De-personalizing a home means more than simply taking down Uncle Buck's photo from the fireplace and removing the finger painting artwork from the fridge door. Identity theft can occur when private information is left in sight during showings and open houses. How many times have you walked into a house and noticed utility bills on the kitchen counter or cheque books, voter registration cards, pay stubs, and so on? These items are an open invitation to thieves.

De-personalizing the home means moving all of these items from sight and keeping them in a safe, secure location. A locked desk drawer would be a good place to house these items until after a firm Agreement of Purchase and Sale is in place.

Below is a list of tips that may help you:

1. Remove all private or personal photos, diplomas, awards, and trophies.

2. remove all calendars. these often contain a great deal of private information, often noting when you're not going to be home.

3. Store all valuables.

4. remove all bills, letters, magazines, and library books. Shred papers with personal information that are no longer needed.

5. assword protect your computer to block access to your private files.

6. Turn off your printer and fax machine before each showing. Printers and fax machines often have capability of printing the last numbers dialed or received.

7. Turn off answering machines. this avoids personal messages being left while strangers are in your home.

8. Unplug phones with called ID features.

9. Remove or conceal digital devices that contain information about you or your family (cell phones, ipods, ubs drives).

Some of these suggestions might seem a bit extreme, but for the most of us, our home is a sanctuary. We feel comfortable and safe and don't realize how exposed we may be when our house is on the market. It's just good strategy to not only depersonalize so that people can see themselves in you space, but also to safeguard against an unscrupulous visitor taking advantage of you.


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George Carroll

George Carroll

CENTURY 21 River-Valley Realty Ltd.
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