Safety tips that every seller should know

Many homeowners are currently putting their homes on the market to make the most out of the market conditions which are in the seller’s favour. The current market conditions, along with selecting and working with an experienced real estate professional from a reputable brand will likely result in several potential buyers interested in viewing the property.

The more buyers a home is exposed to, the better the chance of selling the property for the best price in the shortest time frame. “However,” says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, “when attracting large numbers of buyers to the property, there is also the chance of attracting some less desirable characters. So it is important that both the agent and the seller take the necessary precautions when putting the home on show.”

Goslett provides sellers with some ways to ensure their safety while their home is on the market:

Schedule appointments ahead of time

Just because there is a ‘for sale’ sign outside the property, doesn’t mean that potential buyers can walk in and view the property without an appointment. “So that the seller is aware and ready for someone to view their home, the real estate agent should insist that all potential buyers schedule an appointment to view the property ahead of time or at the advertised show days,” says Goslett. “Sellers should never feel obliged to open their home to anyone without prior warning.”

Pack away family photos and personal documents

Family photos should be removed for two reasons. Firstly so that potential buyers can see themselves living in the home and secondly because it is impossible to know a person’s exact motivation for viewing the property. Removing photos from the walls and shelves will help to keep the sellers family life private. Also, ensure that any bills, invoices or other documents that contain personal information are packed away.

Ensure prescriptions are packed away

Apart from the fact that prescriptions and medication have personal details on them, it could be tempting for people to take them. “Those looking for medication will be expecting to find it in the medicine cabinets, so remove all medicine from the bathroom and kitchen and place them in another secure location,” advises Goslett.

Stick to daytime viewings

Ideally it is best to schedule home viewings during daylight hours although sellers may need to be flexible on this as it may not always be possible for buyers. Therefore, certain appointments could be made after hours if it is necessary.

Hide sharp objects or weapons

Goslett says that it is best to remove the knife rack from plain sight, as well as any other sharp objects that can be used as a weapon. Lock these items away.

Lock away valuables and jewellery

“During a home viewing it is best to ensure that all valuable items are locked away so that they cannot be picked up and carried away. This can be anything from jewellery to personal items that hold sentimental value or family heirlooms,” says Goslett. “It is not always easy for the agent to keep an eye on the people in the home at all times, so it’s best to keep all valuables locked away.”

Follow up for safety

After the viewing, the agent should ensure that all windows and doors are locked before they leave the property. It is also advisable to have a trusted neighbour keep an eye on the property when the seller is not at home. It is important to be especially careful to lock the home during the time that it is on the market.

“It is vital for homeowners to be vigilant when their home is on the market to ensure their safety of the home’s occupants. Selling a property can be an exciting time, and some basic safety precautions can help to ensure it is also a safe time,” Goslett concludes.

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