Ask Andrew: Safety concerns when listing a home
Written by: Andrew Goodman
Q: What kind of safety concerns should I have about listing my home?
A: When selling a home, your agent’s main objective is to get as many people into the home to view it as possible. However, when someone views your home, how do you know your home and the items in it are safe? Unfortunately, you don’t and you don’t want to be at the home when someone is viewing it as it could hurt your chances of selling it. So what can you do? Here are some things to keep in mind to help insure you and your home’s safety:
Keep tabs on who goes in the home: If you are selling your home as a “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO), you want to keep tabs on any agent that goes into your home. Ask for their full name, cell number, company they work with, and the MRIS ID number. The MRIS ID number is their access ID to the MRIS, which contains all of their information. If something were to happen, you would be able to locate them pretty easily. If the potential buyer is not represented, you should stay at the home during their visit. Be sure you are not alone during the tour. If you have an agent that has listed your home, he/she has many systems/services at their disposal to be able to keep tabs on them. I use a system called Centralized Showing Service (CSS), which sends me an email of every agent who has scheduled a showing with their name, company name, and their contact number/email. I also receive an email from Sentrilock when an agent uses the lockbox to gain access to the home.
Personal belongings:Whether you are selling your home as a FSBO or with an agent, please be sure to hide or remove all valuables.Unfortunately, a buyers agent does not know what items are in the home and can’t always keep close watch on all of the people with them on their tour. So be safe and make sure those valuables are not in sight. (Make sure that all spare keys to the home and automobiles are not out in the open).
Answering you door: DO NOT answer your door to any strangers. If you are selling your home as a FSBO, be very careful who you let in to view your home. The possibilities of letting the wrong person in are endless. If you are selling your home with a Realtor, do not let anyone into your home that was not announced and or does not have an appointment setup. There are some people who act as agents, however if they were agents they would have followed the steps outlined by the listing agent to show the property. If they are actually agents and did not follow those steps, that is their fault and should still not be able to view your home.
Keys for the lockbox: I recommend that sellers only provide a key to the lower lock, if possible, to be put in a lockbox. That way, the seller can lock the deadbolt when they are home and if an agent tries to gain access when he/she wasn’t scheduled, they wouldn’t be able to gain access since they can’t unlock the deadbolt. Also, in the event that someone finds a way to break into a lockbox, they only have access to the bottom lock, not the deadbolt.
Alarm code: Change your alarm code from your normal alarm code and provide that to your Realtor; OR make an alternative code. Most individuals don’t change their alarm codes and since that code needs to be given out to multiple realtors, the code will be in a lot of people’s hands. In the event you take if off the market, you don’t want that code still in someone’s possession.
Using a Realtor tends to be the safest way to list a home. Realtors have access to systems that can help protect your home, not to mention the fact that we have to follow a code of ethics. With that being said, Realtors are still human and not all of them follow the rules. So make sure you choose your Realtor wisely and be sure to protect your family and your home when listing it for sale.