Keeping Your Home Safe While It’s For Sale
Ways to keep your home safe while it’s for sale/listed on the market.
If you have your home for sale in Northeast, Ohio, or are considering listing your home, I’m sure you’ve thought about the potential dangers involved. There’s the standard theft, accidents on the property while it’s being shown and just the idea of strangers coming through your property frequently. A lot can happen during your listing period and while your home is vacant. Here are some things to consider and ways to keep you and your home safe while it’s listed for sale.
Never let strangers in! You may be tempted to discuss your home with someone that stops by off the street because you are anxious to get it sold. Avoid temptation and give strangers your agent’s contact information instead. Never let anyone inside even just to “peek” at the house.
Always keep doors and windows locked while the home is for sale. This may seem like a natural deduction, but many people (dangerous or innocent) see a for sale sign in the yard and think they can walk the property or take a look through the windows/doors. Make sure everything is locked up tight all the time. Especially if the home is empty while you’re selling it. Also make sure the windows and doors are locked after a showing. There was an incident recently in Cleveland, Ohio, where a man was calling Realtors to show homes or visiting open houses and unlocking the windows to enter “later”, so double checking the locks daily is important.
Keep all personal and valuable property at someone’s house you trust. Keep anything of value such as jewelry, expensive furs, coins, bank statement, important documents, medications, antiques, a valuable collection of something, etc., away from temptation. Many different people will be filtering through your home while you’re away. Don’t leave anything out or even hidden in your home that is of worth.
Make sure your real estate agent has a fresh, new lockbox code on your home. Many agents will use the same lockbox for years and never change it, or just simply use the factory code that is standard and known to many. Watch your agent change it. You can even pick your own code. Make sure you know what your Realtor changed it to in case you need to get inside of the lockbox.
Your Realtor should be vetting buyers properly. When you’re interviewing real estate agents to sell your home, make sure you have the discussion about vetting and qualifying home buyers. They should never show your home to someone who calls them that morning. Most good Realtors will make sure their home buyers are financially qualified through a reputable mortgage lender first. They will have gained a rapport and a relationship with their buyers before even stepping foot in your home. I say most, but not all. There are still agents that are willing to show a home quickly in order to “keep” a buyer or they feel pressured to show a home without a pre-approval. Remember, your home will be shown by other buyer agents, and it’s not always possible to know if their buyers are pre-qualified or not.
Keep drapes, curtains or shades on the windows/doors. Leave a light on or two in the home at night. Nothing screams “break into me” like a dark, vacant home with a big FOR SALE sign on the lawn. Copper plumbing and aluminum siding are a hot item today with thieves. Don’t let them think the house is empty or you could have huge problems with your property. it’s just not “worth it” for you.
Security systems, additional lighting and surveillance cameras are other items you can install to make sure your home has the extra steps in place to ensure safety and security. Not everyone takes these additional measures but they’re definitely a good option!
Open houses are an open invitation. Open houses may be a good idea to you and your agent, but keep in mind it’s an open door for non-qualified buyers, strangers and neighbors to easily get into your home and browse all of your belongings, rooms, items and learn more about you and your home. Literally anyone can walk off the street into your home. In the event someone is casing you home for a future break-in, you don’t want to just invite them in and make it easy for them. Watch out for large groups of people at once and anyone that may look suspicious.
Remove pets from the home before it’s being shown by a buyer agent or the listing agent. If your animal bites a buyer, it will come back to bite you. You’re held liable for animals while someone is inside or on your property. Don’t assume a snake or rabbit in a cage or aquarium is innocent. Often times buyers bring children with them and you’d be surprised how tempting it is to people to pet your pet. This includes, dogs, cats, mice, rats, spiders, birds, guinea pigs, lizards and so on. Any animal that bites or scratches is included!
Lastly, use common sense. Does your home look unoccupied? Is it filled with valuables that stand out? Do you have a dangerous walkway or set of stairs someone could get injured on? Take a good look at your home on all levels and view it as a stranger would. Make sure you have a good relationship with your Realtor and you know what to expect from them and how they intend to help keep you and your home safe while it’s for sale.
If you would like to discuss selling your home or need additional advice about the sale of your home or preparing it for sale, contact Cecilia Sherrard with RE/MAX for all your real estate needs. You can also find your home’s current value in Ohio with no obligation.