Safety and security often take a back seat to "staging" during the house-selling process. Staging your house is important to make it appeal to the broadest number of buyers. Safety and security is important in keeping you and your resources, identities and belongings safe and secure!
Being safe, smart and secure when your house is on the market is sometimes overlooked. It is, however, one of the most important issues on the table. You, those you live with, and your things are worth securing!! You worked hard for what you have. Let's keep them safe.
If you have listed with a professional real estate salesperson you have already added a layer of security. As a rule, we don't generally put serial killers or known burglars in our cars and drive them around looking at property, but we aren't always able to keep everyone under observation while we are in your home!!
That being said-you needn't be fearful, but, it is still wise to be cautious. Here are some ways to increase your safety:
1) Remove ALL personal photos. I KNOW - it's hard, but you are selling the house. You get to take the photos with you!! The first things buyers look at when they go into a home with lots of personal photos is those very photos. They want to know if they know you. That is taking time and their eyes away from imagining themselves in the space.
2) Depersonalize! Remove ALL certificates/diplomas/names from walls. There are several reasons for this:
- We do not want ANY buyer to walk away from your home knowing the names of your children, unless they knew them before they walked in the door! I know the great big pink letters above Ainsley's crib are adorable - but Ainsley is more important than the letters! Take them down.
- Certificates? I know we are so proud of our kids when they earn recognition!!! It is an awesome and all too infrequent reminder that we've done something right. I just don't want strangers knowing that Ben plays soccer in the ----- league on Saturday at Joe's Soccer field. Buyers don't need to know where your child goes to school, church.....
- Diplomas? We've already talked about becoming nameless in this process, but leaving your law degree and your spouse's medical degree on the office wall is screaming to the buyer in a way that doesn't make logical sense - but screams none-the-less. For some unclear reason, buyers figure if the seller makes good money they can "afford" to take less. I got my degree to further my life, not take a loss because of it!
- Identification - this doesn't come up often, but I was previewing a house a couple weeks ago and over the desk was a bulletin board where she had tacked all of her children's social security numbers along with a calendar of family birthdays. Make sure these kinds of things are not readily available for a quick snapshot with a smartphone!
3) Valuables - If you have a safe, be more diligent about using it during the showing period. If you don't have a safe, hide your valuables and prescription medications in illogical locations. Hiding your rings in the sock drawer below your jewelry box or medication in the medicine cabinet isn't as secure as using an altogether different location! You'll know where that is in your home.
4) Hazards - if your house has any tripping hazards, cracked/uneven brick sidewalk, etc. get those repaired or make sure they are noticeable! You don't want to give the impression that you haven't kept up with home maintenance, nor do you want to run the risk of a potential buyer being injured. We had a listing with a brick sidewalk where the mortar was in ill-repair. Our seller wouldn't fix it, but I watched a woman come to an open house after church and get her heal stuck between the bricks. They loved the house, but I never saw them again. The first thing they said when they walked in the door, was "Wow, that sidewalk needs to be repaired!"
Remaining safe and secure as you sell your house is important. Taking a few simple precautions and being proactive can relieve much of the worry! Before that sign goes up in the yard, take a quick walk through every room and space on your property - if you can't find your names or faces or occupations - you are READY to ROLL!! Let's get you on your way!