“Our agent spent so much time emphasizing the staging and the decluttering, that we didn’t have a conversation whatsoever on safeguarding our property,” complained one homeowner. This was after thieves stole $4,000 worth of merchandise from her home during the selling process.
While real estate agents typically aren’t legally responsible for protecting clients’ homes, they can proactively help their clients protect their property during the selling process.
Go above and beyond the expected level of care for your clients by following these home safety tips.
1. Plan Ahead With Clients
Having early conversations about home safety is the best way to build trust and take precautions with clients. Ensure a listing agreement is signed that clears you from responsibility should a thief strike at your clients’ home, but assures clients you will work together to protect their property.
Go beyond de-cluttering, and focus on security. A few tips:
- Emphasize the importance of homeowners locking important items and documents away in a safe, or monitoring them with video cameras and sensors.
- Removing family photos is both a good selling tactic, as well as a precaution against identity theft. Walk your client’s home before a showing to ensure no compromising information is left out for the taking.
- Recommend home security systems to your client, as their home is an easier target when it’s for sale due to the number of strangers coming in and out.
- Include home security systems as a listed feature when marketing the home, but avoid including the location of the unit in online photographs or print advertisements. Every picture posted gives information to a potential thief.
2. Keep A Watchful Eye
As a real estate agent, you know the housing market in your city, but do you know the crime rate? Look out for articles on police activity to find common vulnerabilities and research the area’s crime rate. Educating yourself will prepare you to spot trends and act responsibly should a property you are selling be in danger.
Bring an assistant to a property if you expect a large showing. Thieves will try to distract you, so having a helping hand can protect the property during an open house. Walking behind visitors ensures nothing is taken when you are facing the opposite direction.
Outdoors security cameras, especially ones with 24/7 monitoring, can keep an eye on the outside of a property while you focus internally. This is helpful if someone attempts to steal from the garage while you are distracted inside.
3. Don’t Neglect Personal Safety
While it’s important you help protect your client’s home to the best of your ability, it’s more important to keep your personal safety in mind. If you notice suspicious behavior, call for help rather than act on your own.
Keep your personal valuables locked away in your car and out of sight, but always keep your phone handy in case you need to alert authorities.
Home security is often overlooked during the selling process, but it’s an oversight you and your clients can’t afford.