Thinking about having an open house or creating a virtual tour to sell your home? Be careful not to reveal to much about your house. Not only do open houses, virtual tours, brochures, and MLS pictures attract buyers, but if you reveal too many details, you could be advertising to thieves and burglars too. Thieves love virtual tours and MLS pictures because they can be used to “case” your house from the comfort of the thief’s home. Follow these tips to reduce your exposure and prevent your marketing activities from attracting the wrong type of shopper?
Do Your Fliers, Brochures, Virtual Tours and MLS Pictures Create a Robbery Shopping List?
Before publishing any MLS photo, Virtual Tour or brochure, make sure the photos do not reveal:
- anything worth stealing, like jewelry, valuables, etc., and show where they are located
- a complete inventory of things easily accessible in your garage
- the location of your alarm sensors, sirens, keypad, or show where the system is located
- the location of your phone lines or electrical panel
- anything that reveals personal information about you or your children
- any unlocked access such as a “doggie door”
- great burglar hiding places to hide while observing your home
- the garage door opener emergency release cord which should be removed regardless of door type
- where ladders or useful tools are stored
Just How Open Is Your Open House?
Want to avoid getting ripped off during an open house? Before your next open house, be sure you:
- lockup or remove all small items that thieves like to steal such as jewelry, cellphones, notebooks, iPads, iPods, etc.
- remove all bills, checkbooks, mail, and any piece of information that could be used for identity theft
- make your agent record the names and contact information of all open house visitors
- place a video camera in your home to record visitor activity
- lockup or remove your prescription drugs
- do not leave any cash or checks laying around
- be sure to password protect your PC and lockup all backup tapes and media, especially USB drives and external backup disks
- remove all items of interest from your garage and tool shed
- check all locks to make sure they haven’t been tampered with after the open house
- remove all keys from the house. Don’t just hide them.
- trim all bushes and eliminate hiding spots
- keep outdoor lights on all night long
Remember, when you post something on the Internet or in a public place, all types of people will be looking at it. Not everybody has the best of intentions so you need to be careful. While you’re looking at your house from a buyer’s point-of-view, you might also look at it from a burglar’s perspective too. Be sure to ask your agent what precautions they will take to safeguard your house.