Although September is realtor safety month, the theme of safety can also be extended to door-to-door sellers. Here are six tips to protect your home and your privacy during the registration period.
1. Beware of stranger danger. If someone sees your sign for sale and wants an impromptu visit, explain to them that there is a process that must be followed before they can view the property. Not all agents, buyers and sellers are who they say they are. Provide contact information for your agent and direct all inquiries there.
It is always best to hire an expert real estate professional to list your home who can advise you on all the proper steps needed to show a home safely. When a licensed agent is hired to market and sell the home, the agent ensures that each potential buyer is escorted to and from the property. A good agent will also screen buyers to ensure they can qualify for the mortgage. Your listing agent can also advise you on best practices to protect both your privacy and your home during the listing period.
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2. Protect your home from germs. Strangers walking through the house are a justified health concern for sellers. Take some basic precautions. Leave hand sanitizer and paper masks inside the door when they enter. For upcoming screenings, turn on as many lights as possible and open all interior doors. This reduces surface contact inside your home with doorknobs and light switches. When you return, use disinfectant spray and wipes as needed.
3. Clean the house of sensitive personal information. Never leave mail lying around and keep all bills, bank statements, checkbooks, passports and other sensitive documents. Don’t put them on top of a desk drawer and assume they are safe. People – especially those looking for such information – will open drawers and cupboards. If you tend to leave sticky notes with passwords, delete them.
4. Lock up valuables and electronic devices. Never leave laptops, iPads, and other expensive electronics or other easy-to-take items such as jewelry, watches, gift cards, cash, or credit cards. If you own weapons, these must be locked up or removed from the property while the house is listed. Prescription drugs are another often overlooked area. A small object like this is easy to slip through without the presenting agent being aware of it.
5. Don’t invite unintended access to your home. It’s common to hide a key outside in case you get locked out. Most people place them in common places such as under a doormat, a flower pot or above the door. Experienced thieves know all the tricks. It’s not uncommon for a burglar to pose as a buyer and bag your home for valuables and how to gain access to them later. If you have an area where you hang spare keys, remove them before listing them. When you return after the visits, check that all doors and windows are locked and quickly check that nothing is missing.
6. Ensure the safety of visitors. Equally important is making sure your home is safe for potential buyers and agents to visit – loose railings, things they could trip over, loose rugs and poor lighting in areas such as basements. -floors are all areas to address before listing your home.
If you have pets, especially dogs, make sure you have a system to manage them during visits. Whether it’s crating your pets, confining them in a fenced yard, or taking them with you to an upcoming exhibit, it ensures the safety of both visitors and animals.
The real estate market is still very active, with a shortage of homes for sale to meet current demand. This is certainly true for Florida, especially for Sarasota’s sought-after real estate market. Putting these six security tips into practice will help ensure an easier and safer registration process.
Duff Rubin is the president of Coldwell Banker Realty in Florida.