"Hello. This is Pat Kennedy and I'm an agent with Evers & Company Realtors. I'm planning to drop by your house between 2 and 2:30 this afternoon to set of your burglar alarm. If that's not convenient, please call me on my cell phone at 202-555-5567. Thanks!"
Seriously, folks, if you have a listing or if you're a seller and you have an alarm system, agents who come by will set it off. I can promise you that. And when we do, it isn't pretty.
First, there is a gawdawful noise that can wake the dead. It's an impossible challenge for buyers who are trying to fall in love with your house. With the blaring in the background, it won't happen. They'll just want to get out and back into my nice, quiet Lexus.
Then there is the agent showing the place. Is the alarm hooked up to the police station? How long will it take to get here? Do I have a copy of my real estate license with me or will they think that I'm breaking and entering? Rats! If I can't find my real estate license, I am breaking and entering!
All the agent or the buyers will want is to get out of your house and lock up before the Officer Friendly shows up. They won't have a chance to appreciate the amazing job you've done staging your home, or the beautifully refinished hardwood floors. They won't notice the lovely cherry kitchen cabinets or granite counters, and they probably won't even make it to the second floor to see the new baths with Carrera marble and giant Jacuzzi.
Having your alarm activated while the house is for sale is right up there with having a serious Realtor eating guard dog. Most of the time, it might be a good idea, especially if you live in a neighborhood where you might need both an alarm system and a dog.
But while the place is for sale, get a safe deposit box for your valuables, and turn off the alarm.
Today, I did a market analysis for a house I hope to list this weekend. And the main competition has been on the market for four months at a way below market price. And as I was puzzling over why it hadn't sold, I looked at the showing instructions. No guard dog - it's an empty house. But for some reason, the owners are insisting that the alarm remain activated. And they want the listing agent present for all showings in case someone like me shows up and sets the thing off - which I would surely do.
There is nothing to steal! The house is empty! And this house is not in or anywhere near a high crime area!
Having the alarm on and the complicated showing instructions that result are costing these sellers a lot more than dealing with a burglary attempt on a vacant house. Geez Louise!