This October on a Sunday afternoon in Las Cruces, New Mexico, a 70-year-old man was beaten and robbed by a man who had expressed interest in buying the elderly man’s home. After being wounded by the suspect, the 70-year-old man was able to call for help and was airlifted to a hospital in El Paso to be treated for his thankfully non-life-threatening wounds. Investigations are currently being made and a reward has been offered for information about the suspect.
A sad story like this naturally brings up the question: “I want to sell my home, which often involves interacting with strangers that I know nothing about—most of them are probably good people who are legitimately interested in my home, but some of them may not be. How can I be as safe as possible during the home selling process?” Below are some tips from Realty Times to make selling your home a safer experience:
- Never set an appointment with anyone to see your home unless you have their name and number and have called back to verify that number.
- For security’s sake, before you conduct an open house, remember to remove valuables from the home or lock them away during showings. Also remove prescription drugs. Some seemingly honest people wouldn’t mind getting their hands on a bottle of Viagra, uppers or downers.
- Consider hiring a security guard, especially if you have many valuables you can’t remove.
- Request that all visitors sign in a guest book or roster. Certainly some visitors will use a false name but at least they will be aware of your organized procedures and might think twice about victimizing you. If possible, jot down license plate numbers and ask for photo identification to verify the information in the guest book or sign-in roster.
- Request that visitors enter and leave through one door only, except when you escort them to the back yard, garage, etc. You should personally have quick and easy access to all your exits.
- Without hovering, escort prospective buyers through your home by following them. Keep a reasonable distance between you and your visitor. Never enter a bedroom, den or other room with a visitor. You could be trapped inside. Keep your path clear for a speedy exit.
- Always let someone who is not at the open house know what hours you are conducting your open house and have them check in on you from time to time. When open house has ended call your friend and let them know all is well.
It’s also important to know that enlisting the help of a real estate agent can circumvent a lot of safety issues that could occur in a for-sale-by-owner situation. A real estate agent acts as an intermediary between buyer and seller, which is not only more convenient for all parties, but also more safe. When potential buyers have to go through an agent, they never learn anything personal about the seller. Also, the agent provides an extra level of security by screening potential buyers and keeping a watchful eye on them during home tours. Whether you choose to go with a real estate agent or sell your home by yourself, always use safe practices to protect yourself and your property.
To your home selling success!
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