Working with a trusted real estate agent to sell your home will hopefully attract wonderful people who'll admire your décor, swoon at your landscaping and vie to purchase your property for a handsome price. Unfortunately, it may also attract less desirable visitors. Your agent understands this and will take precautions on your behalf, as will other agents who bring their clients to tour your home.
Here are some ways you can help them ensure your safety and others' while your home is on the market:
1. Schedule showings ahead of time
A “For Sale” sign in the yard doesn’t mean “24/7 Open House.” Your real estate agent will insist potential buyers make an appointment ahead of time through your agent or their own. Frankly, it's standard procedure to schedule listings, and no one should be pressuring you to open your home to them without some advanced notice or verification from your agent that the individual is a serious shopper.
2. Take your family out of the picture
Yes, you're proud of your beautiful family, but you never know exactly the motivation of the people who will be touring your home. To help keep your family life private, remove photos from walls and shelves. Don’t forget the ones on the fridge!
3. Hide your prescriptions
Not only are prescriptions bait for drug abusers, the labels also have private information that could put you at risk for identity theft. It’s not enough to put your prescriptions in the medicine cabinet. Remove them from your bathroom or kitchen, and hide them in a secure place.
4. Protect your identity
Make sure to store away any bills, invoices or other documents that may contain your personal info.
5. Be smart about your lockbox
Think about removing the key from your lockbox at night, and ask your agent about changing the code periodically. Rest assured, lockboxes have been used for eons to provide safe and convenient access to homes for sale. Plus, agents do keep everyone's safety in mind at all times. But these couple of additional measures may give you and them a bit more peace of mind.
6. Stick with the sun
Schedule showings during daylight hours. Agents aren't likely to schedule late-night showings for their buyer clients, but there may be times when a group is running late to make the appointment they set to see your house. You do have the right to ask the buyer's agent to reschedule, if you'd rather not accommodate an evening tour.
7. Hide sharp objects and weapons
Remove your knife rack from view. Your knives may confirm your image as a gourmet chef, but no one needs to see or use them during a showing. The same is true for any firearms you may have on display in your home – even if they're in a locked display cabinet. It's best to keep these things out of sight.
8. Secure your jewels and other valuables
Diamonds, antiques, first edition Edgar Allen Poe? Lock them away. Remove and secure any valuables and heirlooms that may be easily picked up and carried off.
9. Follow up for safety
After a showing, the real estate agents who show your home should close and lock all windows and doors. Be sure to double check, though, or ask a trusted neighbor to be your eyes and ears when you're not around. Be especially careful to lock your home as you come and go during the time it’s on the market.
Your real estate agent may have additional safety tips to offer. Haven't contacted an agent yet? Find a RE/MAX agent near you who can help.