Showing homes is normally thought of as a safe and exciting venture. However, when you consider that the process involves open doors and a trusting environment, it may not be as safe as you think.

Recently there was an alleged property theft in Elmhurst during a showing. A seller of ours expressed great concern after reading this story in the Police Blotter. For extra precaution, he will now only allow his home to be shown when he is present.

This is an occurrence that I wish we didn't have to write about, but it is something that we think you need to be aware of. The following article offers some great suggestions for precautions that Realtors and sellers should keep in mind when it comes to opening your house to the public.

Secure your home before you let strangers in.  Most of us never think about people taking things from our homes.  My knowledge and experiences within the real estate industry and some of the feedback generated by agents, theft is a real issue.  Protect your valuable belongings before you show your home or have an open house.

I publish a showing guide that is given to my customers at the time I list their home for sale.  Here are a few basic hints to protect your valuables.

  • Never leave money jars or coin collections in plain site or in obvious places.
  • Never leave valuable jewelry in jewelry boxes.  Where is the first place to look for a family diamond ring?
  • Watches in top drawers.
  • Blank checks or check books.
  • Credit cards and certainly not mail with new unsigned credit cards!
  • Medicines and prescription drugs.  Thief of prescription medicine has been on the rise now for over 5 years.  So don't leave your medicine in the kitchen cabinet or medicine cabinet.

How do the thieves work, diversion tactics, and usually work in pairs.  They get the agent talking about the house and while the partner goes off in other rooms.  Experienced agents say to the prospective buyer, "let's walk maybe I can answer your question to both of you at the same time".  This keeps the pair together and in sight.

If you are asked to show your home and no agent is available and the buyer is not represented by an agent, NEVER show your home without another adult present!  It only takes once to ruin your life.  Agents have been attacked when showing empty homes to buyer's alone, you are no different.

Be aware of slow drive-by cars.  Most of the time this is perfectly fine other times this can be someone checking out your home to see if it is vacant.  They also can be checking security for a possible break-in.

This only a partial list but once you become aware of the dangers you can make your own security precautions before, during and after showings.

I hope this security reminder has been helpful.  If you have any questions or comments please send us an email.