Why Should Seller's Remove Prescription & Non RX Drugs

Real Estate Agent with DFW FINE PROPERTIES 0506509

©Patricia Feager, 3/10/2017




Removing Prescription & Non RX Drugs


When a Seller puts their home on the market for sale, a number of people will be walking through every room in the house. This will include agents, prospective buyers without or without children and teens, grandparents, friends of buyers, inspectors, contractors, and appraisers. Medicines need to be removed and safely secured in a safe place. Owners should not assume a Medicine Cabinet is a safe and logical place to store drugs or medications. An Agent is not responsible and cannot be expected to keep their eyes on everyone at the same time. It is easy to get distracted. People who are addicted to drugs are clever and will do whatever it takes to get what they want without people noticing. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, "four in five new heroin users started out misusing prescription painkillers." 


Risk Reduction

People who may have problems with narcotics and families who bring children and teenagers with them to look at houses may find opportunities to help themselves to drugs left by homeowners on counter-tops, dressers, inside medicine cabinets, kitchen cabinets, and shelves. Agents don't encourage anyone to use a homeowner's bathroom; however, there are times when people have to go and nobody knows what goes on behind doors. Cabinet doors will be opened by buyers. A handful of drugs, prescription or not, slipped into a pocket or purse is easy to do when it's available and sitting out in the open. Sellers should lessen the temptation by removing any type of prescription or over-the-counter drugs or hazardous household cleaning supplies, and pesticides to prevent poisoning and theft. 


What can a Seller do to minimize risks?

  • Lock up all drugs and hazardous materials.
  • Monitor the drugs you keep in your house meticulously every day.
  • Be alert, remember, and record where drugs are stored.
  • Remove alcohol from the premises or store where no one can have access.
  • Safely dispose of expired drugs.
  • A home for sale must be a safe house. 
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Patricia Feager
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Peter Davies - To the best of my knowledge, securing valuables, including medications is on Seller's duties on a universal level; however, many don't follow the rules and many are broken. 

Have a wonderful day and thank you!

Mar 11, 2017 07:29 AM #29
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Patricia,

So true. I used to know a guy that kept showing up at my open houses, who was addicted to codein. After the first couple of times, I started turning him around at the door, since police said, they could not do anything with him. If you take anything stronger than aspirin or vitamins, lock it up somewhere.

Mar 11, 2017 08:30 AM #30
Patricia Feager
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Dörte Engel - WOW! This was an eye-opening comment. In the past, I also recall lone rangers who seemed to pop up frequently at Open Houses I held. You just never know who these people are and what is their motive. It's sad that the Police couldn't do anything but at least you had it on record just in case...

Let's all be safe out there!!!

Thank you!

Mar 11, 2017 09:08 AM #31
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

There is no end to what desperate people can come up with....

Mar 11, 2017 09:26 AM #32
Dana Basiliere
Rossi & Riina Real Estate - Williston, VT
Making deals "Happen"

You got that right.   I go through the drill with every listing.  A couple of years back there was a nice looking family that attended open houses for the reason of finding and stealing drugs and/or valuables.  The child was borrowed to use as a distraction.  


Must be vigilant!

Mar 11, 2017 09:44 AM #33
Patricia Feager
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Dana Basiliere - Oh how horrible for adults to turn their child into part of the criminal act. You just never know. You just never know... How sad for that child who may end up spending the rest of their life in juvenile detention, jail, or prison. It just breaks my heart.

Children live what the learn!

Thank you, Dana.

Mar 11, 2017 10:06 AM #34
John Dotson
Preferred Properties of Highlands, Inc. - Highlands, NC - Highlands, NC
The experience to get you to the other side!

Patricia,  We have a lot of "older" sellers in our area and I make it a priority to make sure prospective buyers don't linger in the bathrooms or next to the night stand without me being there.

Thank goodness most of our buyers are "older" too!

As you say, Sellers absolutely need to be proactive in hiding or removing the temptation.

Mar 11, 2017 10:22 AM #35
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

This is so important and something I STRESS to all my sellers.

I was looking through MLS pics this week (hubby and I are in the market for a home) and I just shook my head when I saw a listing with 9, that's NINE, prescription bottles out on the kitchen counter. Come on! Common sense people!

Mar 11, 2017 10:50 AM #43
Aaron Robertson
Authority Property Management - Redding, CA
We Make Renting Simple.

We are in property management and coach our tenants and owners to put such things away while we are showing the rentals. It is common for us to have people all over the unit while we are there. We don't want to see any of them go missing.   Great topic by the way. 

Mar 11, 2017 11:26 AM #44
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Your comment to Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland reminded me about poisons. Many people in child-free households keep toxins such as drain cleaner in lower cabinets. Don't do that!

And money... I was on a showing once where the tenant had cashed his paycheck and left hundred dollar bills laying on the coffee table. It wasn't my listing, but I knew him and knew where he worked, so when I got back to the office I called and warned him not to do that.

Mar 11, 2017 02:01 PM #45
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Good Sunday morning, Patricia. Have a great day and a very productive week.

Mar 12, 2017 08:52 AM #46
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Patricia Feager this is something that we must tell all our sellers - at open house or at private showing, too. A 'risk reduction' indeed!

(Should be a part of the discussion at the listing appointmet itself - and this will set us apart from other agents, to win the listing.)

Mar 12, 2017 12:38 PM #47
Joe Jackson
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Columbus, OH
Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert

Very pratical advice. Thank you for sharing

Mar 13, 2017 06:37 AM #48
Michael Jacobs
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393

Hi Patricia -- a scary but such an important message to share with homeowners who are becoming homesellers during the signing process.

Mar 13, 2017 07:02 AM #49
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA Lepic-Kroeger REALTORS - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist

Safety and security are top priorities when listing a home.  I have this discussion with my sellers prior to listing so that they understand the dangers of having prescriptions or alcohol available or visible to potential visitors to their home. Safe house--Love it!

Mar 13, 2017 03:27 PM #50
Patricia Feager
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Karen Feltman - We have got to get it through to our sellers they are selling a Safe House, and not be so fixed on the money. What good is all that money if there is a tragic accident because someone didn't put away prescription drugs. 

Mar 13, 2017 04:16 PM #51
Mary Jo Quay
Remax Results - Edina, MN

A young dad and his little girl came through a two story listing.  He was conversational, let it drop that he was a police officer, loved his job.  The open wasn't busy, and I didn't trail after them as they went upstairs.  The seller called that night to say that her medicine cabinet, including Oxycontin were cleaned out. 

Mar 14, 2017 09:24 PM #52
Patricia Feager
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Mary Jo Quay - That must have been a terrible phone call. I hope the seller didn't blame you! You just never know who comes to an open house and why they are there in the first place. Sure, it could be a buyer; or not.... It makes you wonder if the little girl was a decoy or if she even knew what happened. This is just so sad and horrible.

Mar 14, 2017 09:45 PM #53
Mary Jo Quay
Remax Results - Edina, MN

The seller didn't blame me, but the wake up call was that a totally legitimate looking, sounding, acting young man cleaned out the medicine cabinet in a very safe neighborhood.  If you think about it, middle class seniors probably have a stash of meds tucked away, and would be obvious targets.

Mar 15, 2017 04:56 AM #54
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Excellent reminder of why it's important to NEVER leave prescription drugs within reach of anyone! 

Mar 20, 2017 08:16 PM #55
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