5 Real Estate Safety Tips For Home Sellers

by Joe Manausa 

If you are planning on putting your home up for sale, whether on your own as a “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO), or through the services of a professional real estate broker, I encourage you to consider the issue of safety.

When I entered the real estate industry 24 years ago, this was just not an issue. Perhaps I was young (and in shape), but I just don’t think criminals had targeted homes,  home sellers, and real estate agents.

But you just can’t avoid the reports that you see nationally. Real estate agents meeting “buyers” alone at otherwise un-occupied homes have resulted in rapes, murders, theft, and vandalism. In today’s real estate market where values have declined and there is not as much equity in a home, it’s like adding insult to injury (or actually vice-versa) to add a horrific crime to an already difficult situation.

Fortunately, there are some steps a home seller can take to reduce the chances of harm to themselves or their property when they decide to sell their home.

Real Estate Safety Tips

  1. real-estate-safetyUnderstand The Plan – You can minimalize risk by understanding the plan. Identify who will be responsible for showing the home (you, your agent, the buyer’s agent) and how they will obtain access. DO NOT USE A HIDE-A-KEY or even a combination lock-box, as you have no idea who ultimately knows the code. Personally, I wouldn’t want the combination to my front door known beyond my immediate family members.
  2. Put Your Home On A Schedule – Whether you go it alone and sell your house “For Sale By Owner” or you hire a real estate company to sell your home, you should understand the plan for access to your home. On the one hand, you need to make access as easy as possible so that you can get buyers to see your home (when their schedules allow), but on the other hand, do not make it as simple as “just stopping by.” There must be a controlled access plan to reduce the risk of somebody taking advantage of your desire to sell your home.
  3. Secure Valuables And Drugs – I know of two stories (and several rumors) of real estate agents in Tallahassee who have stolen prescription medication from homes during an open house or showings. Now add to that all the stories I have not heard about prospective buyers doing the same and you can see this is not an infrequent occurrence. I suspect that theft occurs daily in real estate showings around the Country, so a homeowner needs to take basic precautions when the home hits the market. Secure your valuables, and secure your prescription medications. If strangers are going to be in your home, make sure it is secure.
  4. Control Access To Your Home – Joe Manausa Real Estate considers personal safety an important issue. There have been too many stories of single agents being raped, robbed, and even murdered after they agreed to meet unknown prospective home buyers at properties. Our policy is to meet all prospective buyers first at our office in order to get to know them and to identify them to our office staff before leaving the office. If you are a homeowner selling alone, you need to consider personal safety too when you develop your home selling plan. Will you let just anybody knock on the door and come in? Big Mistake (and not just because of safety). We know that open houses produce less than 1% of home sales in the US (where the buyer of a specific home was found through an open house of that same home). That means that somebody knocking on your door has less than a 1% likelihood of buying it, so do you really want to let them in? Good real estate agents qualify buyers before taking them to your home, shouldn’t you do the same? My advice, don’t let your desire to sell your home cloud your judgment on who should obtain access.
  5. Never Show Your Home Alone – Real estate agents work alone with buyers all the time. But we have a system that reduces most of the risk (as mentioned above about meeting buyers first at our office). Unless you personally know the person asking to see your home, make sure you qualify them first, and then schedule them to see your home when you and somebody else will be there. If you are single, get a friend to help you. If you live with somebody else, make sure two or more people are there to receive any visit or showing of somebody who is unknown to you. Don’t let them stroll through the house alone, rather guide them through the home and ask them questions (this will also help promote a sale of your property).

It is sad that we have evolved to a point where an article like this is needed, but please heed my advice. You can sell your home and for the most part “enjoy the process,” but a little preparation is necessary. If you would like to know more about selling a home, I have prepared a resource page on the Tallahassee real estate website. It contains 51 different articles on selling a home, and you can find it at the following link:The Definitive Resource On How To Sell A House

Joe Manausa, MBA is a 24 year veteran of real estate brokerage in the State of Florida and has owned and managed his own company since 1992. He is a daily blogger with content that focuses on real estate analytics and providing his clients with a tactical advantage in today’s challenging market.

5 Real Estate Safety Tips For Home Sellers was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

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Locking Down Wireless Home Security for Renters

home security for renters

People put off installing home security systems for all kinds of reasons. Sure, having a big, barking dog and living in a nice neighborhood may help — but burglars are smarter than you think.

A burglary occurs every 15 seconds in the United States, and homes without security systems are up to three times more likely to be targets of a burglary.

And it turns out that renters are actually the last group of people who should delay securing their homes. “The burglary rate for rental properties was 56 percent higher than the rate for owner-occupied homes,” reveals a 30-year study by the U.S. Department of Justice.

If concerns about the price of a security system are holding you back, you might be surprised to learn that while monthly monitoring can run from $ 15 to $ 100, the average monthly cost is just $ 30. And when you factor in reduced renter’s insurance after your security system is installed, the cost of a safe home is cheaper than you’d think.

Still not convinced? Today’s security systems are more streamlined and easier to use than ever. With home automation a growing trend and apps available for everything in your life, it’s only fitting that your security system is just as tech savvy.

Benefits of a wireless home security system

If you’re debating whether a wired or wireless home security system is better, read on to learn why a wired system can’t compete with a wireless setup.

  • Affordable installation. Setting up traditional wired systems requires drilling through sheetrock to run cables through your walls. Wireless installation is mess-free, and often easy enough to install yourself rather than paying for a professional installation.
  • Clutter-free. With a wireless security system, individual sensors communicate wirelessly to the control panel. This means you won’t need to hide a network of wires within the walls and floors of your home.
  • Easy troubleshooting. Wireless systems make troubleshooting a breeze. Practically any issue can be solved remotely, saving you time and money on the technician visit you’d face with a wired system.
  • Portable. A wireless system is a portable system. You can take your security system with you when you move.
  • Less down time. With a wired system, when there’s a power outage or line cut, chances are your wired security system will go down, too. But wireless systems aren’t vulnerable to the same issues a wired system faces. And with a wireless system’s battery backup, you can rest easy knowing your home will always be secure.

Modern day security musts

With so many wireless home security options, choosing the best option for your family’s needs can be overwhelming. Here are a few of the top choices on the market today.

  • ADT. ADT’s wireless options include wireless motion detectors, door sensors and video cameras — and all enable you to adjust your sensors as needed.
  • Vivint. Vivint is ahead of the wireless security game. With options ranging from a doorbell video to remote door access, Vivint has security options for every renter’s needs.
  • Frontpoint. Frontpoint makes wireless security a breeze. With its touchscreen panel, mobile app, keychain remotes and wireless cameras, Frontpoint has you covered.
  • LiveWatch. LiveWatch’s Plug&Protect system is a touchscreen system you can install yourself. And with the ability to add to your system as your needs change, LiveWatch will adapt with you as your family evolves.
  • Protect America. Protect America prides itself on having the latest wireless alarm technology. With glass break sensors to detect broken windows and garage door sensors to alert you if your garage is opened without your permission, Protect America has some of the most innovative security tech on the market.

Still unsure about which system is best for you? Consider whether you plan to move in the next few years, if you want mobile access, and if you really need security cameras. With endless wireless security options, it’s important to consider your needs versus wants.

DIY security options

With so many wireless home security options, cost should no longer be a worry. And it turns out, installing your own system is much easier than you’d think.

Most DIY systems are wireless; the basic elements of a DIY system are a main panel with keypad, sensors and motion detectors. You can compare DIY systems to choose the one that’s best for you.

There’s no excuse good enough to delay your home security planning. And with such ease in installation, instant alerts, interactive monitoring and lower costs than ever, now’s the perfect time to step up your rented home security game.

Related:

Zillow Blog – Real Estate Market Stats, Celebrity Real Estate, and Zillow News » Tips & Advice

Locking Down Wireless Home Security for Renters was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

15 Tips for Safeguarding Your Home While on Vacation

Summer months, when people typically take trips out of town, spawn the most burglaries and household property crimes according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Nobody wants to come home after an enjoyable escape to find their home ransacked and valuables missing. By taking some precautions, you can avoid becoming a victim of intruders or thieves and return home to the same comfortable living conditions you left.

 

Home Burglary

 

Here are some tips on how to deter break-ins:

1. Put Your Lights on Timers

When different lamps and overhead lights come on at different times, criminals tend to think someone is home.

Well Lit Home

2. Install an Alarm System

If you don’t already have one, now is the time to secure your home with an alarm. The Insurance Information Institute says you’ll probably get a discount on your homeowners insurance if you do.

Home Alarm System

3. Invest in Deadbolt Locks

Can’t invest in an alarm right now? Then, at least place deadbolts on your doors and windows, making it more difficult for criminals to get inside your home. Or double your protection and use both an alarm and deadbolts.

Deadbolt

4. Set Up a Webcam

Surveillance cameras can be costly, but you can use your webcam for the same purpose at a fraction of the cost. Follow guidance provided by TechHive.

Web Cam

[Starting a home improvement project? Click to find certified professionals near you.]

5. Stop Your Mail

Nothing shouts you’re “not home” like bills, ads and other envelopes piling up in your mailbox. Make sure and stop delivery arrangements online with the U.S. Post Office. Or have a friend or neighbor pick up your mail everyday.

Mail Delivery

6. Suspend Newspaper Delivery

You don’t want old newspapers scattered on your front porch either, so call the newspaper and arrange to put delivery on hold for the length of your vacation.

Newspaper Delivery

7. Keep Quiet on Social Media

Don’t share any details on how long you’ll be gone or where you’re going on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site. You never know who might have access to your vacation plan posts.

Posting on Facebook

8. Unplug Electronics

This way burglars can’t get a hold of your personal financial information on your computer.This will also save on your electric bill. If you’re using a webcam, you’ll need to keep that computer on.

Unplug Electronics

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9. Turn off Automatic Garage Doors

Intruders have been known to use a universal remote to gain entry into homes through the garage, so shut it down before you leave.

Automatic Garage Doors

10. Remove Portable GPS from Your Vehicle

If you’re flying to your destination and leaving your car at the airport or in nearby airport parking, thieves can steal your car and head right to your home.

Portable GPS

11. Make Your Home Look Lived In

Do what you normally do while at home. If you have the blinds open during the day, don’t close them while on vacation. Have your lawn mowed if you’re going to be gone for a significant amount of time. Also, park a car in your driveway so it looks as if someone is home.

Open Blinds

12. Get Rid of the Hidden House Key

Intruders know all the usual hiding places for extra keys, so unless you have a brilliant no one has ever thought of, don’t bother to conceal one outside at all.

Key Under Rock

[Starting a home improvement project? Click to find certified professionals near you.]

13. Assess Your Yard

Walk around your front and back yards to see if someone could easily be concealed in your shrubbery or bushes. If so, cut them back.

Trim Bush

14. Turn Off Alarm Clocks

You don’t want someone to hear the endless beeping of your alarm, making them realize nobody is inside to turn it off.

Alarm Clock

15. Lock Up

Before you drive away, be sure you’ve checked all the locks and armed your alarm.

Arm Security Alarm

 

Do you need help with a home improvement project? Use our instant estimate tool to get a price in seconds and find certified professionals in your area. Get a price. Get a pro. Get it done.

Related Articles:

The post 15 Tips for Safeguarding Your Home While on Vacation appeared first on Pro.com Blog.

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15 Tips for Safeguarding Your Home While on Vacation was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

Safety When Meeting A New Client – An URGENT Warning

This alarming attack happened Wednesday, July 22nd in the Metro Atlanta area.    Video linked below article. Please share this story with everyone you can.

A 38-year-old man, who police say dressed up as a woman, is facing charges he assaulted a Gwinnett County real estate agent.

Jeffrey Wayne Shumate is currently in Gwinnett County Jail facing aggravated assault, false imprisonment and battery charges.

“We don’t know why he decided to dress in women’s clothing and we don’t know his motivation,” said Cpl. Michele Pihera with the Gwinnett County Police Department.

The real estate agent was showing the man a home along Sugarloaf Parkway, in Gwinnett County, on Wednesday morning.

“When she (the real estate agent) got there she felt uneasy about the situation. She didn’t want to go inside the home by herself,” Pihera said.

After the man exited the home, he attacked the agent who was waiting on the front porch, according to investigators. She was able to track down a passing car, and they called 911.

“She tried to fight off the offender and she tried to run away and ultimately that probably saved her life,” Pihera said.

REALTORs and other Real Estate professionals, please be careful out there. If you are UNSURE about who you are meeting, activate FACETIME on your iPhone and keep the connection open with someone in your office. If you don’t have an iPhone, use Hangouts or Skype if you use Android. If you have problems setting up something like this, please message me and I’ll be happy to tell you how to do this.

The absolute best thing I can recommend is to meet a new client in a public place BEFORE you agree to meet them out at property. Get a photo of their car, their car tag and finally a clear photo of their face. If they question you, simply tell them it is your company policy, and if they press further, refer them to your broker – who should be 100% on board with this kind of policy. If they refuse any of this, they are not a client you wish to deal with – regardless of the potential paycheck.

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1

By Michael Allgood

Safety When Meeting A New Client – An URGENT Warning was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home