Help & advice Personal safety Selling your home Selling your property is a stressful business and there’s a lot to think about but it’s important that you also consider your personal safety. The selling process can involve a number of complete strangers looking around your home and this is not without risk. However, by taking the following precautions you can improve your safety. If you are selling your property through an estate agent, confirm that they will check all potential viewers’ identities. Make it clear to them that you do not want anyone viewing your property whose identity has not been checked. If you live alone, or are alone in the property for most of the day, consider NOT having a ‘for sale’ sign outside. You will then avoid ‘buyers’ turning up on your doorstep asking to be shown around. Ask your estate agent for all viewers to be accompanied by someone from their office. If you are selling the property yourself, get as much information as possible from the potential buyer before arranging a viewing and make sure you give that information to a friend or relative before the buyer arrives. Always carry out an identity check. Ask for a work number and call it to confirm they are who they say they are. Always check who will be coming to the viewing. If they say they will be alone and more people turn up, do not let them into the property. Make an excuse – one which implies there are other people in the house. If they arrange to come another time, make sure that someone is with you for the viewing. Whenever possible try to avoid being alone in the property when conducting viewings. If you’re single or your partner is unable to be there, ask a friend or family member to be with you. If you do have to carry out a viewing alone, then give the viewer the impression that a friend/partner will be coming round to the property shortly. You should also consider checking the viewer in. You can do this by making a call to a friend or relative as soon as they arrive saying – “Mr X has just arrived for the viewing. We should be finished in X time and I’ll call you back then.’ The viewer then knows they have been ‘registered’ as having arrived and that someone is watching out for you. You can also arrange a code word with your contact so that if any of the viewers make you feel uncomfortable for any reason, you can say the code word on the phone, which will warn your friend that you feel unsafe but the viewer will have no idea you have done this. If your friend hears the code word, they should either make their way round – or send someone – to your property as soon as possible. If you feel threatened or uneasy at any point, you should trust your instincts and act immediately. Make an excuse that you need to get something from your car and get out of the house. You could then go to a neighbour and ask them to return to the house with you until the viewer leaves. By leaving the viewer in your property alone, you may put your valuables at risk but that’s better than putting yourself at risk. When conducting the viewing, stay alert. Be friendly but professional and avoid giving out too much personal information. Try to look confident and in control at all times. If the potential viewer comes back without an appointment, do not feel you have to let them into the property just because you have met them once. Obviously you don’t want to offend a potential buyer but politely make an excuse not to let them in, preferably one that suggests there is someone else in the property, and ask them to call and make an appointment for another time. Make sure you keep your personal safety in mind at all times and never allow your natural inclination to be polite – or your desire to make a sale – put you at risk.