©by Patricia Feager 6/14/2016
When putting your home on the market, make a check-list with comments; then keep your list in a safe place to reference later. There are many tasks to do and things to think about when putting a home on the market. It's easy to forget where you put things. Remember, your home is on the market to sell, not to invite guests over to stay overnight. Therefore, if you're owner occupied, keep it simple. A check-list will help you to follow-through and remember what actions you took.
- Take inventory of your valuables. If you can't put valuables in a Safety Deposit Box, hide it, in unlikely places and record where those hiding places are and keep it in a safe place. Make note of where you hid things where a stranger can't find it easily. For example: Grandmothers Watch, valued at $500.00, located in _____________. Or Grandmothers Watch, placed in Bank Safety Deposit Box, name of bank, location of bank, and if you need to add family members who can access your bank's vault, add them to the list.
- If you have an Alarm System, make sure you notify the Alarm Company you're house is on the market. You may want to have two passwords - one for you; add one Agents only who may accidentally set off your alarm. Work with your Alarm Company and follow their advice. If you have a sign on your property saying, "This house is protected by "Name of Alarm Company," you may want to go to your local hardware store and replace it with a generic sign that says, "This House is Protected by an Alarm Company." By identifying the actual name of the Alarm Company, a burglar can find out how to disarm it and figure out how it's wired.
- Discontinue newspaper and magazine deliveries. The Post Office doesn't forward and you probably won't have time for it anyways. A vacant house with many newspapers outside is a target. Write down when you notified the company for cancellations for subscriptions. Some companies will continue to send them anyways and try to charge you. Document who you contacted and your instructions.
- Set up timers for lights. Agents having late evening appointments may miss or forget to shut off or turn on lights. By using a Timer, you can expect when you're lights should be on or off. There are many motion detectors, relatively inexpensive, that can detect motion that turns lights or appliances on when someone enters the house. Don't depend on others to turn lights on or lights off.
- Trim bushes and shrubs; keep no window hidden from street view. Don't think thorny roses or shrubs will deter burglars. They wear protective gloves and clothing that covers their skin. Remove any and all obstacles in and around your house and write down what precautions you made in case you need to file an insurance claim. Prospective Buyers are snoopy! They may want to peak into windows - protect your environment!
- Remove dogs from the premises when showing your home for sale. Although many dogs are gentle to owners, they can't be trusted when a stranger enters. You want your pet to protect you, the owner, not make friends with Real Estate Agents and strangers looking to buy. Don't confuse your pets. A dog that barks, like small breeds annoys the buyers - Some buyers' can't think and you may think to yourself, do you really want your pets to make friends with a stranger? Pet allergies is dangerous!
Large dogs can intimidate buyers. Kenneled or not kenneled, it's not healthy and there is no guarantee your house and possessions will be safe. Talk to your Insurance Agent and let them know you're putting your house on the market. Find out what they recommend and listen to your Real Estate Agent. An experienced agent has many experiences and recommendations too. Be sure to have your pets vaccinated and wear dog tags or have chips. Pets run away from home too!
- Keep money, prescriptions, and collectibles out of sight, hidden, safely stored, and record where you put everything. If item has a serial number, take photo and record. Do not leave valuables in plain view or keys to the safe out for public display. Know where you put everything. Keep your inventory list current.
- If you have service providers, such as pool, lawn services, or pest services, talk to the owner and make arrangements with companies you trust. Let your Real Estate Agent know who these companies are, when they come, and what the agent can expect. Sometimes, service providers will not do their job and charge the owner for services, not provided. Your agent should keep an eye on these service providers, especially when a property is vacant or owner travels often.
Make a list. Check it twice. Record and document where you have made changes. Keep your list current. Notify your Agent on an as needed basis who is expected to be providing services, how frequent, etc. Notify your insurance company and take directions. To quote Benjamen Franklin, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!"
©Patricia Feager, 6/14/2016