Last fall, there was a well publicized case about a couple who stole over $500,000 in valuables while posing as homebuyers. This is one of those uncomfortable topics but, it is serious business which all home sellers need to think about.
In almost every house I show, I could point to one or more risks the sellers have not addressed. For example, people write on their big wall calendars when they plan to be away. They leave out charge card bills which could lead to identity theft. They leave jewelry or other valuables out in plain view. They leave medicine bottles out on counters which are an invitation to addicts and dealers, who fetch up to $50.00 per pill for certain common drugs.
Understand how thieves work. They often do so in pairs using diversion tactics. One will engage you or your agent in conversation while the partner goes off in other areas. An experienced agent will pre-qualify potential buyers, they will have obtained identification before viewing homes, and, they will keep the parties together when walking though your home. They will follow the buyers rather than lead the tour so they can protect your security.
Here are nine basic steps you can take in order to protect your home:
• Never leave cheque books, credit cards, banking or private papers out in the open
• Never let anyone in who does not have an appointment and who has not been pre-qualified to view your home. If someone knocks on the door, politely let them know it is not a good time and ask them to please call your/their agent to arrange a viewing.
• Never leave money jars or special collections of any kind in plain view.
• Never leave valuable jewelry or watches in jewelry boxes or out in the open.
• Put medicines and prescription drugs away and hard to find.
• Close calendars or put away vacation itineraries or anything else that may tell someone, at a glance, when you might be away.
• ALWAYS lock your door and let the agent use the lock box. Lock boxes record access and egress. I don’t want people to know that you don’t lock your door so please don’t have showing instructions that say, go ahead and the door is always open. (Yes, we hear that all the time).
• Lock gun cabinets.
• Don’t leave spare keys around – especially if they are tagged.
When you sell your home, you are inviting strangers to enter into your private domain. Please take security precautions to ensure that your home selling experience is a happy one.
Marg Scheben-Edey is a Broker with RE/MAX four seasons realty limited, Brokerage in beautiful Collingwood, ON. With three decades of experience, Marg is a leader in the local real estate marketplace and is ready to help guide both Buyers and Sellers in achieving their real estate goals. Email Marg