There are multiple steps you can take to ensure success when showing your home while also regarding and paying attention to your safety at all times.
Your Safety While Showing Your Home
Protecting yourself and your home, during a showing is a serious reality. There have been cases in the past where sellers have been harmed and conspired against while showing their homes or after the showings are completed.
However, there are ways to ensure that you and your home remain safe.
Minimize Random Drop-Ins
If you have a “For Sale” sign up in your yard, ensure that “Showings by Appointment Only” is listed on it with your phone number or your agent’s phone number. This will help to keep random people passing by your home from coming inside and inquiring about the sale.
If they call you or your agent about the sale, you will have time to look into them and speak to them over the phone, instead of a first-time face-to-face interaction right away.
However, be ready for people who will come up and knock on your door regardless, despite the sign you posted. Before you allow them into your home, ensure that you speak to them for more than five minutes.
If your gut instincts give you a warning against them, do not let them in. If you are home alone, do not let random drop-ins come in.
Never show a random person your home if it’s dark outside. If your gut tells you something is wrong, tell the person that it’s not a good time for you. Ensure that you get their personal contact information before you allow them to come in.
Keep Your Valuables and Drugs Out of Sight
If you have any medications in your medicine cabinets or anywhere around the house, even in your purse, lock them up or hide them. Put everything in a box and keep it under your bed, in your safe (if you have one), or even under the floorboards.
The same goes for your valuables. Do not just store them in a drawer or somewhere that is easily accessible. Just because they are out of sight does not mean they cannot easily be found, so make sure it’s near impossible for anyone to find them unless you tell someone specifically where they are in your home.
Keep in mind that potential buyers will want to walk through the house themselves and check things out. After all, they are here to see whether or not this home would be best for them, and you crowding their first look will give them a negative feeling. So, stand back, let them walk through on their own for a little while, and make sure your valuables and medications are all well-hidden.
However, if you do not have a safe, a safety deposit box, or somewhere to put your valuables or your medications, bring them to a friend or relative before you have the open house. Make a list before you drop them off as well.
Do Not Be Alone During Any Showing
As previously stated, do not show anyone your home when you are alone. This includes during your open house. You never know if someone is just coming in to see what they can steal instead of being an actual prospective buyer.
It has happened in the past, so ensure that you are not home alone during any showing of the home whatsoever.
Do Not Explain Your Security System in Detail
If a potential buyer asks if you have a security system already in the home, tell them that you do and leave it at that. There have been incidents where thieves come for the showing, ask about the security system (about which the seller tells them too much), then break in later.
Lock Up Any Firearms and Expect the Worst Scenario
Being alert and guarded will help you from getting into a vulnerable situation. As long as you have the mindset that every person who is coming to look at your home is out to get you, you will be safe no matter what.
Never let your guard down when strangers are around you, especially in your own home.
Lock up all of your firearms and keep them out of sight completely. If you have someone looking at your home who is there to rob you or come back to do it later and they see that you have firearms laying around, you just made their job a million times easier.
As with your valuables and medications, if you absolutely need to, and your friend or relative is okay with it, give them your firearms to hold onto as well.
Figure Out the Vulnerabilities Beforehand
Determine where in your home your screams will not be heard from outside. For example, if you know for a fact that no one will be able to hear you yell from your basement, send all prospective buyers down there by themselves.
Do not accompany them to any of those areas, period.
To test this, have someone be outside of your home, preferably on the sidewalk or in front of your neighbor’s home, and scream in different areas of the house.
Ask for Identification
As a prospective buyer comes to see your home, ask them to show you their identification, such as a driver’s license. If they refuse to show you or do not have it with them, tell them that they will need to come back later when they have their identification, or that you do not allow people into your home unless they show it to you.
If they begin to fight with you over this or have an issue with it in general, shut and lock your door. Better safe than sorry, in all cases! The argument is not worth the loss of your belongings – or your life.
Don’t Give Them Personal Details
For example, if you are going on vacation next week and the house will be completely vacant for a week, do not say so. In fact, do not give them details about your personal life, period. The less they know about you and your life, the better!
Tips for Showing Your Home
If this is the first time you are showing your home by yourself and without your agent, there are definitely a couple of things that you will need to take note of to ensure that this process goes as smoothly as possible with few to no errors:
Keep Your Home Clean and Organized
There is really no sense in running around panicking the day of the open house. Clean and organize your home at least three days before the showing so that you can get a feel for the real beneficial areas, meaning where you would like to show off more, before the open house.
Be as Flexible as Possible
Offer a timing for the open house that works best for you, but ensure that you at least attempt to stretch your availability into multiple time slots if you can to accommodate potential buyers.
It’s also a good idea to take some time for a showing on “bank” holidays, such as Veteran’s Day or President’s Day, as well as Saturdays and Sundays. This will allow for a wider range of people to have the time to come to your showings.
Be Friendly, But Not Completely Open
Being warm to a potential buyer is completely fine, but don’t pretend to be their best friend. Do not, under any circumstance, let your guard down unless you know the person through your personal life or a friend/family friend.
Ask each buyer individually about the characteristics that they are searching for, or which are most important to them, in their search for the best home.
If any of them match up with characteristics from your home, show them or point it out to them as you go through the home. Suggest that a specific room can be adapted or renovated to meet all their needs, or point out areas that would have multiple uses – for example, a home office, or a play room for small children.
Have Documentation and Be Informed of Your Area
Show each buyer supporting documents for the property. This will include any homeowner association or condo documents, as well as disclosure statements. Another document you could show them could be a utility bill, such as water, to give them a general idea of what that utility will cost for your home.
It’s also a good idea to become familiar with nearby grocery stores, other shops, parks, schools, and so forth. Buyers like to ask a lot of questions, so it’s best to ensure that you are well informed about the surrounding area and what it entails before you have any showings.
Knowing the crime rate for the city and your area specifically is also ideal. Not all buyers ask about the crime rate for a potential buy, but quite a few do.
How are buyers supposed to be enthusiastic about buying your home if you are not? Simple, they won’t be. Offer a warm smile and a greeting as soon as you open the door. Ask them if they’d like to wander around themselves or if they’d rather you take them around.
Positive energy is incredibly contagious, so keep your spirits high and you should have no problem making a sale. If your attitude sucks, so will your sale.
Stay Safe, Be Ready for Anything
Always remember to have someone with you when it comes to showings, keep your guard up, ensure that your house is clean and ready to go the day of, and always keep a positive attitude.
Show buyers examples of what they will generally have to pay for utilities, be informed about everything in your area in case buyers ask you for details, and always lock up your valuables, any medications, even if they are old, expired, or not yours, and especially keep all of your firearms locked away or removed from the home.
By following the advice and tips related to you above, your home showing will be incredibly successful, and your home will be sold before you know it.
For more tips and tricks on how to sell your home faster, while remaining safe, contact your agent and ask them for some advice.