In hot real-estate markets, many homeowners are opting to try and save 3% of their commissions by listing their homes for sale online, instead of through a traditional selling agent. However, selling your home online and forgoing the protections of a realtor’s lockboxes and seller’s agents can pose some extra security risks. Here are some tips to help keep your home and possessions safe while selling online.
Don’t List Your Address :
If you’re listing your home with the MLS (multiple listing services), you’ll probably be required to list the actual address of the property. If you’ve listed your home on a site like Nextdoor to see if you can garner interest without the fees, go ahead and list your neighborhood, basic information like a number of bedrooms and bathrooms, but leave your address off. This can help to narrow the number of calls you get to people that are truly interested and can reduce unwanted traffic from people just stopping by.
Depersonalize Your Home :
Remove pictures of your family or children, and make sure that any mail or identifying information has been stashed out of sight. If you get to the point where there is an offer on your home, they will need to know who you are, but don’t expose your personal or private information to people that are just browsing.
Use a VPN if You’re Living Elsewhere :
If you’ve already moved and the house is empty, you don’t want to advertise that information to people you’re communicating with about the home, or you may find all your copper pipes and appliances missing when you return. Use a VPN to obscure your location so that interested buyers (or would-be thieves) don’t realize that you are not keeping an eye on the property. They are not nearly as complex or difficult to set up as they sound, and many people use them for things as simple as watching streaming videos when outside the US.
Don’t Allow Drop-Ins :
Be certain that you are only showing your home by appointment if you aren’t going to have an agent showing the home. While there may be a few people that stop by because they saw a sign in the yard, there is also a good chance that someone could use the opportunity to scope out your home for any valuables or potential weaknesses.
Lock Up or Remove Valuables :
Even when photographing the home for a listing, you don’t want to advertise the fact that you have a 60-inch flat screen TV hanging on the wall. Move any expensive electronics (minus the appliances) or jewelry boxes, silver chests, and safes, to a secure storage facility while your home is on the market, to reduce the possibility of those items ending up stolen. If they don’t see anything worth taking, they likely won’t bother.
Go Bag for Prescriptions :
A 10-second pass through your bathroom can result in theft of prescription medications, especially if they have any street value. Keep a “go bag” on the bathroom counter while your house is on the market so that any medications can be quickly scooped up and taken with you if you have to vacate the house for a showing. Other small items like cell-phones or tablets can also be also be added on your way out the door.
Home Security Cameras :
Consider investing in a set of home security cameras. They can be purchased inexpensively online through many retailers and can help put your mind at ease when people are wandering around your home. Even if you can’t afford a monitoring service, many of them come with free software, and sometimes just seeing a camera can be a deterrent.
There can be some risks in listing your home for sale online, but with a little bit of common sense and planning, you can take steps to minimize those risks and put your mind at ease.