A few weeks ago, a Realtor was caught on tape and arrested for entering a home for sale in Renton and stealing prescription medications. To gain entry to the home, he told the homeowner that he was going to show the home to prospective buyers. Let me assure you this is the exception, not the rule. A good Realtor is trustworthy and will treat your home – and its possessions – as if they were their own.
As a home seller, there are precautions you can take to prevent theft from occurring during open houses and Realtor-led tours of your home:
- Remove valuable items from ‘target spots’ like medicine cabinets, jewelry boxes, home offices and rooms with a lot of electronics or small gadgets, including smartphones, tablets and computers, says Trulia. Lock up jewelry, prescription medication and any other item of value.
- Hide portable safes or take them with you if possible, says Inman. Also, make sure weapons are locked up and hidden and removed from the home.
- Identity theft is also a possibility when showing your home. Don’t leave out mail, bills, bank statements, passports and ID cards where they can be accessed. Trulia suggests locking those documents up while your home is on the market.
- Use a passcode or PIN to lock your computer.
- Limit the number of entrances your home can be accessed by your Realtor and prospective buyers. Ask the Realtor showing your home to check and lock all doors and windows after the tour or open house. Keep only one entrance open during a showing.
- Put away any personal photos that identify the homeowners and their families.
- For open houses, ask every guest to sign in with their name and phone number, so your Realtor will have a record of who entered the home.
- Consider installing a home security system with strategically placed video cameras to safeguard your home. Most modern security systems allow you to monitor your property remotely from your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Prior to listing your home, talk to your Realtor about other ways to safeguard your home, including what items should or should not be included in listing photos. An experienced Realtor will have additional suggestions for you. Good luck!