Selling your house can spell a lot of trouble whether you do it yourself or hire a real estate agent. Agents have little training on safety and security and home owners even less so. Here are safety tips.
- Prior to a showing, get information on the potential buyer. Google their names to see what comes up. They can also complete a buyer's questionnaire, seek one online, and you can chat with them on the phone.
- Find out if the buyer is bringing along young children. Kids get into everything and are hazard to themselves. See if arrangements can be made otherwise. If this is not possible, try to arrange to have a friend or family member keep an eye on the kids during the showing.
- Make sure the path to your front door is clear of any debris, yard equipment, toys, etc., that can be a tripping hazard. Also make sure that no rugs inside are bunched up, and that the floors and all the steps are clear of any objects that the buyer can trip over. Warn the buyer of any sharp edges, like that from cocktail tables, that they might walk into. Make sure there's no moisture or slick areas on the floors.
- If you have a dog, keep it locked in a crate during the showing. Don't wait for the buyer to come over to do this; put the dog in the crate ahead of time, since the buyer might arrive early.
- Show your property only during the daylight.
- Use the buddy system, bring a friend or relative over to assist. Arrange to have someone present in the home during the showing, and visible to the buyer, perhaps a friend in the living room reading.
- Make sure that the door is closed and locked once the buyer enters your home. But at the same time, be closest to the exit in case something goes wrong.
- If another family member is in the home during the showing, and especially if you don't know where in the house they are at any given moment, knock on any closed doors before entering as you don't want to startle the other resident by just opening up the door.
- Put away in a safe or completely remove all valuables. If you see someone steal something, do not confront them. Leave quickly (yes, leave your own house with someone still in it) and call the police.