Bills, Pills & Gold Records: Identity & safety concerns when selling.

By
Home Stager with a fresh space :: home staging & thoughtful organizing

I've had the "deer in the headlights" look from clients so many times when I explain to them the need for privacy in their home when it is on the market.  I don't want to scare them, but it is really important to de-personalize the house.  Not just for helping a potential buyer see the home as one they could move into, but for the safety of those who live there.  This is a scary and sensitive subject, but very real in this day and age.

1.  Leaving your bills or other mail laying around invites someone to walk off with them, or at thbillse very least, see your name and how many credit cards you have or .  This just asks for identity theft.  I don't know about you, but I sure don't want a stranger to walk off with a paper that may have my credit card number or social security number on it. Or making assumptions about my financial position based on what is left out (past due notices?).

2.  Leaving your prescription medication in visible sight, even in a cupboard, is asking for trouble.  Not only do you run the risk of someone taking it (a kid?), you also are giving away information to a buyer & their realtor about you and your health.  You may not think anything of the fact that you take an anti-depressant or a cancer treatment drug, but I will tell you now, that any agent worth their salt will take this into consideration when making an offer.  If your cabinet is full of anxiety & depression related pills, that tells a story - and not necessarily the one you want.

prescription bottles

3.  Leaving your children's photos, names on the walls, sports trophies and school papers out is a bad idea.  We are all proud of our children, but really - do you know who is coming to look at your home?  And do you want them seeing pictures of your beautiful children?  And being able to tell from what you've left visible can let a predator know where they go to school, how old they are, what their name is,  what kinds of sports they play (and where), and more.  This is all someone would need to strike up an acquaintanceship with your child, which is NOT a good thing.

4.  Leaving your diplomas, gold records, memorabilia, or awards on the walls can negatively impact an offer.  Think about it, not only are you giving away personal information about who you are, you are giving an impression of whether you NEED a decent offer or not.  I've worked in homes where famous musicians have lived.  Do you really want prospective buyers knowing this is their house?  How about Vanderbilt University medical diplomas on the wall?  Or memorabilia of a sports figure?  This just says, I don't need the money.  You don't want people googling you for info, or knowing that you are famous or apparently well off.  People assume that lawyers, doctors, professional athletes, musicians and others are set financially.  On the flip side, if a professionals dirty laundry has been aired in public, this can invite lowball offers because the public knows that the person is in financial trouble.

It's about making the home appealing for a buyer and helping them see themselves in the home.  But it's also about keeping the seller and their family safe.  Things that give personal information affect both of these and can lead to a serious situation.  It's not likely, nor is it common, but it could happen.  My job is to bring up these concerns and put them front and center.  Many home sellers just don't consider this aspect until I point it out - then it just seems like common sense.

Think before you list - think about the tiny percentage of people out there who would even consider any of the above factors.  Most of those who look at your home is like you - considerate, honest and thoughtful.  But not everyone is - and these precautions can be the difference between danger and safety.

close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Groups:
Home Staging
Real Estate Staging Association
Stage It Forward...
Staging Secrets
Tennessee Realtors - Join Hands
Tags:
home staging
personal safety
staging tip

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Rainer
19,955
Susan Macaulay
Clarity Over Clutter - Winnipeg, MB

Good post.  Good points to continually bring up with clients.

Another thought with regards to putting those items away is the fact that potential buyers only spend a short amount of time viewing the property.  Having them focus on the features of the house and not spend time reading the certificate or looking at your personal items.  The average buyers view the property in 3 to 6 minutes - use that time to keep them focused on the house.

 

Oct 02, 2009 03:52 AM #1
Rainer
24,484
Liz Jenkins
a fresh space :: home staging & thoughtful organizing - Franklin, TN

Susan - excellent point - thanks.  I'd love to hear more from any other commenters as well - this post was spurred on by a recent client who was dumbfounded by my comments.  And all of my 4 points were part of my consult. 

Oct 02, 2009 04:10 AM #2
Rainmaker
2,215,047
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Why are sellers so surprised at this...isn't this common sense that you shouldn't have your personal life spread out for strangers to see?  I find that clients are surprised when I tell them to put away the meds...it is beyond me!

Oct 02, 2009 06:59 AM #3
Rainmaker
823,778
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Liz -- this is info I have printed on my Seller Guidelines -- my clients have all found it very helpful info.  You just can't be too careful when your home is on the market!

Oct 02, 2009 07:18 AM #4
Rainmaker
87,300
Wanda Richards
Shows Great Home Staging and Web Solutions - Roanoke, VA
Shows Great Home Staging

Liz - this is a great post and something that I go over whenever I teach a staging class.   

Oct 02, 2009 11:44 AM #5
Rainer
66,560
Kate Paris
First Class Waterfront Properties, LLC - Acquisitions and Divestitures - Orlando, FL
Broker: Residential - Commercial - Hotels

Liz, it always amazes me how many homeowners never think about this. I have had people look at me as if I had two heads when explaining these very same points. Thanks for the post; its nice to know I'm not the only one who has had this experience.

Oct 02, 2009 01:30 PM #6
Rainmaker
360,425
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

Liz, well said.  I work with many seniors and their homes are often jam-packed with all of the items that you listed.  Few are willing to pack away the treasures of their families and lives.  Coin collections, gold records and original Kinkade paintings displayed on the wall were the most valuable items that I've had to deal with.  I put this on my guidelines list, like Maureen, but have to reinforce the need verbally to get the point across.  One's life should not be on display when they are selling.   

Oct 03, 2009 02:32 AM #7
Rainer
24,484
Liz Jenkins
a fresh space :: home staging & thoughtful organizing - Franklin, TN

Thanks for the comments - I find that I get this at almost every staging consult I do.  I think that these items become almost invisible because they don't see them as an outsider would.  Just another reason to hire a stager, I guess!

Oct 03, 2009 10:30 AM #8
Rainmaker
175,619
Cynthia Bartch
Granville, OH

Hi Liz, I recommend putting away all the things you mentioned but never thougth of the medical diplomas, thanks for another thing to add to my checklist! Your post was spot on, thanks.

Oct 04, 2009 12:11 AM #9
Rainer
58,736
Laurie Calhoun
Gloria Home Staging, Inc. - Winter Springs, FL
Seminole County FL Home Stager

Excellent post, Liz! People just don't think about this. We tell them that we don't want any of the buyers' attention spent on the owners -- we want it all on the home. In one home we staged, one of the owners had Multiple Sclerosis, and we removed all the books on the disease from the bookshelf. That's just something buyers don't need to know.

Oct 04, 2009 07:16 AM #10
Rainer
46,266
Debra Valentine
Designing Details ~ Staging & Design, LLC - Bountiful, UT
Utah Home Staging for, Bountiful, Salt Lake & Surrounding Areas

Hi Liz! Thank you for this great, informative post. Many of the comments are things I've not thought of, so thanks to all. In one of my upcoming newsletters, I will be focusing on safety and many of these tips shall be passed on with your permission.

Oct 05, 2009 07:39 AM #11
Rainer
24,484
Liz Jenkins
a fresh space :: home staging & thoughtful organizing - Franklin, TN

Debra - you are more than welcome to use this post's information in your newsletter.  I can't speak for the commenters, though.  You are right, too - many of the comments had great info and I've learned from them as well.

Laurie - I had an agent tell me she used the information she gathered at a home regarding a debilitating disease to benefit her buyers to the tune of several tens of thousands of dollars.  Not only do you not want the buyers agent to know for financial reasons, but also, people sometimes are funny about a house where there is or has been a serious medical condition.  Bad vibes, I guess!

Cynthia - where I live, if it's not medical or law degrees, it's gold records!

Oct 05, 2009 07:47 AM #12
Rainer
46,266
Debra Valentine
Designing Details ~ Staging & Design, LLC - Bountiful, UT
Utah Home Staging for, Bountiful, Salt Lake & Surrounding Areas

Thanks Liz, I will not use the commenter's tips.

Oct 05, 2009 08:24 AM #13
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?

Rainer
24,484

Liz Jenkins

Ask me a question
*
*
*
*

Additional Information