Why It's Important To Secure Valuables When Selling A Home

When listing your home for sale,  remember that strangers will be entering your home. The majority of buyers just want to find a new home and are completely innocent. However, some “buyers” have more sinister intentions.

BUSTED! Caught In The Act!

We had a situation in 2018 where a home buyer contacted us to see a home for sale. This person’s behavior was very odd. She kept trying to find ways to look through the personal spaces of the home by herself. It put us on alert. We had to stick to her like glue.

It became obvious that this “home buyer” was only interested in taking prescription drugs and other valuables. The home seller had not been advised by her agent to secure her prescriptions before listing her home for sale nor was a pre-approval required for buyers.

To make a very long story short, we alerted the police. Our team was able to assist the police in catching her in the act!! They discovered that the fake "home buyer" was even switching out prescription drugs for placebos, so the homeowner wouldn’t notice anything missing.

How To Protect Your Family When Selling Your Home

While that experience was stressful, the moral of the story for home sellers is SECURE YOUR VALUABLES. Small items that someone can easily grab, especially at an open house, need to be secured.

Assume potential buyers will open closets, cabinets, and drawers.

Buyers often open closets, cabinets, and drawers. Usually, they legitimately want to see what kind of storage space the home offers. Once in a while though, they are looking for things to steal. For instance, in addition to getting caught in the act of taking prescription drugs, the above “buyer” also took jewelry, cash, and a key fob to a home seller’s car. All things that were out in the open or easily accessible. 

It’s best to secure your home when selling it, but how exactly do you do that?

The main way is to make sure your valuables are unreachable by buyers. Valuables include things like jewelry, cash, prescriptions, keys, and anything else small that you don’t want to lose.

It’s smart to invest in a fire safe that can hold all of your valuables, important documents, and prescription drugs. A fire safe is quite heavy, so people would find it difficult to pick it up and walk off with it.

Another option is to utilize storage that people are unlikely to notice or look through such as a lock box that looks like a book or a can of veggies (yes, that's a thing and they're not very expensive).

If this isn’t possible for you, then make sure to remove these items from the house during a showing. It’s helpful to have a bin that you can toss things into last minute. Take this bin with you when you leave.

Your physical stuff isn’t all that needs to be protected. Your identity is also something that a person could potentially steal. Any mail and/or legal documents can be used to steal your identity. Like other valuables, these need to be out of sight and secure.

Another way you could be a victim of identity theft is via electronics. Someone viewing your home could access electronics without any kind of password and use them to get into all kinds of accounts you most likely don’t want them to be in. This includes banking, social media, email, and more. Always have a strong password, or another type of authentication, on all of your devices. When selling your home, do not leave a list of passwords next to your computer.

Visitors with bad intentions might also unlock windows or doors during an open house event as a way to break in later. Double-check every window and door after showings. If you aren’t living in the home you’re selling, make sure to have good locks on every exterior door, as vacant homes are targets for break-ins.

Pre-pack Family Photos

If you have kids, it's important to protect their identities as well. When you're preparing to sell, go ahead and pack up any personal items that show your children's faces, names, sports teams, or schools. You will have to pack up these items anyway, so go ahead and store them for peace of mind.

Require All Buyers Have A Pre-approval Letter

To help ensure that only actual, qualified home buyers are coming into your home, you can require that potential buyers have a recent pre-approval letter.

This is a good idea anyway because it will limit the number of tire-kickers and time-wasters. It’s still possible that a buyer with a pre-approval letter could swipe something of yours, so you still need to secure valuables. But, at the very least, you will know that only qualified buyers are looking at your home.

Require That The Listing Agent Be There During Showings

This one doesn’t make sense for all homes, but you can ask your agent to make sure someone from their team is at your house during all home showings. This is ideal for luxury home sellers and can serve multiple purposes. If you’re selling a million-dollar home, it’s good to have the listing agent there for security and also to tell potential buyers about the home. The buyer’s agent is not going to know about all the amazing features and finishes, so it is helpful to have the listing agent there as a guide. It can also give you peace of mind to know that your agent is there in addition to the buyer’s agent.

FAQ: Can I Have Security Cameras Inside During Showings?

Given the subject of this blog post, it may seem like a good idea to set up security cameras in your home while you're selling it, but that's not the case.

It is generally frowned upon to have cameras inside during showings. It makes buyers feel uncomfortable even if they don't have bad intentions. It simply makes it hard for them to relax and really look at the home itself. If you have cameras inside, it's best to cover them during showings.

If you do intend to have security cameras on during showings or open houses, make sure they are not recording audio and make sure they aren't in areas such as bathrooms, because this could get you into legal hot water*. Additionally, make it clear to your agent so that they can make sure everyone knows there are security cameras capturing video.

*We're not lawyers and this is not legal advice.

It's better to simply secure your valuables and follow our strategy to sell quickly so that your home is on the market for as little time as possible.

Sell Your Home With Confidence

If you’re thinking about selling your home, and you need guidance on what items you should secure and how to best protect your family and your valuables, please feel free to ask us. We are always happy to help!

We want you to have all of the help and information you need to safely and confidently sell your home. Since one of our specialties is helping people sell their home as quickly as possible for as much money as possible, our goal is that your home will not be on the market for a long time. This reduces the number of open houses and home showings you have to do as a home seller.

Contact us at 614-830-9767 to find out how our superior home selling strategy can help you sell quickly, profitably, and safely.

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