Safety Precautions in the Real Estate Market

download (84)Today, more than ever, we are, as a society, more safety conscious than in any other time.

It was not very many years ago, that many people did not lock their doors, and in some cases, left their keys in their cars overnight. Kids could wander neighborhoods, or vacant land, or forests, or just around small towns. The only rule, was that kids had to come in before dark, or when the front porch light flashed. There was a great deal of trust in the world, and danger was something that existed in another country or in very large cities. Even in large cities, the dangers were more along the line of auto accidents, industrial mishaps and the like.

We live in a very different world now and are very watchful at all times for the unknown danger that may be lurking around any corner.

Subdivisions have been designed around safety, i.e. gated communities, homeowner associations, neighborhood parks and pools, etc. Organized sports have taken the place of roaming the countryside for kids. Parents are ever-vigil and accompany most kids everywhere. Recently, news reported that a set of parents were arrested for allowing their kids to wander the neighborhood and walk to school.

Homes, as well, have security systems, that in the past, would have rivaled a commercial building in a bad neighborhood.

Safety Tips for Buyers and Sellers

At each showing, people whom you do not know are coming into your home. You have no idea what intentions, if any, they may have for your possessions.

If you are listing your home, be sure that your Realtor is a member of the local board, installs an electronic lock box on the door, and keep your alarm set. If you have security cameras, be sure they are in working order. You always want to know who is in your home, what they are doing and that your representative is in good standing with the local board. All MLS boards have background checks and fingerprinting of their member agents.

If you feel that you can sell your home by owner, you should be sure that you, too, know who is coming in your home and if they are really looking for a home or just curious. Never show your home to a stranger alone. Always have someone there with you in case there is a real problem. This advice is for Realtors, as well as sellers: When showing your home, never walk in front of a prospective buyer-you really do not know the real intent until you get to know them. Always walk behind them, allowing them to see the rooms, keeping an escape option, just in case you need it. This may seem paranoiac, but all it takes is one time to convince you that your safety is first and foremost.

Protect Your Belongings

As a Realtor, I have seen expensive watches laying on dressers, prescription drugs left out on counters, and in one case, a diamond ring sitting on the kitchen counter. We want to believe that everyone is just there to see our home, but it takes just a second for items such as that to be slipped into a pocket. A good practice is to put all jewelry, regardless of its value and medicine of any kind out of sight at all times. It may be a pain, but in the long run, you will still own the items when you sell your home.

Protect Your Kids

In a society that A little bit of warning for parents of young kids. We teach our kids that there are those in the cyber world that could do you harm.

When listing a home for sale I ask the parents to take down plaques with kids names in them. MLS is public and anyone can see the pictures, worldwide–they have your address.

Facebook and other social media is no different. Pictures of kids in their rooms with their names on the wall, visible to all, can be dangerous. It is very easy to look at a Facebook name, location, look up address in tax record, and armed with a kid’s name—well you get the picture.

I love kid’s pictures too but when they are coupled with their names, it could be disastrous.

The Internet, though a powerful tool for all of us, is also a powerful tool for those who are up to no good.

Good sense should always prevail. Caution should be the first and foremost thought when posting kids pictures.

Protect Yourself

Buyers like to wander new subdivisions and pop into homes that may be in the last stages of construction. Be careful from entering vacant buildings of any kind, especially at night. New subdivisions, with few new residents, can be a haven for those who are up to illegal activity and you would certainly not want to be in the position of surprising someone that could hurt you.

Always tour homes with your Realtor! If you want to look at a FSBO, take your Realtor! Not only can they do a great negotiation job, but an additional person creates a safe environment.