It's an unfortunate fact that thieves often target homes on the real estate market. Sometimes these thieves are serial offenders, but they can also be prospective buyers or real estate agents gone rogue.
To minimize temptation, store your valuables, especially fine jewelry, in a safe and secure place whenever you have potential buyers or agents in your home. Avoid leaving valuables unsecured in easy-to-access areas. We've outlined several ways to avoid mistakes and keep your valuables safe before and while you sell your home.
Before Listing Your Home
Protecting your belongings starts before your home even goes on the market. Complete these simple tasks ahead of time to ensure that you can protect yourself and recover any losses if something goes wrong.
1. Make sure you have a detailed receipt or appraisal for each piece of jewelry. A detailed receipt will have information about each item's metal and diamonds or precious gemstones. It should also have the price you paid or a current estimate of the piece's value. These documents will be very useful in the event something does happen to your valuables.
2. As you begin the process of listing your home and staging your house for pictures or virtual tours, take jewelry boxes off the counters and remove jewelry cabinets or armoires from view. Criminals often case homes using the listing photos, so don't leave any signs of fine jewelry in these promotional images.
3. We're focusing on your precious jewelry and valuables, but you can also apply these tips to any item someone may be tempted to steal.
While Your Home is on the Market
Now that you've appraised your jewelry and removed it from sight, let's talk about how to protect your belongings while strangers visit your home.
Lock it up -- Most real estate experts will tell you that the best way to keep any item safe is to lock it up. It's not as simple as "out of sight, out of mind"; you don't know who might open drawers or cabinets during an open house. Find a secure place that you can store your valuables, such as a safe or a locking drawer. If you don't have a safe or secure place to lock away your jewelry, consider renting a safety deposit box while your home is on the market.
Find a friend -- Your friends and neighbors will be sad to see you go, but you might be able to ask them for one last favor. Ask a trusted friend to babysit your valuables temporarily. Explain that you'd like to keep them out of the house while strangers are present, and be willing to reward them with homemade treats or a bottle of wine for their generosity. But before you ask, make sure they're a good candidate for the job. Do they have small children who get into everything, or do they have contractors or other strangers in their home? No matter what, secure your pieces in a locked box before you take them over.
Take it with you -- This won't work for everyone, as some agents bring prospective buyers over when you're out of the house. But if you require your agent to give you notice whenever they schedule a visit, this option may be the perfect fit for you. Keep your valuables ready to lock up and take with you before the appointment begins. This option may be the most difficult in today's housing market, since many buyers want to see your home on short notice.
Whichever solution you choose, make sure to put your pieces into soft velvet pouches, jewelry boxes, or small plastic bags. This storage technique will keep each item separate and safe from scratching, tangling, or other damage. Check your homeowner's policy to make sure your policy covers valuables. Your diamonds may be covered against chipping, cracking and loss from the mounting by your jeweler, but loss and theft of the entire ring may not be covered. If you need additional coverage, it's best to know as soon as possible.
Selling a home can be a stressful time, but these steps will save you from worrying about your valuables. With some creativity and planning, you can rest assured knowing that prospective buyers won't be tempted to take anything that's not theirs.
Dan Decker is the charismatic, romantic, and knowledgeable Customer Care Manager for Robbins Brothers. He has been with the company for nearly 20 years and enjoys helping customers fulfill their engagement dreams. When he's not working, it's all about quality time spent with his daughter and lovely wife of 20+ years.
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