Open houses and showings are essential steps when selling your home. It gives prospective buyers a chance to see the property for themselves and, hopefully, imagine themselves living there so they’ll make an offer.
But opening your home to strangers can feel vulnerable. Even with lockboxes in place and supervision from realtors giving tours, you may worry about your items and valuables.
Here are some tips to keep your valuables safe when showing your home to give you peace of mind and protection.
The first step to protecting your family’s privacy during showings is to remove any personal items, including photos, customized decorations, and anything else that might reveal your identity to potential buyers. Don’t leave any private information out, such as billing statements, financial records, and lists of passwords. This will help you avoid having any of your accounts hacked and reduce the risk of identity theft.
Remove these personal, identifying items before you have photos taken of your home so they don’t end up on the internet once your home is listed.
After securing your privacy, your next step is to remove any valuables and family heirlooms. This could include everything from high-dollar electronics and furniture to your grandma’s wedding china and vintage jewelry. While it may be tempting to use some of these beloved items for staging your home, it is more important to avoid the risk of breakage or loss.
Take special care to wrap and package breakables. This will save you time once you sell your home and are moving. For maximum protection, rent an off-site storage unit for boxes and furniture. Pick a location with solid security and one that will allow you to lease month to month.
Put all medications, particularly prescriptions, in a safe and secure place. Stashing them away in an unlocked drawer or cupboard will not be enough, as people may open them during their tours. If you do not have a lock box or secure place, pack prescriptions and medications in an easily removable container that you can take with you when you leave before every showing.
If you have any safety hazards in your home, make sure they are removed before tours begin. This could include removing firearms and weapons from your home, or ensuring they’re locked up and not on display. In addition to protecting yourself and your belongings, you also want to protect the safety of realtors and prospective buyers while they tour the property.
Before putting your home on the market, do a thorough walkthrough and inspection of the locks on all entrance points, including windows, doors, and garages. Be sure to include entry points on upper levels. If any of the locks show signs of wear and tear or aging, replace them immediately.
In addition to checking locks, account for all keys, fobs, and garage door openers. If you have any reason for concern that someone may have access to any of these, it might be time to swap your locks and keys for replacements. Remove any spare keys you might have hidden outside your home.
You may want to implement additional security measures while your home is on the market. Fortunately, these days there are several home security options of varying scales and price ranges, so you don’t have to break the bank to protect your home.
At-home security measures can be as simple as installing a doorbell camera, which will alert you to any activity happening outside your front door and create a visual record of it. Many of these devices come with add-on packages, such as alarms for all entry points. Most security companies offer complimentary quotes, and they will show you where your home is most vulnerable.
This is also a good time to ensure your homeowner’s insurance policy is up-to-date. Make sure it includes coverage for burglary and theft. You may even find that adding a security system will give you a break in your premium. In most cases, you can take the security with you to your new home, which will give you future savings.