What are the safety protocols for buying or selling a home?
The Snohomish County Camano Association of REALTORS® (SCCAR) has worked hard to keep REALTOR® safety a foremost priority, but what about people looking to either buy or sell a home? Safety is a conversation far too many real estate professionals omit from their discussions with sellers and buyer. As September is REALTOR® Safety Month, SCCAR wanted to share some safety tips for buyers and sellers:
Tips for Sellers:
- Valuables: If you are selling your home, strangers will be walking through during showings. You should hide any valuables in a safe place or remove them before a showing. Also, in capturing photographs of the home for marketing purposes, make sure such valuables are not photographed.
- Personal Information: Don't leave personal information like mail, bills, or bank statements out in the open where anyone can see it. Be sure to lock down your computer and lock up your laptop and any other expensive, easy-to-pocket electronics before your showing.
- Prescription Drugs: A growing number of real estate professionals are reporting theft of prescription drugs from sellers’ homes. Don’t leave your prescription drugs out, or in unlocked cabinets, during showings; and properly dispose of expired prescription drugs.
- Unexpected Visitors: Beware of unexpected visitors coming to your doorstep. Refer all inquiries from other real estate brokers or buyers to your REALTOR®. The proper procedure for a showing is that only a real estate professional, using the lockbox, should gain access to your home.
- Weapons: It is important as sellers to remove not only weapons like guns before showings, but also not-so-obvious weapons too. For example, many homeowners may have a block of knives on their kitchen countertops; remove these as well.
- Locks & Lights: Take steps to ensure your house is safe for brokers and buyers. Turn on the lights prior to showings, whether it is daytime or evening, people can move safely through the home. Also, make sure all your doors and windows are lock prior to a showing.
- Pets: As a seller, you are also responsible for your pets. If possible, animals should be removed during showings. There have been incidents where buyers and brokers have been attacked by a pet; and the owner will be held liable.
Tips for Buyers:
- Neighborhoods: Educate yourself about the neighborhood you are interested in living. Try driving by the property at different times of the day to get a better sense of the neighborhood, perhaps even talk to neighbors. Also, ask your REALTOR® to provide a list of third-party resources to check on crime statistics.
- Vacant homes: Take extra precautions when viewing vacant homes. Do a perimeter search around the property before entering. Do you see broken windows, a kicked-in door, or any signs of someone living there? If you see such signs, don’t go inside. Also, be aware maintenance may need to be done around the house – loose floorboards, etc.
- Home’s History: Disclosure regulations vary greatly by state, so be sure to ask your REALTOR® about the home’s history. Things like electrical work, drug contamination, and the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange insurance report are all things to inquire about.
Educating buyers and sellers about safety issues helps avoid trouble and, in the end, keeps everyone safer in a transaction.
For more information about buying or selling a home, be sure to work with a REALTOR®, a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. Snohomish County-Camano Association of REALTORS® is the voice for real estate in Snohomish County. If you have questions for The Expert about real estate email us at email@example.com, or visit www.sccar.org.