Sell Your Home and Keep Safe

(December 18, 2013 , posted in Selling)

When it comes time to sell your home one of the first concerns often voiced is for safety.

Who will coming through the house?
Will your Broker be present at all showings?
How will your Broker conduct an open house?

Every single one of these questions – and more – are a valid concern and should be addressed with your Broker.

I have personally had the experience of having expensive items stolen at my own open house when I was selling my home many years ago because the Broker we hired wasn’t doing her job… So, it is for this reason and because it is of the great importance to me that my clients feel safe when entrusting me with their most valuable asset that I take the utmost care when conducting a showing or an open at anyone’s home.

Here are some tips and conversation topics that should be discussed with your Broker upon listing your house.

  1. Hiding Valuables – this includes keys, jewellery, crystal, fur, credit cards, bills, sunglasses, small electronics like ipods, phones and even laptops should be safely tucked away.
  2. Remove Prescription Drugs – though it may come as a surprise to you, prescription drugs are among the top items of theft during an open house…the appeal of a free handful of pills is more common than you might think.
  3. Lock the Wine Cellar or give a key to your Broker so they can show it during a tour but keep it locked for the remainder of the time.
  4. Personal Information – tuck away any bills or mail with account numbers, balances or personal information on them.
  5. Do NOT show your home by yourself. Predators come in all shapes and sizes and a random inquiries or door knocks should be directed to your Broker right away.
  6. Pet Responsibility – if possible, remove all pets during a showing or open house. Doors and windows do get opened frequently during showings and you wouldn’t want any one of your pets getting scared and running away. Also, scared animals will act in surprising ways and if a potential buyer is attacked or scared by an animal during a showing, at the very least you could lose that lead and at the very worst, you could be faced with charges so play it safe and take them with you.
  7. Guest Sign-In – ask your Broker if they ask folks coming through your open to sign-in so there is at least some record of who is potentially coming through the house. At the very least you will get a more accurate picture of what kind of numbers are coming through and potentially feedback on what they liked and didn’t like about the house.
  8. Assistants – most Brokers welcome having someone join them at an open house – whether that is another Broker or an assistant from the office (it shouldn’t be the home owner). For their own safety, as well as the safety of your home, two is a better number for almost any open but especially if the property is larger. Some homes can take 15minutes or more to show and having a second person at the door to keep an eye and greet newcomers during an ongoing tour is a great idea for presentation as well as safety.
  9. Above and Beyond – if you have a lot of expensive and/or irreplaceable art work, collectibles or items of high value around the house that cannot be removed while on market; OR, you are simply someone with a concern for privacy in your home, you may request that your Broker keep the Open Houses limited to strictly individual guided tours. This means that during an open, your Broker will guide each new party coming through individually through the house before thanking them and starting with the next group who will wait at the front door while it is closed and locked. Truly interested buyers will be happy to wait 10-15 minutes at the door while the Broker finishes a tour. If they don’t want to wait, they really aren’t interested anyway.
  10. When you get home after an open house or a showing, give the house a quick once over and if you notice anything of concern, let your Broker know right away. If you are away on holiday, make sure someone is following up with your Broker and checking on the house and if you have an alarm, make sure you create a code for your Broker so she can use it to alarm the house upon leaving.

You can help protect yourself and your home against crime by having this conversation with your Broker before signing the listing agreement. If the Broker you are interviewing isn’t interesting in protecting your home with a little extra effort, chances are they aren’t interested in putting in the kind of effort required to market and sell your home properly anyway…however, you will find that most reputable Brokers are eager to address safety because every step they take to protect your home, is also a measure toward protecting themselves during the process.