For-sale sign not an open invitation

Homeowners who want to sell their properties should not throw their security measures overboard or slacken their vigilance.

“And they need to realise that while a for-sale sign on the pavement is a great marketing tool, it can also attract the attention of people with less than savoury intentions,” says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group.

“They should thus be very cautious when approached by people off the street who ask to view the property. Although the interest may be genuine, it is much safer to insist that possible buyers make an appointment with the seller’s estate agent to view the property at an appointed time.”

Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, Everitt notes that one of the most important functions of an estate agent is to protect the seller’s interests.

“Potential buyers should, for example, be pre-qualified to ensure that their interest is genuine and that they are in fact in a financial position to afford the property. A qualified agent can also filter genuine buyers from voyeurs with little better to do and criminals who may want to gain entry to scout out the property with the intent of returning to burgle it later.”

Therefore, he says, sellers should resist the temptation to allow passers-by who knock on their door to wander around their property in the hope that this will lead to a sale. They should rather hand out their estate agent’s business cards and ask people to arrange a proper viewing.

“Those that are genuinely interested will do just that – and those that don’t were obviously not all that interested anyway, or up to no good.”

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