Nine Safety Tips for Sellers: Protect Your Home While It’s on The Market

Refrigerators reveal a lot!

Refrigerators reveal a lot! (Photo: Karen Eubank)

Putting your home on the market means a lot of people are going to tromp through your house looking at your stuff. Potential buyers will peek in your medicine cabinet, try to get a glimpse at the labels on your clothing and check out the invitations on your refrigerator. Your wall calendar and that pile of mail on the counter are enough to tell a complete stranger your life story.

Most folks that come to see your home are legitimate buyers on a mission, but let’s face it, they’re still nosey. It’s human nature. We’re all curious about who lives in a house. Then there’s the odd duck that may not be interested in buying your home, but may be excited to know, according to your prominently displayed wall calendar, that your home will be vacant for two weeks while you vacation in the Bahamas. Oh, and that you have a great concealed wall safe that has been pointed out at the open house as a selling feature.

If you’re putting a home on the market, get smart and stay safe with these security tips every seller should know.

Protecting Your Identity (And Your Kids, Too)
Never leave checkbooks, bills, passports or statements of any kind lying around. Your name should not be seen on any document. We’ve all heard about identity theft. Don’t make it easy. That extends to your children, too. Kids’ names and photos tend to be everywhere — on walls, doors, bulletin boards, and artwork. It’s not anyone’s business who you are, much less who your children are. This extends to photos. As a criminal, if I see a photo of your child on the mantle, then go to her room and see her name plastered over her bed in cute letters, then see her soccer schedule on your fridge, I know how to get to your kid.

Electronics
Do you know how easily an iPad can be slipped under a jacket? Cell phones, iPods, and that ridiculously expensive math calculator you just purchased for your teenager are even easier to conceal. Take your laptop and iPads with you or lock them up. Ensure your desktop computer is locked and if turned on it is password protected. And your teenager should have that calculator in their backpack!

 

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Secure electronics or take them with you. (Photo: Karen Eubank)

Mail
Store it in briefcases that go with you or put into a locked drawer. Mail can pile up even if you are out of town for a weekend. It’s not a problem if you think ahead. Get someone to collect the mail or have it held at the post office. Nothing says, “Come on in and take everything I own,” like a full mailbox.

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A stuffed mailbox shows you are not home! ( Photo: Karen Eubank)

Lighting
Timers are a sellers best friend. Not only do they make your home look cozy and inviting when it’s dusk and your poential buyer is looking at your home after work, they also protect you. Put those timers on at different times. Don’t have them all come on at the 5 p.m. and go off at midnight. Make sure your exterior lights are in working order, too.

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Timers keep the house looking lived in and cozy. ( Photo: Karen Eubank)

Landscaping
Trim your hedges and trees so you do not leave a great hiding place for a potential burgler and you create maximum visibility for your property.

Prescription Medications
Do you know how many people would like to get their hands on that Viagra or Prozac script? Lock them up or lose them.

Jewelry
If it has monetary or sentimental value take jewelry to a safety deposit box while your home is on the market.

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On the market? Put jewelry in a safety deposit box. ( Photo: Karen Eubank)

Holidays
Presents out under the tree, especially small ones, can walk out the door with someone. It’s safer to wait for Santa to come than to have them out.

Security Systems
If your system allows, create a separate code for Realtors. Additionally, let your security system monitoring company know your home is on the market and which code is used for Realtors.

 

5 Comment

  • Good tips. Somewhat related – I don’t understand parents putting their kids’ names and sports on the back of their SUVs and in their yards. I wouldn’t want the general public knowing this information…

  • We live in Texas, another important item to put safely away are firearms. I always remind my clients to safeguard those as well. Great post!

    • Thanks Kim. We had that in our list but we had to cut somewhere, it was a long list! I’m very glad you mentioned it though because I’d say at least once a month I stage a house that has a gun safe. I have found Texas sellers to be very good about securing their firearms.

  • Great list Karen! I keep a list like this handy for clients but I added KEYS to the list – from house, car to sport utility vehicles, keys can be easily grabbed from a hook & made useful later if someone has ill intentions. Better safe than sorry as even though we hope that everyone in our home when selling is actually interested in buying, it’s a free invitation for someone who has no intention of paying for anything they shop for in your home.