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Q: Our family is emigrating and my husband has already left, leaving me to sell our home.

Published Nov 30, 2021

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I am working with an estate agent but, as a single woman, I already feel vulnerable. How can I manage the home sale and potential show days as safely as possible?

A:It is important to remember that there is safety in numbers and a good place to start is to have someone on duty with you to manage events on show days. It gives you the ease of knowing that no visitors or prospective buyers are wandering through the home unmonitored and that someone can assist if something goes wrong.

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Estate agents need to be security-conscious and need to discuss the option of putting security systems in place before a show day. This is not only to protect the sellers’ valuables and property but to ensure the agents are safe as well.

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Posting a guard on the premises is also a good idea. While you cannot plan for every eventuality, this advice will help to discourage thieves from taking advantage of the situation:

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• If there is a panic button, ensure that the agent has access to it, along with your private security service provider’s emergency number.

• Alert your private security service provider that your home will be on show and ask them to stop by to check that everything is in order.

• Do not leave spare keys for the home (for back, garage or patio doors) hanging on hooks that can be reached.

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• Always lock away valuables that can easily fit into a handbag or pocket.

• Put away larger items of equipment that are not instrumental in showing off your home to stop criminals from thinking they might return later when no one is home.

• Open curtains and blinds or switch on lights in each room to discourage would-be thieves from untoward activity.

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– Charnel Hattingh, head of marketing and communications at Fidelity ADT

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