Each year in September, the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors reminds members to keep Realtor safety foremost in everyone’s minds. Members’ clients, particularly sellers, face some dangers in allowing strangers into their homes during a showing or open house.
“We are comfortable with our surroundings and can overlook items that can pose a safety or security issue when we open our doors to strangers,” said David Tonna, president of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors. “During showings or open houses, remember that strangers will be walking through your home. Take the necessary steps to ensure that your open house will be successful and that your family and your home will be safe.”
Below is valuable advice from the local Realtor association and the National Association of Realtors that can help sellers learn to protect themselves against crime:
• Hire a licensed, reputable real estate agent. Check with the state to make sure the agent is properly licensed and inquire with the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints filed.
“People use the terms Realtor and real estate agent interchangeably, but they are not the same. Although both are licensed to sell real estate, a Realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors and must subscribe to the Realtor code of ethics. As such, a Realtor is held to an even higher standard of conduct than other real estate professionals,” explains Tonna.
• Remove spare keys, credit cards, jewelry, crystal, furs and other valuables from the home or lock them away during showings. This includes firearms, important art and other collections.
• Remove prescription drugs. Tonna indicates there have been reports of drug abusers posing as home buyers and using open houses to raid medicine cabinets and night stands in search of drugs. “We urge homeowners to secure their prescription drugs properly,” stresses Tonna.
• Remove family photos, calendars of events, addresses and anything labeled with names of your children or their schools, including personalized artwork, banners or blankets. “While some people may think family photos make a home cozy, it is always best to err on the side of caution and not reveal any information about your children or the school they attend,” advises Tonna.
• The same is true about leaving personal information like mail or bills out in the open where anyone can see it. Lock down your computer and laptop and other expensive, easy-to-pocket electronics, like iPods, before your showing.
• Do not to show your home by yourself. Not all agents, buyers and sellers are who they say they are. Predators come in all shapes and sizes. Do not to talk to other agents or buyers, and to refer all inquiries to your agent.
• Be responsible for your pets. If possible, remove animals during showings. Buyers and agents are sometimes attacked, and when this unfortunate situation happens, the owner will be held liable.
• While your Realtor will take all safety precautions when leaving your home, you should immediately verify that all doors and windows are locked and all valuables accounted for. Thieves commonly use open houses to scout for valuables and possible points of entry, then return after the agent leaves.
“Majority of the people who tour your home will be legitimate buyers who are in the market to purchase a home, but by taking these precautions, you will make the process uneventful and stress free,” says Tonna.
Visit Realtor.org/Safety for more safety tips.
Information is presented by the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors at silvar.org. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.