While the official Realtor Safety Month ends Sept. 30, safety is an ongoing concern for Realtors. We take necessary precautions daily not only for our personal safety, but also for the safety of our clients. A listed property is an invitation to allow strangers into your home. Buyers encounter strangers when visiting listed properties. To help protect our clients against crime, the National Association of Realtors suggest these ways sellers can protect themselves.
Showings and open houses: Strangers will be walking through your home during showings or open houses. Hide any valuables in a safe place. For security’s sake, remember to remove keys, credit cards, jewelry, crystal, furs, and other valuables from the home, or lock them away during showings. Also remove prescription drugs. Some seemingly honest people wouldn’t mind getting their hands on a bottle of prescription medications.
Secure your family’s personal information: Do not leave mail, bills, and checkbooks out in the open, where anyone can see them. In taking these steps, also consider documents and items with your children’s information. Be sure to lock down your computer and lock up your laptop and any other expensive, easy-to-pocket electronics, like iPods and iPads, before your showing.
Leave showings to a Realtor: Sellers are advised against showing their home by themselves. Not all agents, buyers, and sellers are who they say they are. Predators come in all shapes and sizes. We tell our children not to talk to strangers. Do not to talk to other agents or buyers, and refer all inquiries to your Realtor.
Take responsibility for your pets: Sellers are responsible for their pets. If possible, animals should be removed during showings. Sometimes, buyers and agents are attacked, and the property owner will be held liable in such circumstances.
Lock up: Thieves commonly use open houses to scout for valuables and possible points of entry, then return after the agent or home owner leaves. While your Realtor will take safety precautions during and after a showing, when you return home, immediately verify that all doors are locked and all valuables accounted for.
The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors is “The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga.” The Association is a regional organization with more than 1,500 members, and is one of more than 1,400 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors services Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net.