Since we've survived Halloween, I figured it's time to talk safety. Wait, that doesn't make sense at all. We should have had this chat three weeks ago. Alas, here we are. Although the leaves are falling off the trees and we've started grabbing that extra layer before heading out, the real estate market is still rolling along nicely.
Today, I want to chat a bit about "showing" safety. I'm baffled at the creativity and sheer volume of scams and scammers out there today. Why they don't just get a real job and leave us all alone is beyond me. Let's dig in and think safety.
I don't know if you have ever tried to sell something through an online marketplace. Whether it is Facebook or Craigslist, they both have a decent reach and your item gets in front of lots of eyeballs.
Personally, I have found that 99 percent of the responses I get are moron scammers trying to get my personal information (or something like that). Honestly, I have no idea what their motivations are. I just know they are scum. When you throw a "For Sale" sign on your front lawn, you are (unfortunately) inviting those same scum to try their nefarious scams on you as well.
"I always recommend sellers include home security signs on their lawns and windows," Badger Realty agent Diane McGregor said. "Those new video doorbells are another great option too."
McGregor is right. Anything you can do to show that you have systems in place to protect your home will be a great first step. It shows that anything done to or around the home will be recorded on video and there's a great chance the intruder will be caught.
Honestly, this is a great idea for anyone, but with that "For Sale" sign in the front yard, you're really drawing attention. We just want to ensure it is the right kind of attention.
We had a fairly rowdy Halloween party complete with beer pong, hot tubbing, and a smoke machine to round out the dance party. Yes, it was pretty amazing. Before any of those wackos (our dear friends) show up, we cruise through the house and hide anything particularly valuable or that we simply don't want to get broken.
It's not that we don't trust our friends to steal, it's just that those items are safer in the basement closet or tucked away in one of our bedrooms. We lost the screendoor to the back deck one year to one of those "revelers."
You can't be too careful. You should have this same mindset when you are selling your home. Anything valuable needs to be locked or stored away someplace that will not be seen.
Unlike all of our friends showing up on Saturday, you should only allow showings by appointment. Since the market is pretty hot right now, more aggressive buyers may just come by and knock on your door. You should never feel obligated to let them in regardless of how motivated you are to sell.
And as much as I hate to say it, you should never allow a stranger into your home if you are by yourself. You really need to keep a clear, level head during this time. I know you're excited that someone is interested, but you really need to have your guard up at all times. It honestly pained me to write that sentence. I'm not particularly thrilled that we have to think this way.
Since we're thinking about safety and security, let's think about those lockboxes. I want to believe that everyone has our best interests in mind, but it still makes sense to be vigilant. We happen to use the same code for our garage door, the front door and our phone passcodes. I know. We're morons. Do as I say, not as I do.
You should have a code for the lockbox and you should make a habit of changing it on a regular basis. Some of the cooler ones now have multiple codes. You can have one for family and friends and use the alternate one for your listing agent. This second one can be changed as often as you like.
It is pretty common for both agents (on both sides of the deal) to be present during the showing. You have a relationship with your listing agent already, but chances are good that you will not know the buyer's agent.
If they show up unannounced, that is a huge red flag and you should not let them in. And when they do show up at the set time, I recommend getting some identification.
Again, this sounds a bit paranoid, but hear me out. Anyone can throw on some nice looking clothes and present themselves professionally. If you don't check to see that they are who they say they are, you're inviting trouble.
I love living in New Hampshire and having grown up in Maine. I built my house over in Lincoln and never once locked my doors. In fact, the entire time I lived over there my doors were not locked. Windows were open when the weather was nice and I rarely locked my truck.
Sure, some of that was just dumb and naive, but I loved the idea and enjoyed that trust in my fellow resident. The bummer is that's not really the world we live in (even up here). If you're listing your home for sale and broadcasting that sale to the world, it is important to be a bit (lot!) more vigilant than I was (still am).