Friday, February 10, 2012

FSBO'S Protect Yourself During Showings

Just a few tips if you plan to sell your without a Real Estate Agent concerning some of the safety procedures we take when listing and selling homes.  This is not to say this list is complete;  for sure every day something new is added to this growing list.
  • Don’t use alluring or provocative photography in advertising, on the Web. There are many documented cases of criminals actually circling photographs of their would-be victims in newspaper advertisement.
  • Limit the amount of personal information you share. Consider advertising without using your photograph, home phone number and/or home address in the newspaper. Don’t use your full name with middle name or initial. Use your office address or list no address at all. Giving out too much of the wrong information can make you a target.
  • Be careful how much personal information you give verbally as well. Getting to know your buyer client does not need to include personal information about your children. You should use only their first initial and last name on their “For Sale” signs to conceal gender and prevent anyone other than a personal acquaintance asking for you by name.
  • To best prepare for an emergency, pre-program important numbers into your phone. These may include your office, your roadside assistance service or garage, and even 9-1-1.
  • An important part of ensuring that you stay safe on the job and on the road and at home is preparing some “safety nets” in advance. One such precaution is having a distress code system in place. Establish a voice stress code, a secret word or phrase that is not commonly used but can be worked into any phone or in-person conversation for cases where you feel that you are in danger. Use this if the person you are with can overhear the conversation, but you don’t want to alarm them. The distress code could be something as simple as “Hi, this is Jane. I’m at [address]. Could you e-mail me the red file?” You can make up your own distress code, i.e. DOG FOOD (when you don’t have a dog) or I’m going to MAYDAY Lane (and there is no Mayday Lane).
  • As homeowners you should never let strangers who walk up to your door into your house. People wouldn’t ordinarily do that, so safety should not go out of the window because your house is on the market. Children should be told to not let anyone in the house, no matter what they say. All lookers should schedule an appointment in advance. Sellers need to be aggressive and willing to ask tough questions. Screening all who tour your house is mandatory. Hawkins says that if buyers refuses to answer questions, question their motives. "If they are legitimate, they expect to answer even personal financial questions." Sellers should ask for employment information and get a phone number to call them at work.
  • Ask for a home phone number, do Internet research and confirm they are the actual property owners or call their landlord or talk to their lender and confirm that they are legitimate buyers. Sellers often overlook simple steps like never giving out your home phone number to buyers. Would-be criminals will know when you are not home if they call and don’t get an answer. Hawkins says it seems innocent enough, but you shouldn’t advertise when you aren’t home. "Telling would-be buyers that no one is home at a certain time of the day let’s them know the perfect time to come back and rob you."
  • There is safety in numbers; therefore safety experts recommend that you never show your home alone. Have another adult with you. Avoid exposing your children to strangers in the house. "Trusting buyers is a no-no that even real estate agents do at times, you should always accompany buyers throughout your house at all times. This allows you to prevent theft and the unlocking of windows and doors for later re-entry when you aren’t home.
  • It may seem like overkill, but sellers should hide all valuables: jewelry, bank info, prescription medication, etc. Hide them where thieves don’t think to look. If necessary, put valuables in storage or a safe deposit box. When sellers enlist the help of real estate agents, the agents will tell them to do the same thing, it’s difficult to guard valuables at every moment.
  • Although the thought is scary sellers should always have your escape route pre-planned just in case of an emergency. ” Never let buyers get between you and your escape route (the front or back door). Also, you should never enter a room or space before the buyer does.
  • Always let someone; relative, friend or better yet, a neighbor, know who’s coming to see your house and at what time. Have a check-in time, if they don’t hear from you at a pre-determined time, they need to call or get to your house immediately. With communication being so important, an idea that is simple, yet brilliant is to keep your cordless home phone in hand at all times in case you need to call for help. This is better than a cell phone because with 911- your address will pop up on the dispatch operator’s screen even if you can’t talk.
Two closing words BE CAREFUL!


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