For Sale by Owner - Avoid the Hidden Dangers

by : Rosalie Kimberlin

I am sure you have heard about people being robbed and attacked when they have placed ads in the paper for everything from puppies to vehicles. Why do you think this cannot or has not happened to people selling their homes?

How many strangers have you given your home phone number or invited into your home?

This is what you do when you put your home phone number on a sign and place it on your front lawn or at the corner of your street. Then you invite a perfect stranger or strangers into your home where anything can happen.

Here are a few tips on protecting yourself in the event your would be buyer is not who you think he or she is.

* Use your cell phone number on any for sale signs and indicate that it is a cell phone.

* If someone calls to set up a showing, NEVER tell them you will not be there at a certain time. This just sets you up for a burglary. Make an excuse that does not take you away from the residence such as you have company coming.

* Get as much information as you can over the phone from the "buyer" before you set up a showing. Realtors get quite a bit of information from prospective buyers before they show homes to weed out lookie loos etc.

* While your home is on the market remove your valuables and place them in a safe deposit box, a diversion safe or at the home of a trusted friend or relative.

* If you have a room or area full of valuables you cannot move, think about setting up a hidden camera.

* NEVER show the home alone. A "buyer" could bring several people with him/or her and you cannot keep tract of what they are doing . They could enter other parts of your residence and take small items or view personal papers.

* Which brings to mind, keep any checking account or other personal information out of sight.

* An inconspicuous self defense product such as a pepper spray pen, a stun gun cell phone, or at the least a personal electronic whistle would be a good idea just in case the "buyer/s" turn out to have criminal activity in mind.

* DO NOT sign anything without the advice of a good real estate attorney.

Personally, I think it would be more prudent to leave the sale of probably your most valuable asset to a professional real estate agent. In any event, use caution and commonsense.