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 The Safety of Your Home when You Open it Up to Buyers (Part 2)
By: Darin "Sid" Cameron, CRS
Sat, Jun 4th, 2005 11:46 pm

Recently the San Francisco Chronicle posted two stories that labeled open houses and online postings of your home as nothing more than an invitation to theft.

So why do real estate agents do these things?

Well, the unfortunate cold hard reality is that if people don’t see your home, odds are in favor they won’t buy it.

There really isn’t a way around this fact because very few buyers buy homes sight unseen (generally those that do are looking to bulldoze your home as soon as you are gone!).

For that reason, when you want to sell your home you really have no choice but to open it up to people you don’t know.

And like it or not, when you open your home up to prospective home buyers you also open it up to the public at large who may be pretending to be a home buyer so they can be nosey, curious, or worse.

The solution to this problem, however, is to just use a whole lot of common sense- don't make theft easy!

The mark of a good real estate agent is someone who will walk through the home with the client and discuss how to “stage” the home well before the home is ever listed.

Most people confuse "staging" with decorating, but they're not the same thing.  In fact, they're really the opposite.  Decorating is personalizing your home, staging is depersonalizing it so it's free of clutter and distraction.  (I discussed this topic in February, see: “Your Basement Smells Like Urine Part III”).

What this has to do with theft is that the stuff people want to steal is often times the exact same stuff people find distracting!

The average buyer only spends a few minutes in a home before they head out to the next one. That’s why you want your prospective buyers looking at the home and the home’s unique selling features- not the stuff in it.

A good staging recommendation is to pre-pack anything that is distracting, eye catching, breakable, or VALUABLE that you don't need to use day to day- leaving nothing out in the open that you wouldn’t let a group of small children or pack of dingoes be around.

And when you're packing your valuables, I personally recommend you consider a service like PODS- Portable On-Demand Storage.  PODS (and other services like them) deliver a storage container to your driveway about the size of a lawn mower shed.  When your PODS is full, you simply call them up and they will come and haul it away to their storage facility.

This not only removes your valuables from your home (so they can't be stolen by visitors) but also eliminates the clutter making it easier to show and sell your home as well as pack and move when the home does sell.  And unlike a traditional move, you don't have all your stuff sitting around in the garage or basement in nice, easy to steal boxes waiting for a truck to arrive on moving day.

The downside of PODS is everything you put in storage may be there for months until you're ready to unpack at your new home.  In Part 3 we'll look at solutions for those valuables you can't quite live without that long.

[ Next Article: The Safety of Your Home when You Open it Up to Buyers (Part 3) ]
[ Previous Article: The Safety of Your Home when You Open it Up to Buyers (Part 1) ]


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Darin "Sid" Cameron spent 15 years working in the technology industry which in 1998 relocated him to St. Louis. In 2004 he took over web development tasks for Kimberly's real estate team and later became the full-time Marketing and Operations Director in 2005. In 2011 Sid launched two brokerages, The Realty Store, Inc. and Realty Referral Partners, Inc, while continuing to perform marketing and operations for Kimberly's team. Sid holds a real estate broker's license in Missouri, CRS certification and was the first CyberStar in the St. Louis area.
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