Listing your home for sale is a major decision and one that you should be able to make without compromising your home’s security. There are ways to list your home for sale and open it to prospective buyers while maintaining a level of security that you feel comfortable with. Further, the best way to avoid being burglarized is to be aware of the tactics that some criminals use and to always stay a step ahead of them.
Security Dos and Don’ts When Selling Your Home
Don’t leave valuables out in the open ~ Make sure that things like expensive jewelry, cash, electronics and pricey tools are securely stored away before you allow strangers into your home. We sometimes tend to leave items like these out in the open when we are relaxing at home, but to a burglar posing as a prospective buyer, these items are too enticing to resist. If you have a home safe, store them there or place them somewhere where people are unable to find them in casual passing. Remember that masquerading thieves will likely open a few drawers and cabinets as they feign interest in a home, so also make an effort to avoid placing your valuables in such obvious storage locations. If at all possible, you may even want to consider taking your valuables to a friend or a family member’s home for safekeeping for a while.
Don’t allow people in your home when you are not there ~ Of course, this tip won’t work for everyone since many reading this have jobs or other activities that require them to be away from home when an agent wants to bring prospective buyers by. If possible, however, require agents to schedule appointment times to show your property and keep open house events scheduled for days when you can be at home. Be prepared that some may make you feel as though this is an inconvenience, but don’t let this deter you from your priority of monitoring your home.
Do check your doors and windows after prospective buyers have toured your home ~ Crafty burglars will often unlatch a window or a sliding door with the hopes of returning later and using that predetermined entry point. To avoid this from happening to you, take a few minutes to check all of your doors and windows to verify that your home’s security has not been tampered with.
Don’t leave keys out in the open ~ We often form habits of leaving our house keys in easy to locate places like a kitchen counter or a hook near the front door. Unfortunately, burglars posing as interested buyers count on you doing exactly that. To avoid a burglar walking away with the keys to your home, tuck them away somewhere safe or keep them on your person while strangers tour your home.
Don’t give agents your primary security code ~ Certain alarm systems allow you to set secondary codes for service people, housekeepers and others who may need access to your house when you are away. If you must allow a real estate agent to access your home at a time when you cannot be there, set a special code just for them and never give out your main code. When the temporary code is no longer needed, be sure to disable it so that it cannot be used in the future. If your alarm system does not allow alternative codes, strongly consider getting one that does or only allowing your home to be viewed by appointment.
Do make sure that your security cameras are operational when you are away ~ The next best thing to being at home when strangers are touring your house is to use security cameras. These can be inconspicuously placed throughout your home or can be placed in locations where they are easily seen. Either way, they act as deterrents to burglars while also recording what’s going on inside your castle while you are away. Installing outdoor security cameras is also a good idea to make sure that your home’s perimeter is secured at all times.
Do ask for identification ~ If prospective homebuyers would like to tour your home without an agent or if you are selling your home without a realtor’s help– or even if you are, but just want to be safe, don’t be afraid to ask prospective buyers to identify themselves before touring your home. Boldly, but politely asking for a state-issued identification card will likely unnerve a burglar who’s interested in your home’s layout and inventory. There’s a strong likelihood that requiring such an action will even be enough to deter them from trying to lift anything during their visit or returning for a more costly crime later.
Stand Your Ground
An old adage states that just because one is paranoid doesn’t mean there’s nothing to be afraid of. To some agents and prospective buyers your focus on security may seem excessive or paranoid, but the reality is that burglars often do pretend to be interested in buying a home simply to gain access to it in order to calculate how to best rob the current occupants blind. Stand your ground in keeping your guard up and placing your family’s safety above all else. Remember, also, that having a home security system not only increases your family’s protection, but may also be an attractive selling point to others who are conscious about security.