It’s been said that knowledge is power. And, while poking around in a home seller’s personal papers for knowledge isn’t what the average buyer does, there is always a chance that a bad actor will tour the home.
Even if what is noticed isn’t nefarious, if it gives the buyer knowledge of why you’re selling, or your financial picture, you may lose a bit of negotiating power.
Following is a list of ways to guard your privacy while your home is on the market.
1. See those stacks of mail on the counter?
They need to be put away. Overdue bills, and letters from divorce lawyers can all be a dead giveaway as to why you are selling your home.
Even your mortgage statements contain information that the buyer shouldn’t be privy to.
If you have a safe, lock them up. Otherwise, consider bagging them up and stowing them in the trunk of your car.
2. Clear the walls
It’s no-one’s business that you just graduated from college (and therefore have a lot of debt) or hold an advanced degree (a sign of deep pockets).
Get the diplomas and degrees off the wall and into storage.
Also consider removing anything else that includes family member’s names or achievements.
3. Clean out the closets
Yes, potential buyers open closets. All that mail and those diplomas you removed from the counters and walls? Don’t put them in the closet.
Do a check of closets to ensure no personal papers are left out.
4. Check the drawers
I hope you didn’t put the stacks of mail in a kitchen drawer. Yes, potential buyers open drawers as well. Box up and remove anything of a personal nature prior to showing your home.
5. What kind of reading material is lying around?
Trade journals and magazines can be a clue to how you make a living. If Single Parent magazine is sitting on the living room coffee table, a buyer may assume you’re in the process of getting a divorce.
The bottom line is: don’t give potential buyers personal information that could put them in a more powerful bargaining position.
6. And don’t give identity thieves the keys to your private life
This is just a short list of items to remove from view and, preferably, from the home:
- Bank statements
- Checkbooks and deposit slips
- Credit card and loan statements
- Anything that includes your driver’s license and/or social security number
- Insurance policies
- Anything to do with your mortgage
- Legal documents
- Anything having to do with taxes
- Anything that lists your passwords and pin
7. How is your Wi-Fi network security?
If you’re unsure how to secure your network plan on disconnecting your Wi-Fi and disabling smart devices during showings and open houses.
“… without the proper security, someone could easily hop onto your wireless network,” according to Nathan Chandler & Wesley Fenlon at electronics.howstuffworks.com.
This someone could be a savvy identity thief.
As mentioned earlier, the vast majority of home showings and open houses go off without a hitch. But it pays to be prepared for that rare occasion when someone wants your private information.
Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions.