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5 Real Estate Safety Tips to Protect your Family

by Debra Gould
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real estate saftety tipsOne of the unpleasant realities of selling your home on the real estate market is that you’ll have to put up with strangers going through every room and opening every closet. They’ll even look in your medicine cabinet! It’s all fair game, since you are trying to sell your house and prospective buyers have the right to examine everything very closely.

While home staging is key to creating the right environment to entice prospective buyers, much of what I recommend as a professional home stager is for your own security as well.

One of the first steps to selling your home after staging is having high quality photographs taken by your real estate agent of all your rooms. These will appear online on sites like mls.ca and in the feature sheets your agent creates to market your property.

It’s important to take these 5 steps to help protect your family and the safety of your home while your property is on the market.

1. Hide or remove personal items that say too much about you.

One of the first rules of home staging, or house fluffing as it’s also called, is to remove personal items like trophies and diplomas because they encourage prospective buyers to think about who lives in your home, rather than imagining themselves living there.

While that should be reason enough to remove personal items, given that your goal is to sell your home as quickly as possible and for the most money, consider this more ominous reason.

Trophies and photos of the kids playing their favorite sports provide plenty of information to help anyone looking for a way to lure your children away from the local park, sports field, or school yard.

Another important item to stash away is the family calendar. If you’ve got one hanging in your kitchen with all your kids’ extra-curricular activities, what night Mom is out at her book club and when you’re away on business, you’re giving away far too much personal information!

2. Don’t advertise large valuables.

While I admit this idea came from an episode on CSI Miami, where thieves targeted homes that were on the real estate market, it’s not that far fetched. Why show off valuables like expensive art or collections to strangers who will be looking at photos of your property online and who have access to your address?

3. Hide easy-to-pocket valuables.

Make sure small valuables like prescription drugs (remember I said they’ll be looking in your medicine cabinet?), figurines, jewelry, cameras, iPods and laptops aren’t on display, especially during an open house where people will wander freely with little or no supervision.

Consider having a designated box to quickly stash these items to take with you before a showing or open house. Or, have an off-site location where you keep small valuables that you don’t really need on a daily basis.

4. Hide bills and important documents.

Not only does a stack of bills and documents add clutter to your kitchen counter, home office or bulletin board, it takes only a few seconds for someone to pocket enough information to charge items to your credit cards, or worse, steal your identity.

Keep personal information well away from anyone strolling through your home for a showing or an open house.

5. Protect the identity of your children.

While it might be cute to have a plaque with your child’s name on the wall in their bedroom, is this really information you want strangers to have? Your listing shots might include images of your kids’ rooms which gives everyone online access to not only your address but your children’s names. This is not a good idea for obvious reasons (see point one above).

This might all sound like scare-mongering, but the reality is when you open your home up to the world, you not only open it up to prospective home buyers, you also open it up to the “bad guys”.

So why take any chances? Follow these 5 tips to help keep your family and your home more secure while your house is on the real estate market.

Learn more about how Six Elements can help you when it’s time to decorate your house to sell.

Have you encountered any safety issues or had items disappear during showings? Please share your comments below.

Debra Gould, President Six Elements Inc.

Debra Gould, President Six Elements Inc.

Internationally recognized Home Staging expert Debra Gould president of Six Elements will supercharge the appeal of any property. If you’re looking to profit in the real estate market, your best investment may be a ‘decorate to sell’ consultation with Debra.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Stacy Goade, Alaska Premier Home Staging December 13, 2014 at 1:31 am

This is a good post and I want to respond by saying that these important safety tips (alerts) are discussions that we home stagers want to have with our home seller clients. At the end of my home staging consultations, I discuss these important tips with home sellers and provide them with ideas for storing and protecting personal informaiton and personal valuables. I’ve learned from my home sellers that this is not the kind of information they receive from their Realtors. They are genuinely surprised they hadn’t thought of it themselves, and always grateful that someone did! Great reminder, Debra. Thanks.

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