We are currently in the process of selling our house. We have had lots of showings but no (reasonable) offers yet. When a realtor shows your house, they like it if you are not there. That's fine with us, but we still take some precautions because we don't know who is coming into our home and, well, personal safety is pretty important to me. Here's what we do:
- We have a realtor lock box on our home. The only way realtors can access the house is by using their computerized access to the key box. As soon as they open the box, a text message is sent to our realtor telling him who is entering the house and when.
- The house is "staged" for showing. In addition to removing stuff to make the home look larger, we have put away many personal possessions which was suggested by the realtor since it allows the viewer to imagine their stuff in our house. I also think this is a good idea because I don't want everyone who comes into my house to see some of the things that people commonly display in their homes (ie: things that can identify your military service, your special skills, your accomplishments, your travels, your family members, etc).
- All jewelry, firearms, mail, personal records (bank statements, investment statements), and other valuable items are put away, usually under lock and key. Again, this avoids the temptation of someone lifting your stuff and/or knowing too much about you.
- Stuff that I don't really want people to see are disguised as well as possible (ie: I don't want people to know where my gun safe is, don't want them to know that I have about six months worth of stored food, etc.).
- I have a half dozen computers in my home (all laptops) but I only leave one on display; the rest are put away. I don't want people who come to see the house to have any reason to come back and burglarize our place so our house is "staged" in a generically bland way. Obviously I'm not going to take all of the TVs off the wall, but other stuff such as the Wii, digital cameras, etc. are put away.
- After the house is shown and we return, we always check all of the doors and windows to make sure nothing was left unlocked. I also take a cursory glance around to see if anything looks disturbed.