Yesterday we shared safety tips for REALTORS® designed to keep agents and brokers safe on the job. But you aren’t the only ones at risk during a real estate transaction. Today we have some tips that you can share with your buyers and sellers to ensure that they are just as safe as can be during a home sale.
Sellers are most at risk during an open house – especially if they have not vacated the property yet. Instruct your clients to secure valuables, like jewelry, high-end cameras and financial documents. They should also consider stashing any medicines. People have been known to attend open houses just to gain access to prescription drugs.
Let sellers know that although you will always thoroughly inspect their property after an open house or home tour, they should double-check to make sure everyone is out, the windows are latched and nothing is missing. Reassure them that you have the contact information of all visitors if anything is amiss.
Suggest that your sellers ask trusted neighbors to keep an eye out during the selling process. Have them alert you or the authorities if they notice any suspicious behavior or vehicles.
Keep shrubbery closely trimmed and remove other obstacles that are blocking windows and doors. Not only does this add to curb appeal but also it will ensure a clear line of sight to the property and eliminate potential hiding places.
Be alert to groups. If a party of 3 or more asks to view your seller’s listing, explain to your clients that you will be watching their behavior closely and they should, too. One person may try to distract you or the seller with questions about a specific part of the home, leaving the others to tour (and possibly steal) unsupervised.
If a seller’s home is vacant, warn them not to publicize the fact because vacant listings can attract nefarious characters hoping to do harm, remove fixtures from or even live on the property.
When securing a loan and buying a home, your clients will often need to carry and share sensitive personal information, like their social security or bank account numbers. It’s important to remind them to safeguard documents containing this information and to avoid sharing these items over the phone in a public area.
After closing day, tell your buyers to be cautious during the move-in phase. Disposing large boxes curbside, especially boxes that might have contained new electronics, can attract attention from would-be burglars. Here are some other great burglar-proofing tips for new homeowners.
Suggest that your buyers change the locks – or even offer to provide them that service as your closing gift. The former owner may have given out dozens of keys, or someone could have made a copy while it was vacant. Better safe than sorry!
Can you think of any real estate safety tips to add to this list? Let us know and share your cautionary tales below.