th, 2011 posting in the LA Times.
Lew Sichelman went above and beyond when he posted his article in the LA Times this week; he wants to help keep the public safe, just as I want to help keep my Northern Virginia clients safe. Take it from Lew, or take it from me, when you’re preparing to sell your home, keep your personal safety in mind and remember to trust your instincts.
Here are the top Ten things to do to keep your home and family safe while selling a property in Northern Virginia straight from Sichelman’s article for your ease of use:
1. Identify unknown agents too. It’s easy for someone to print up fake business cards, so call the agent’s office to make sure that the person is who he says he is. Never let an agent directly into your house. Instead, make that person open the lockbox your agent placed on your door to gain access. Non-agents won’t be able to.
2. Pay attention to the way prospects view your house. Professional burglars often linger in rooms, looking for items they can dispose of quickly. They also search for ways to get in and out, scouting possible escape routes and checking for security devices. Couples up to no good often split up so one can case the joint while the other keeps you occupied.
3. Be mindful of someone who is asking unusual questions that have nothing to do with the house. Are you married or single? Do you live alone? What times does your spouse leave for work and return? What time do the kids come home from school?
4. Beware of callers who knock on your door at strange hours, either late at night or early in the morning. No matter who they say they are, ask them to make an appointment at a more reasonable time. If someone says he can view your house only at this particular moment, don’t believe him.
5. Before letting anyone in, turn on all the lights and open all the blinds, shades and curtains. Homes are safer for showing when someone outside can see inside.
6. In advance of an open house, remove your valuables, including jewelry, artwork and electronic equipment. You’re going to be packing them when you move anyway, so you might as well put them away for safekeeping.
7. And never leave money, mail, bank statements, credit cards or keys lying around. Keep them on your person, not in a drawer. It’s too simple for a petty thief to open a drawer when no one is looking. Lock up your prescription drugs too.
8. If a prospect or unknown agent shows up at your door unannounced, have him or her call your agent to schedule an appointment. No exceptions.
9. Never let a stranger into your home when you are alone.
10. Use common sense. If something seems “off,” you are under no obligation to speak to someone who makes you feel uncomfortable. Your safety is a priority.
If you have more tips as to how to keep safe while showing or selling property, share a story, or share the tip by connecting on Facebook or leaving a comment. We’re in this together!