Once you have decided to sell your home, you will want to show it to many potential buyers. There are advantages as well as risks associated with letting strangers into your house. A common risk linked with allowing unknown people to see your house is “privacy invasion”. With an innocuous action like opening a drawer of a cabinet, a buyer can get information about you and your family which you may not like to share. In fact, there is a long list of little things that can reveal more about you than you can think of. A buyer who knows a lot about you can use this information to his advantage. As a seller, you cannot stop a buyer from seeing your house, but you can take the following precautions to protect your privacy:
(1) Screen all potential buyers
Whenever someone calls to inquire about your house, note down their name, address, and telephone number. Hire a real estate agent who screens buyers before sending them off to you.
(2) Inquire about buyer’s finances
Ask a buyer if he has a pre-approved home loan. If a buyer does not have the means to pay for your house, you are wasting your time.
(3) No appointment. No entry
Let buyers enter your house only after an appointment. You cannot let just anyone to come and demand a look-around because you have a “For Sale” tag hanging in your front yard.
(4) Double check locks after a buyer’s visit
A home buyer may intentionally or unintentionally leave some doors and windows open or ajar. These are a potential threat to your security and privacy. Spending a couple of minutes on double checking the doors and windows goes a long way in protecting your privacy.
(5) Depersonalize your home
Remove all diplomas, family photographs, and the things that can reveal anything about you. Check the drawers twice for any sensitive papers. You would not want a buyer to find your huge credit card bill in a drawer.
(6) Focus on bedroom
A bedroom is the most personal area in a house. When you are selling your home, make sure you have removed everything but your clothes from the bedroom. This way you will save yourself from many potentially embarrassing scenarios.
(7) Forward mail to your parents
A buyer has every right to check your mailbox. You will not want any potentially sensitive mail getting into their hands. Forward all your mail to your parents’ or friends’ mailboxes when you are selling your house.
(8) Do not be too friendly
Selling a house is a business transaction. Behave like a professional, be respectful to the buyer, talk about the weather, but do not discuss your family matters with him.
(9) Remove jewelry, credit cards, weapons, and prescription drugs
Remove all these items. You do not know the character of the buyer. He may be a very kind person, or a criminal on parole.
(10) Do not negotiate
A shrewd buyer can elicit much information about you through clever negotiation. You have told the asking price. Stick to it. If the buyer insists, politely tell him to get a home value report online. They can easily get one on Neighborhood IQ.
It is very important to protect your privacy throughout the process of showing your house to potential buyers. Keep these 10 mantras in mind and stay safe.