Our Top 8 Safety Tips and Resources to Share with Sellers
In honor of Realtor safety month, we’ve put together our best safety tips and resources you can share with sellers
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Main image courtesy of Northwestern Mutual.
Fall is one of the best seasons of the year, and many people look forward to all the excitement it can bring. Whether it’s the start of school, football season, or seasonal decor, it seems that once September rolls around, there’s always something to look forward to, including Realtor safety month. The National Association of Realtors has designated September as Realtor safety month, so we'll be sharing a few articles with safety tips for Realtors and homeowners.
The home buying and selling process can be stressful, and it’s important that all parties involved work to keep themselves safe until the closing is complete. As a Realtor, you can help keep sellers aware of what they can do to keep themselves safe until it’s time to move out.
In this article, we’re going to discuss:
- Our top 8 tips to help sellers stay safe
- Resources for sellers to ensure the safety of their home and possessions
Why is Realtor safety month important?
A little background behind Realtor safety month
The National Association of Realtors designated September Realtor safety month in order to promote an awareness about the risks that Realtors and homeowners can face throughout the buying and selling process. Since 2003, they have prepared Realtors through education, courses, and training to become more aware of some of the safety issues they could face while doing their job.
Whether a Realtor is showing a property to clients, preparing a home for a viewing, or meeting potential clients, there are certain rules, standards, and procedures they should be following for their safety. While most Realtors won’t likely be a part of a crime, the possibility is always there, and it’s best to be prepared and empowered to know what to do when a safety concern arises.
This month is also a good time for Realtors to make their clients aware of the safety concerns that can face them through this process as well. Educating homeowners and informing them of specific safety measures they can take is in the best interest of everyone. Whether the homeowner is a buyer or a seller, protecting their personal property, family, and identities are all key to keeping everyone safe.
8 safety tips for Realtors to share with sellers
Make sure your sellers are prepared and know how to keep themselves and their property safe
In order to keep sellers safe when they’re selling their homes, a Realtor can help them learn to protect themselves and their property from crime.
- Hide valuables
While this may seem obvious, it is definitely worth mentioning to your sellers. Even though most people who may enter the home think of themselves as good people, if the temptation is there, they may act on that opportunity. If you’re setting up showings and open houses, it’s important to remind them that strangers will be walking through their home.
In the case of an open house, there’s the chance that you won’t be able to be with every viewer all the time. In order to prevent a theft of valuable or sentimental items, make sure they’re aware they’ll need to hide or lock away valuables. Common objects that should be hidden out of sight include:
- Designer items
Items like these can easily be picked up and stolen. In addition, it’s also important to keep things like prescriptions out of sight as well. There may be pills that are tempting for either drug users, or for someone who wants to sell them. Prescriptions also have a lot of personal information on their labels, such as your date of birth, which you definitely do not want a stranger to know.
- Hide personal information
In addition to the personal information that can be found on a prescription bottle, it’s also important to hide other forms of information that could pose a risk of identity theft. This includes any paper bills (such as credit cards, gas, water, electric, etc.) or other mail that has any identifying data. Besides keeping important papers locked away, make sure phones, tablets, and computers are locked down and stored away. It’s very easy to walk by and swipe a phone or a tablet, and even a laptop can fit in a bag.
- Only their Realtor will show the home
Let your sellers know that you will be the only one responsible for showing their home or hosting any open houses. It is not recommended that the sellers themselves try and arrange showings. Make sure they’re also aware that people who come knocking on their door might not be exactly who they say they are.
For their own protection, if someone asks to see the home without the Realtor around, make sure they know this is suspicious and they should decline and immediately let the Realtor know. Although it may just be a potential buyer with good intentions, you can never be too safe when letting strangers into your home.
- Keep pets safe
If pets can be out of the house when the showings occur, it’s probably for the best. Even the most well-trained dogs can spook and harm a potential buyer. While we tend to think that only large dogs can cause harm, smaller dogs, and even frightened cats can potentially bite or scratch someone, which the sellers could be responsible for.
- Keep family references out of sight
When preparing their home for staging, it’s crucial that sellers know they should keep references to their family and their personal life out of the picture. This means removing family pictures from the walls and any shelves, as well as the refrigerator. Not only does this allow the potential buyers to truly see the space for what it is, but it keeps your personal life out of the open.
Pictures can easily be stored away in a closet or in another safe area. If you’re planning on having an open house, you may want to remove them entirely since there will be lots of people in your home throughout the day. Other items such as children’s artwork, or calendars with lots of family information should also be taken down and put someplace safe.
While most folks want to view your home because they’re interested in buying it, you don’t always know everyone’s agenda for wanting to see inside your private residence. In order to ensure everyone stays safe, it’s best to keep the pictures of your loved ones tucked away.
- Ensure the lockbox is safe
As a Realtor, you know how useful having a lockbox is. It gives you the freedom to set up showings with potential buyers, while protecting the house and the seller’s personal property inside. These are safe and very sturdy boxes that are designed to endure all kinds of weather and wear and tear.
However, it’s not a bad idea to tell your sellers to think about removing the key inside the lockbox each night, just in case. It may also be a good idea to change the combination of the lockbox periodically. This way, there’s an even smaller chance it could be tampered with.
- Hide sharp objects or weapons
Sellers should now know that it’s important to keep personal information, valuables, and their family out of sight. You may also want to suggest they keep sharp objects like knives or weapons such as their guns also out of sight and ideally locked away. Not only does this take away a potential safety threat, it allows a buyer to envision what they will use the space for instead.
- Follow up for safety
After each showing or open house, remind your sellers to check that all the windows and doors are secure and locked, and that all their locked away items are accounted for. It’s a good idea that both the Realtor and the sellers make a point to do this.
Resources to help sellers to stay safe
Encourage them to check out some of these resources to keep themselves safe!
- The National Association of Realtors (NAR) page on safety
- If they have questions regarding safety, sellers can always ask their Realtor!
- How to keep their online information safe while they sell their home (be aware of Craigslist scams, phishing attempts, etc.)
- Inform their neighborhood watch group or neighbors that they are selling their home
It’s important for Realtors to inform sellers about how to keep their family and personal property safe throughout the selling process. By following these tips, they’ll be on the path to a smoother, and safer, home selling journey!
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