Selling your home during the holidays? Here’s how to protect your gifts and valuables: Ask Joe

Selling your home during the holidays? Here’s how to protect your gifts and valuables: Ask Joe

My home is listed for sale and I’m working with my salesperson to schedule some open house dates over the holidays. But with gifts in my home, I’m concerned about possible theft. How can I safeguard my holiday shopping?

Your question is very timely, with extended Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in swing.

A lot of work goes into making a property look good for an open house. But security is just as important. You are wise to keep it top of mind.

There are a few steps you can take to help remove the temptation for would-be thieves. Before the open house, have a conversation with your real estate representative about the potential risks. They’ll be aware of the importance of personal and property safety, and can likely recommend additional measures to put in place during your open houses.

It is important to make security a part of the open house protocol. Doing so can reduce the potential for thieves to target your home. Speak with your salesperson about how they will monitor those who enter your home during showings and open houses. Some salespeople may require visitors to show a driver’s licence, or other form of photo identification, before touring your home. This sends a clear message that you’re keeping track of who enters the premises. Remember, it is your home, so you make the final decision regarding the steps to be followed to keep it secure.

Thieves know to look in closets and drawers, so valuable items should be placed somewhere secure — such as a safe. If possible, ask a trusted neighbour, friend or family member to store your valuable parcels during your open house.

Gifts and belongings are not all that are at risk of being stolen. It is important to secure your personal information, too. Keepingbank statements, credit card receipts, passports and confidential documentsout of sight, and out of reach, is a good practice.

Items typically at risk of theft include:

  • Portable electronics, including phones, tablets, laptops and portable speakers;
  • Jewelry and other valuable accessories, like watches;
  • Family heirlooms, including small pieces of artwork;
  • Passports, bills and documents with personal information.

As security becomes a growing concern, there are other tools available to help safeguard our homes. For example, there are many kinds of in-home video surveillance devices and alarm systems that you can use to improve security.

Most people visiting open houses are there to find a home — not to steal the belongings in it. But it is always best to be prepared, and to protect your valuable and vulnerable belongings from people with more sinister motives.

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I wish you a success with your open houses and a very happy holiday season.

If you have a question about the home buying or selling process, please email information@reco.on.ca.

Joe Richer is registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) and contributor for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @RECOhelps

TORONTO STAR

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