There’s always a chance that someone browsing photos of real estate online and visiting open houses is actually trying to scope a property for valuables with intentions of breaking in later…or possibly something even worse.
There are several things you should keep in mind when staging a home to help ensure the homeowners safety.
Ensure small valuables are hidden. Make sure small items of value such as figurines, jewelry, cameras, iPods and even laptops aren’t out in plain view. Suggest to the homeowners that they have a designated bag or box to stash these items in and to take it with them when they leave for a showing if they don’t wish to store them off-site while the home’s on the market.
Keep paperwork out of site. Not only does a stack of bills and junk mail add clutter to the home, but it would only take a quick glance for someone to gain enough information to steal the homeowner’s identity. Tell the homeowners to keep items like this hidden well.
Personal items have to go. If you’re having a hard time convincing the homeowners that those trophies and diplomas will distract buyers by making them wonder about the current owners, remind them how much information those things give to people walking through their home. Trophies and photos of the kids playing their favorite sports would give someone plenty of information to use if they were wanting an easy way to lure those children. They’d have their names and their favorite hobbies to work with. Remind the homeowners they need to get rid of anything that identifies their children, where they go to school or what hobbies they enjoy.
Tone down the presence of large valuables. It’s important to note that photos of the home’s interior will be all over the Internet. Valuable artwork and expensive electronics will be shown, which saves a thief the trouble of scheduling a showing to see what goods are in the home.
Protect childrens’ identities. If the homeowners have their childrens’ names on the walls as a decorative item, that gives everyone looking at the photos online or walking through the home a very important detail especially when they have a home address and a map of the home via interior photos. Sure those signs are cute on a wall, but it’s not safe while the home’s for sale.
Be sure that your clients realize that during an open house, complete strangers will be walking through their home completely unsupervised and that you want to take all safety precautions you can.
I was inspired to write this post after reading a blog post on home staging and security written by Staging Diva Graduate, Heather Stewart. I’ve written about Heather several times before, for the wonderful job she’s done with branding her home staging business and also to acknowledge her for being named Entrepreneur of the Year by her local Chamber of Commerce. I’m not playing favorites by writing about Heather, but because she’s active on Twitter, I know what she’s doing.
If you’re a Staging Diva Graduate and you’d like some free publicity, just click here and fill in the blanks to let me know what you’re up to. Or start following me on Twitter and we can stay in touch that way. If you’re not on Twitter yet, check out the Home Stager’s Guide to Twitter and learn why you should be and how to get started!
Do you have any more home staging security tips I may have overlooked? Please share your best advice by leaving a comment below.
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Six Elements Inc. Home Staging
Debra Gould’s mission is to inspire people to follow their dreams. She developed the Staging Diva Home Staging Courses to teach others how to earn a living doing something they love.
[tags]home stager, home stagers, home staging, home staging and security, staging diva, home staging business[/tags]