For Sale by Owner News and Articles
Be Safe: Precautions to Take When Showing Your Home
At some point in the process of selling your home, you are going to need to let strangers inside so they can look around. Following are a few simple rules to help ensure that visits from potential buyers go smoothly and that you as the seller maintain your safety.
Before You Show the House....Screening Potential Buyers
Ideally, you will want to screen every potential buyer during an initial phone call in which you’ll try to determine whether the caller is a legitimate potential buyer. After getting a name and phone number(s), you can describe your home, then ask the caller a few questions: What part of town do you live? Are you a homeowner now? Is your house for sale? When are you hoping to move?If you think the caller is a legitimate buyer to whom you feel comfortable showing your home, make an appointment to do so. Before the appointment, call back to confirm it, just so you are assured that the caller truthfully represented his or her phone number.
Note: You will probably want to keep an organized log of all the calls you receive about your house, and a “visitors book” of those who you show the house to, listing their names, phone numbers and addresses. This way, you can call back potential buyers later to see how their house hunt is going, if they seemed like good prospects.
Minimizing Risk With “Drop-Ins”
Make sure that the “For Sale” sign in your yard also says “Shown by Appointment Only,” with your phone number. (Any flyers you post or hand out should say the same.) This will discourage passers-by from coming to your door to ask about the house on the spot, and will give you the opportunity to speak to them instead by phone, and get their names, phone numbers and other information.
Of course, some people will knock on your door anyway, despite the “appointment only” sign. Some may be good prospects, but you should be careful before allowing them in your home.
If you are considering letting the “drop-ins” see your home right away, insist upon getting them to write down their names, phone numbers and addresses before you show them your house. Then you can at least go to your phone book and verify their number (providing they live locally).
Never show your home to drop-ins if you are alone.
Never show your home to drop-ins after dark. In fact, some sellers choose not to show their homes after dark at all.
If for any reason you do not wish to show your home immediately, tell the drop-ins it’s inconvenient right then, and set up an appointment for later. Make sure to get their names and numbers so you can call and confirm!
While You Are Showing the House
Try to have another person with you when potential buyers visit.
Make sure that people on the street can see into your house — keep the curtains or shades open.
Safeguard your valuables. As a smart seller, you know that in order to make potential buyers feel comfortable in the house and not pressured, you need to stand back and let them walk through the house themselves at first. Thus, before showing the house, you must remove all easily portable valuables! Don’t just put them in a drawer, either. Jewelry, watches, small antiques, precious knick-knacks (anything you wouldn’t want someone to walk off with) —Make a list of the items, then store them in a safe-deposit box or with a friend or relative.
A Word About Open Houses
If you decide to hold an open house, remember that you don’t get a chance to screen the people who walk through your door during such an event. You should have another person with you throughout the open house, and remember to remove your valuables from the house beforehand.