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Preparing a home for sale typically involves some level of preparation.  The home is usually cleaned and painted.  There may be updates to the kitchen or baths.  Maybe new carpet is installed or the hardwood floors are re-finished.  The final touch is to professionally stage the home with nice furniture and accessories.  Every once in a while there are things that occur in staged and vacant homes.  One such incident occurred last week in the south bay.

A vacant and staged home that was listed for sale was broken into and some of the homeowner’s property as well as some of the staging furniture and accessories were stolen.  It appears that the thief(s) had cased the home during the prior weekend’s open houses and later came back and took the items.  It also appears that the lock box (where the property key is secured in between each showing) was stolen and the thieves may have used the key to gain entry.

The home recently sold with multiple offers, but the theft did impact the number of offers received.  One buyer who had written an offer backed away from presenting the offer citing the theft as the reason.

Although there are plenty of frustrated buyers out there, I doubt that this was some sort of new buyer strategy designed to scare away the competition.

What can a seller do during the home selling process in order to protect his/her home and its contents?

As a seller, you need to be aware that anytime your home is available to the public there is a chance (albeit small) that something could happen.  We at LosAltosHomes recommend:

  • Remove valuables and prescription drugs
  • Remove mail and spare household keys
  • Remove financial records including old checkbooks
  • Remove personal photos
  • Place timers on light fixtures and/or have motion detection lighting installed
  • Have your neighbors keep an eye on your home or park their car in your driveway at night

Although we can’t prevent an extremely vigilant criminal we at LosAltosHomes are a little different than your average Realtor when it comes to making sure your home and its valuables are safe.  We:

  • Attach the lock box key holder to a solid structure so it can’t easily be removed and opened elsewhere
  • We don’t advertise to the public that the home is “Staged” which tends to advertise to thieves that the home is vacant
  • We are extremely diligent at open houses, often using multiple agents to make sure we have a watchful eye on your investment
  • We will limit access to an open house should there be too many people to effectively monitor the property
  • At the end of each open house we check doors and windows to make sure they are locked and secured – Thieves will go through an open house and unlock a window or door to gain access later.

Interested in Selling your Los Altos home?

Interested in Buying your dream home in Los Altos?

Give me a call at 650 917-4250

I’ve been licensed and actively selling residential real estate locally since 1993

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