September is Realtor® safety month and the Arkansas Realtors® Association wants home buyers and sellers to keep safety foremost in everyone’s minds. Help protect yourself against crimes when selling your home by working with your local Realtor® before allowing potential buyers into your home or before visiting other people’s properties.
Here is some advice from the ARA to help you learn to protect yourself against crime:
- Remember strangers will be walking through their home during showings or open houses. Hide any valuables in a safe place. For security’s sake, remember to remove keys, credit cards, jewelry, crystal, furs and other 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.
- DON’T leave personal information like mail or bills out in the open where anyone can see it. Be sure to lock down your computer and lock up your laptop and any other expensive, easy-to-pocket electronics, like iPods, before your showing.
- Don’t show your home by yourself. Alert them that not all agents, buyers and sellers are who they say they are. Predators come in all shapes and sizes. We tell our children not to talk to strangers. Tell your sellers not to talk to other agents or buyers, and to refer all inquiries to you.
- Be responsible for your pets. If possible, animals should be removed during showings. Make clients aware that buyers and agents are sometimes attacked, and the owner will be held liable.
- At an open house, your Realtor® will be alert to the pattern of visitors’ arrivals, especially near the end of showing hours. In some areas, a group of thieves will show up together near the end of the open house and, while a string of “potential buyers” distracts the agent, the rest of the group walks through the house, stealing any valuables they come across.
- Finally, when your Realtor® leaves your home, whether after an open house or a standard showing, he/she will make sure that all doors and windows are locked. Thieves commonly use open houses to scout for valuables and possible points of entry, then return after the agent leaves.
- Know that your Realtor® will take all of the above safety precautions, but that when you return home, you should immediately verify that all doors are locked and all valuables accounted for.
For more safety tips, readers can visit National Association of Realtors’® Realtor® Safety Web site at www.REALTOR.org/Safety.
House to House is written by Amy Glover Bryant and distributed weekly by the Arkansas Realtors® Association. For more information, visit www.ArkansasRealtors.com.