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5 Reasons For Sale By Owner Can Be Dangerous 

1. Is the buyer a "real buyer" and not a burglar that's casing the home and your family? See this article on how not to be a victim when you show your home to potential buyers. See article at bottom of this page.

2. Is the potential buyer loan or cash qualified? If not you may tie up your property for weeks only to find out that the buyer was never really qualified. Do you know the correct questions to ask a buyer or buyer's loan officer to verify their ability to buy?

3. You may be paying too much in closing costs. There are customary fees that the buyer and seller pay and if you don't know them you may foot the entire bill for the buyer. Do you have the correct state approved disclosure documents to deter future lawsuits?

4. Did you price your home correctly? If too high there will be no calls and the longer the property is on the market buyers may think there is a problem with the property.

5. Do you have the time to properly market and show your property when a qualified buyer is ready to view your home? Do you know if the market has moved up or down? You may be leaving money on the table if you don't understand the counter offer or multiple counter offer process to get the most money out of your property.

Don't become a crime victim when you show your home to potential buyers

Remove valuables before you hold an open house, and never let someone who arrives without an appointment into your home, especially when you're alone.

April 24, 2011|By Lew Sichelman

Reporting from Washington — As crime victims go, real estate agents don't compare to taxi drivers, who suffer the highest rate of homicide of any occupation, according to government statistics.

But every so often an agent is killed, robbed or beaten while showing a house for sale. So realty companies and trade organizations have made their agents' safety a top concern.

Rarely, though, do agents pass along safety tips to their clients. As a result, sellers may go about the business of putting their homes on the market oblivious to the dangers.

Andrew Wooten, a crime prevention expert in Jacksonville, Fla., who counts numerous realty boards and real estate firms as clients, maintains that "agents do a good job" of communicating the potential dangers to their clients.

Yet during a Web seminar this month sponsored by the National Assn. of Realtors, Wooten started off by saying that "safety often takes a back seat" when agents are rushing about to get ready for showings.

None of this is to say that you shouldn't hold an open house or allow someone to examine your property. But to be safe and to keep from becoming a victim, you should be aware of the risks.

Usually miscreants are after whatever they can jam into their pockets as they roam from room to room. But sometimes they are there to case the place for a future burglary. And occasionally they have worse things in mind. So here are some precautions sellers should take to protect themselves and their property:

•First and foremost, Wooten said, trust your instincts. The safety expert calls this your "checkup from the neck up," and stresses that intuition is your most powerful crime-fighting weapon. So if something or someone makes you uncomfortable, be extra alert and extremely careful.

•If a prospect or unknown agent shows up at your door unannounced, have him or her call your agent to schedule an appointment. No exceptions.

"Don't open your door to strangers," said Wooten, who wrote "The Real Estate Guide to Safety" and is president of SAFE Inc. "Call your agent. That's why you have one."

•Never let a stranger into your home when you are alone.

Agents are advised not to show houses alone, and neither should you. Ask a neighbor to come over while you show the visitor around. If no one is available to keep you company, tell the visitor to come back later or call your agent. It's better to lose a sale than your life. "There is safety in numbers," Wooten said.

•Identify your visitors. Agents often insist that everyone sign a guest registry to show their control and professionalism. They also screen their clients by putting them through a prequalification process.

At the very least, you should keep a visitors log. Ask for a driver's license or other photo ID and make sure the picture matches the face of the person in front of you. Get the visitor's address, phone number and license plate and driver's license numbers. Also jot down a brief physical description of the visitor and his or her automobile.


Bob F. Vavla | Realtor (Dual State) Nevada | California
Direct (702) 461-2258