One uncomfortable fact associated with selling your house is that, to the extent that one is successful in getting "traffic" through the residence, one will have strangers coming into the house. Prospective buyers will look into closets, cupboards and virtually any other area of the home. Further, they may have an ulterior motive for entering the home.
The "buyer" might be a thief looking for a quick and easy score. Prescription drugs and valuables must be locked away during any showings or risk the loss when they disappear.
The "buyer" also may be a thief casing the home for future re-entry. In Menasha, Wisconsin, recent news reports reference three burglars who may have accessed the property during a showing. The invasion occurred the night after a real estate agent had shown the property. The home was entered, the home-owners tied up, and the house burglarized.
Even worse than theft or home invasion was the tragic 2008 case of the murder of 71 year old Cambridge real estate licensee Ann Nelson by a man to whom she was showing a home for sale. Other high-profile attacks following similar circumstances are the recent cases of Ashley Okland, an agent murdered in Iowa and Vivian Martin who was robbed of $56 and strangled by "home buyer" thiefs.
There is no fail-safe way to guard against these risks, but it is important to know with whom one is dealing, to be vigilant in alerting someone else whenever a stranger is in the home, and to use common sense in guarding one's safety and property.
Real estate attorney James N. Graham, http://www.accessionlaw.com/