With identify theft rampant, homeowners need to be on guard before they can put their Windsor property on the market. It is amazing what people can find out about you in little clues that have been left around the home.
Here are some tips that every seller should follow before they list:
You think your private papers are safe if they are left in a drawer? Believe it or not, if a drawer is part of a built-in, such as a home office, kitchen or dining room cabinet, buyers often look inside to inspect the depth or construction of the furniture. Leaving valuable and personal information in the drawers means buyers have access to it. Remove every personal paper that you don’t want seen in built-in cabinets.
Often times, sellers will hear about a showing at the last minute. After making sure the house is clean, they will run out only to leave the mail on the counter. Here, people can tell what your bills are, especially those marked “URGENT.” Also, if bank statements have arrived and are left open, buyers can get an eyeful. Keep mail stored in a locked and secured place and never put any information up on bulletin boards, the refrigerator or anywhere else that can be easily seen by buyers. And don’t forget, this is also true if mail is delivered to vacant homes.
Information on children/family members:
Homeowners should remove any personal information regarding their children such as their names in their room, where they go to school, etc. It’s just never a good idea for a buyer to walk away and know more about the family members than the property for sale. Staging a home so that a buyer focuses on the positive points of the house, and not the tiny details of your family, should be the very top priority. Take down calendars that gives your daily schedules as buyers will kow when you are home, and when you aren’t.
Buyers look into medicine cabinets to check out storage and theyoften take note what type of medications are left in the cabinet. Any other personal belongings that you don’t want buyers to see from your bathroom should also be stored elsewhere. I suggest sellers have a box placed in their bathroom where they can immediately put their medications when there is a showing. This can be placed in the trunk of their car for safekeeping.
Many sellers keep private information or materials in their closet. Again, buyers always look here to check out storage, yet they are also taking a glimpse at your personal life whether they want to or not. My advice when preparing your home for sale is to empty your closet by two-thirds. Not only will it create and give the appearance of more storage, but it will also give you the opportunity to remove anything you don’t want a buyer to see.
For whatever reason, buyers will often assume various things when they see a diploma on the wall. I’ve heard stories where they may think the seller has lots of student debt so they will make a lowball offer. Agents have also reported that they have had buyers who don’t want to buy from lawyers, as negotiations will be difficult. Overall, a buyer does not need to know the occupations of the homeowners. If the seller is a doctor, some buyers will also bid low as they may assume incorrectly that money may not be an issue. Regardless, buyers can often take information they have gathered and use it as they see fit.
The good news of course, is that almost all buyers are truly interested in purchasing a home and not what is in your cabinets. But if the information is truly visible, then you may be shooting yourself in the foot. I find these steps are especially important to take prior to any open houses. Here, you mostly have, what we call in the real estate business, “looky loos,” and NOT buyers that visit your home. Basically, you can have anyone walk into your home and roam at his or her free will. If the real estate agent is busy with other clients, then your house is wide open to people off the street.
So don’t leave any clues about you and your family when you prepare for a showing. Make sure that all confidential information is carefully stored and locked up, as you will be shocked to learn what buyers can learn from you.