FSBO (For Sale By Owner)Safety… Selling Your Own House Safely. Tips for selling and eliminating the danger.

April 27, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
According to Tracey Hawkins, owner of Safety and Security Source, a personal safety products and safety training company, there are some key steps that homeowners can take to safely sell their houses on their own. According to Hawkins, "People get dollars signs in their eyes thinking about how much money they will save by not paying a commission, but they often fail to think about their safety and that of their family. It doesn't have to be scary, but people need to be educated".

Screening is a technique that Hawkins teaches to real estate agents and says that homeowners would be smart to employ the technique as well. As homeowners you should never let strangers who walk up to your door into your house. People wouldn't ordinarily do that, so safety should not go out of the window because your house is on the market. Children should be told to not let anyone in the house, no matter what they say. All lookers should schedule an appointment in advance.

Sellers need to be aggressive and willing to ask tough questions. Screening all who tour your house is mandatory. Hawkins says that if buyers refuses to answer questions, question their motives. "If they are legitimate, they expect to answer even personal financial questions." Sellers should ask for employment information and get a phone number to call them at work. Ask for a home phone number, do Internet research and confirm they are the actual property owners or call their landlord or talk to their lender and confirm that they are legitimate buyers.

Sellers often overlook simple steps like never giving out your home phone number to buyers. Would-be criminals will know when you are not home if they call and don't get an answer. Hawkins says it seems innocent enough, but you shouldn't advertise when you aren't home. "Telling would-be buyers that no one is home at a certain time of the day let's them know the perfect time to come back and rob you."

There is safety in numbers; therefore safety experts recommend that you never show your home alone. Have another adult with you. Avoid exposing your children to strangers in the house. "Trusting buyers is a no-no that even real estate agents do at times, you should always accompany buyers throughout your house at all times. This allows you to prevent theft and the unlocking of windows and doors for later re-entry when you aren't home. Open Houses are a different story, you can't follow everyone around, so re-consider holding them."

It may seem like overkill, but sellers should hide all valuables: jewelry, bank info, prescription medication, etc. Hide them where thieves don't think to look. If necessary, put valuables in storage or a safe deposit box. When sellers enlist the help of real estate agents, the agents will tell them to do the same thing, it's difficult to guard valuables at every moment, especially during open houses if you choose to hold one.

Although the thought is scary, Hawkins says that sellers should always have your escape route pre-planned just in case of an emergency. “ Never let buyers get between you and your escape route (the front or back door). Also, you should never enter a room or space before the buyer does. They should always go first."

Always let someone; relative, friend or better yet, a neighbor, know who’s coming to see your house and at what time. Have a check-in time, if they don't hear from you at a pre-determined time, they need to call or get to your house immediately. With communication being so important, an idea that is simple, yet brilliant is to keep your cordless home phone in hand at all times in case you need to call for help. This is better than a cell phone because with 911- your address will pop up on the dispatch operators screen even if you can’t talk.

Hawkins states that sometimes you have to be clever, so learn what’s on the market to protect your and your valuables. There are can and book safes with hollow compartments for hiding valuables, portable motion alarms that turn lights or radios on to give the impression that you are home when you aren't and personal safety devices such as pepper spray that homeowners need to know about that can help make the process safer as well. She lists those products on her website: www.safetyandsecuritysource.com

Finally, Hawkins advises that if this seems a little more serious and involved than what you expected to have to deal with and you are uncomfortable taking these extra precautionary steps, call a real estate agent who is trained to protect not only themselves, but to advise you on protecting your valuables as well.