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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Do you know how many people would like to get their hands on that Viagra or Prozac script? Lock them up or lose them.
If it has monetary or sentimental value take jewelry to a safety deposit box while your home is on the market.
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.
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.