The beginning of a new year is a time to start fresh for many homeowners. Sometimes, this means it's time to put their home on the market for rent or sale and downsize or move into something new.
The home selling or renting processes, for most of us seems routine, though at times inconvenient. Homeowners listing their home for sale or rent often overlook the possible dangers and security issues involved in opening up our homes to potential buyers or renters. Many of these safety tips should also be applied by Realtors or property managers who are showing a property. It's also a good motivation to select a good property manager to screen and escort prospects. Whether you are selling or renting your home, following these security precautions is recommended by North County Property Group as standard procedure. You may think of yourself as a very cautious person when it comes to inviting strangers into your home. However, maybe there are a few tips we provide below that you can use to be as safe as possible!
Show the home by appointment only: If you are still living in the home or a tenant is living in the home, ask that the home be shown by your Realtor by appointment only. North County Property Group always follows this practice and does not utilize lock box when people are still living in the home. We keep a schedule and as a standard practice share the schedule of showings and appointments with the owners and others in our office.
Ask the right questions when you set the appointment: A few questions will tell you a lot about a potential buyer or renter. Ask a prospect if they have been pre-qualified, what their schedule is for moving, and if they have a good credit score. A few simple questions will tell you a lot about a prospect and will give you a read on how truthful the individual is being. A property manager and agent are industry professionals and are key at asking the proper questions. North County Property Group always asks some basic pre-qualifying questions before showing a prospect the home.
Showing the home: Keep groups of visitors together during a showing. Don't leave someone downstairs while you show someone the upstairs or allow groups to split up. While we have never had problems while showing a home, we have heard reports of thefts occurring during the property showing process. Law enforcement officials warn that some criminals are very skilled at getting themselves space during a showing to snoop in closets and drawers, claiming "bad knees" or other medical problems that require that they be "left behind." It helps to use a third party, for example, a Realtor or property manager, to navigate through these types of situations. At North County Property Group, if we know more than one party will be arriving for the showing, we typically show in teams with 2 or more on our property management staff available at the home to escort prospsects.
Personal items: Lock away your valuables as well as keys, cash, credit cards and jewelry. Its also a good idea to put away personal photos, especially those labeled with names or identifying information. Antiques and expensive or rare art should also be put away to avoid accidental breakage or theft. With clients renting their home, North County Property Group always recommend these items be removed, locked away, or put in storage.Medication: Remove your prescription medication from the obvious locations of the medicine cabinet and the bedside tables.
Don't let visitors box you inside a room: Always keep a clear avenue to an exit. Don't go first into a room - ask your guests to go first.
Keep your phone handy: If you have a cell phone or cordless phone, make sure you have it with you during a showing. Also, if you have a car alarm, keep your keys with you in case you need to use the "Panic Button" on your remote.
Be careful of what questions you answer: Never tell someone when you won't be home, especially over the phone. A better phrase is: "the house won't be available for a showing at that time."
Keep records of your guests' identities: Keep a guest book at the home, Ask them to show their photo ID, write down their address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate and if possible, a brief description of them and their vehicle. Let them understand that this is a security measure that you are taking in order to assure the house showing goes smoothly.
Watch out for Red Flags: At North County Property Group we generally watch and listen for anything we consider to be a "red flag." We operate under safety first guidelines and prefer to error on the side of being conservative in protecting our owners and their property.
Always remember that the safety of you and others with you is of greatest concern. Nothing is worth giving up your security. If you are presented with a situation that might compromise this, always opt to reschedule another appointment when you may be better prepared. The scheduled appointment is your best tool for being prepared for guests and staying safe. Also, hiring a professional - a Realtor or a property manager is always recommended!