Keep Your Valuables and Personal Info Safe When Potential Home Buyers Come to Check It Out
Do you know which things you should safeguard the most when you place your home on the market and how to best do it?
When we sell our homes, we pay so much attention to cleaning the counters and floors, painting the walls, and baking fresh cookies. If you have a good Realtor, you'll know that potential buyers will be checking out everything from counters to inside drawers. So if you are selling your home, it's very important to take a few security precautions to make sure a nosy buyer doesn't get sticky fingers.
Prescription Drugs are a prime target
When potential buyers go through your home, they really do go through it from top to bottom. They open drawers and cabinets to get an idea of the amount of available space and to picture how their things will fit in your space. But if a drawer gets opened up and there just happens to be a bottle of prescription pain killers in there, there's a good chance that at least some of them can disappear.
Some thieves even bounce around various open houses where they can easily snag some quick prescription medications while remaining inconspicuous in the crowd. Drug thieves or addicts often go straight for the bathroom medicine cabinet to see what they can grab in a hurry before racing out the door.
Whether you have an open house or if your home is shown by appointment, make sure all medications have been removed from the home or placed in a secure lock box before letting other people in.
Don't forget about jewelry and Sources of personal info
Jewelry, checkbooks, Social Security cards, passports, cash, documents with personal information, and any other valuables should be placed into a secure lock box or removed from the home. You definitely don't want someone to steal your identity, but especially not at a time when you are trying to sell your home. Don't presume that potential buyers won't dig around. Even if someone doesn't steal one of your personal documents, it only takes a few seconds for an identity thief to snap a photo with a camera and walk away without being noticed.
Special Considerations for guns
Guns should be stored unloaded with a gun lock or placed into a gun safe. Apart from the risk of theft, you don't want a serious accident to happen when someone is looking at your home. Keep in mind, too, that North Carolina law requires firearms to be stored in a manner so as to prevent minors from from being able to gain access to them.
Don't count on the Realtor to monitor the potential buyers
When Realtors show a home, it's typically not a one-on-one situation. It's typically one Realtor with a couple, a family, or someone who has 'moral support' along for the ride. The Realtor makes every best effort to keep an eye on those viewing the home, but that's no substitute for taking appropriate precautions. If your home has an open house, there can be a lot of people in the home at the same time, making it impossible to supervise everyone. Your best bet is to remove any potential items from the home before allowing others to come in.
Realtors Shouldn't be trusted, either
Whether it's your Realtor or the buyer's Realtor, we have a lot of trust for the hard-working individuals who show homes and help us navigate the buying and selling process. But you shouldn't trust anyone, even the Realtor. While your Realtor might be fine, there could be any number of Realtor's showing your home. And they have access to get into your home and typically show up before the buyers to complete a precursory walk through. Fifteen minutes alone is all it takes for an unscrupulous Realtor or one who has a moment of indiscretion to walk away with something valuable.
Security cameras are an option, but may not be legal
Many people have security cameras or 'nanny cams' in their homes. It may be tempting to use these cameras to monitor visitors to the home, but it may not be the best idea. Depending upon where you live, it might not be legal to monitor people this way in your home.
If you decide to use cameras, you need to be very careful not to violate state or federal laws. It may be legal, for example, to record video but not audio of your potential buyers as they may discuss motivation, prices, terms, etc. Before using any security devices, consult with your Realtor and decide whether the presence of cameras might discourage your potential buyers. And if you must keep these devices operating, you should disclose them at the very least.
Just remove it
The only way to guarantee that someone in your home won't walk away with medications, valuables, sensitive information, etc. is to remove these items from the home before you list it. These items can't be stolen from your home if they aren't there.