Consumer Alert: Protect your "for sale" home from theft

Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 6:42pm

It can be risky business letting a stranger take a walk through your home, but one local realtor says there are ways to avoid being scammed when you're selling your house.

Seasoned real estate agent Janet Anderson know its always best to be on guard when showing a house for sale.

"People are very clever about being able to disguise what their motives are," she says.

That's why she warns homeowners to stash their valuables before letting potential buyers through the door. It only takes a second for someone to swipe something off a counter and stick it in a pocket.

Prescription drugs are easy targets. "They're looking through drawers to see how much room and storage you have, but they're also looking and possible seeing that there's prescription medication." 

Valuable jewelry, collectables, money, keys, and personal information, like bank statements, should also be hidden.

This is especially important for people selling homes without a real estate agent. Realtors generally screen their potential buyers before giving them the grand tour. They make sure the buyer has already been to a mortgage company for starters. Often times, potential buyers are interviewed and pre-qualified before they ever set foot in a house on the market.

Since independent sellers don't get the chance to pre-screen their potential buyers, Anderson says they need to be extra careful. She says its important to always have more than one person with you when showing a home. Sellers need to make sure that they keep a close eye on anybody thinking about buying their house.

"That's what happens when working with the general public. You're opening the door to whatever walk of life," says Anderson.

For more on realtor safety, check out this website.

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