Six safety tips for selling the place where you’re living

While September is Realtor Safety Month, safety can be extended to home sellers as well. Here are six tips for protecting your home and privacy during the offer period.

1. Beware of stranger danger. If someone sees your for sale sign and requests an impromptu viewing, explain that there is a process that must be followed before they can view the property. Not all brokers, buyers and sellers are who they say they are. Provide your agent’s contact information and direct all inquiries there.

It is always best to hire an experienced real estate professional to list your home who can advise you on all the appropriate steps required to safely list a home. When a licensed agent is hired to market and sell the home, the agent will ensure that each potential buyer is escorted to and from the property. A good agent will also screen buyers to ensure they can qualify for the mortgage. Your real estate agent can also recommend best practices for protecting your privacy and your home during the listing period.

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2. Protect your home from germs. Strangers walking through the apartment is a legitimate health concern for salespeople. Take some basic precautions. Leave hand sanitizer and paper masks at the door as they enter. For upcoming performances, turn on as many lights as possible and open all interior doors. This reduces surface contact in your home with doorknobs and light switches. When returning, use disinfectant spray and wipes as needed.

3. Scrub the home of sensitive personal information. Never leave mail lying around and keep all bills, bank statements, check books, passports and other sensitive paperwork. Don’t put it at the top of a desk drawer and assume those are secure. People – especially those looking for such information – open drawers and closets. If you tend to leave sticky notes with passwords on them, remove them.

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4. Lock up valuables and electronic devices. Never leave laptops, iPads and other expensive electronics or other easy-to-storage items such as jewelry, watches, gift cards, cash or credit cards lying around. If you have guns, they should be kept locked away or removed from the property while the home is listed. Prescription drugs are another often-overlooked area. A small element like this is easily swiped without the pointing agent noticing.

5. Do not invite accidental access to your home. It’s common practice to hide a key outside in case you’ve locked yourself out. Most people place these in common places like under a doormat, in a flower pot, or over the door. Experienced thieves know all the tricks. It’s not uncommon for a burglar, posing as a buyer, to search your home for valuables and later gain entry. If you have an area where you hang spare keys, remove it before listing. When you return after the performances, double check that all doors and windows are locked and quickly check that nothing is missing.

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6. Ensuring security for visitors. It’s just as important to make sure your home is safe for potential buyers and realtors – loose railings, things they might trip over, loose carpeting, and poor lighting in areas like basements are all areas you need to address before selling your home advertise.

If you have pets, especially dogs, make sure you have a system in place for handling them during performances. Whether you put your pets in a cage, lock them in a fenced yard, or take them with you when you go to an upcoming show, this ensures the safety of visitors and animals.

The real estate market is still very active with a shortage of homes for sale to meet the current demand. This is certainly true of Florida, especially Sarasota’s coveted real estate market. By following these six safety tips, you’ll help ensure an easier and safer listing process.

Duff Rubin is the President of Coldwell Banker Realty in Florida.

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