Whether you like it or not, selling a home can put you in harm’s way, and you should take the necessary precautions.
It’s an inconvenient truth about the buying and selling process, but one that bears repeating – as a real estate agent, you open yourself up to safety concerns when selling a home.
Really, all one has to do is conduct a simple Google search for “real estate agent attack” to find numerous examples of agents who faced dangerous situations during open houses, home showings and other chapters in the home selling process.
So with that in mind, here are four tips to keep in mind when selling a home:
1. Stow Away All Valuables – This first point may seem obvious, but we still hear the occasional story of jewelry, clothing and other valuables being lifted during home showings and open houses. Obviously, you want the home’s attractive nuances to show through in its decorations and designs, but anything that is inconsequential to the prospective buyer’s impressions, such as video game systems or tablet computers should be hidden – and not mere minutes before a showing. As Tracey Hawkins, the founder of Safety and Security Source, explained to Realtor Mag, you should keep these things in mind when promoting the property, as well. “Too many people fail to consider that criminals nowadays can case houses from the comfort of their computer. They can see all the person’s valuables when you put them in fliers and on a website.”
2. Hide Prescription Drugs – The obvious valuables, though, should not be the only thing you store before selling a home; prescription drugs are also a common source of theft, and should be made inaccessible. A recent survey at the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors Expo, for instance, found that nearly half of agents reported prescription drug theft at open houses.
3. Create a Safe Haven – Whenever you are showing a home to prospective buyers, you’ll want to transform the home into a safe haven, and that means doing the following: turning on all the lights in the house (even during the daytime), so that there are no dark spots; eliminating any potential hazards, such as loose floorboards, rumpled carpets and spills; and removing anything that could be used as a weapon from visitor access.
4. Beware the Unexpected Visitor – You’ll do good to warn your clients of any unexpected visitors. A for-sale sign is an attention-grabber, and it’s hardly surprising when someone from off the street approaches a home seller with an interest in touring their home. As humbling an experience as that may be, you’ll want to tell your clients that as the agent, only you should be showing their home.
5. Take the Necessary Precautions – Finally, you’ll want to take any other necessary precautions, such as enrolling in self-defense courses, carrying mace or downloading a highly rated safety app to your phone.