John's Florida Real Estate Blog


Home Sellers Must Be Careful When Allowing Strangers Into Their Homes

Do you remember the days when we could leave our homes, sometimes for days at a time, without locking the doors? Seems like a long time ago. Today, we lock the door if we are just going to the mailbox. Homeowners need to be aware of some things they should do under certain circumstances.

If you are selling your home by yourself, it will be up to you to let potential buyers into your home for tours. This may also be the case if your listing agreement requires you to conduct the showings of your home by yourself. In many of these cases, the companies receive phone inquiries at their call centers, then they call to let you know that a "Mr. Smith" will be coming to see your home, and request that you give him a tour. No one has met this "Mr. Smith" in person. He could certainly be a legitimate buyer who is sincerely interested in purchasing your home. Or, he could want to enter your residence for "other" reasons. Here are some tips that may prevent you or your loved ones from getting into an uncomfortable situation.

1. If possible, do not be at home alone when the buyer comes. Have at least one other adult with you. Perhaps a neighbor could come over to stand-by during the showing.

2. Avoid allowing tours to take place after dark.

3. Before you open the door, confirm the person's name and the company that sent him or her to your home.

4. If you have a friend that lives nearby and a wireless or cell phone, call your friend. Then keep the line open and the phone in your hand while the buyer(s) is in your home. That way they can hear the conversation and also your request for assistance, if it is need.

5. While your friend is on the phone, and before the buyers get to the door, it would not be a bad idea to tell your friend the color, make, and license number of the car the people arrived in.

6. If your home has an alarm system with a portable "panic button", carry it with you while the visitors are in your home.

7. If more than one person comes to tour your home, try to keep them together as best you can. The last thing you want is to be in the kitchen with the wife while her husband is in the bedroom going through your valuables. If you followed the first rule and have someone with you, it will be easier to keep track of wanderers.

8. In the same vein, no matter how your home is being shown, it is best to lock away, or at least hide, any truly valuable items. You may even with to let a trusted friend or family member keep them for you during the weeks when the home will be shown.

9. Let the buyers enter the rooms before you do and station yourself at the door so that you can easily get out of the room if you should need to. You do not want to be blocked from the only exit. So make sure you are the one closest to the door.

10. If at any point you feel that something is "just not right", tell the visitors that you are not feeling well, and ask the buyers to return on another day.

11. After the "buyers" have gone, check to make sure that all windows and doors are still locked, and that none of them have been unlocked to permit an unauthorized entrance later on.

You should always be prudent when allowing strangers into your home, no matter how nice they seem.

One of the many advantages of using a full-service REALTOR®, like myself, is that when a tour is given, there will always be a licensed agent with the prospective buyer(s). I never ask a seller to conduct a showing. Either another licensed agent or I will handle that task as a part of our service to you. You do not even have to be at the home while the tour is going on.

Safety has become a very important issue in the world we live in. Take all the steps you can to make sure that your home selling experience has a happy ending!

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions concerning this topic. My phone number is 813-783-4444 and my e-mail address is:  Also feel free to add any of your own tips or ideas concerning safety during home showings by clicking on the comment button. Best of luck!

John Elwell - REALTOR


Bill Nye Realty, Inc.


Licensed in Florida


Comment balloon 0 commentsJohn Elwell • July 05 2007 01:38PM


This blog does not allow anonymous comments