The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has designated September as REALTOR® Safety Month. During this time the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® reminds members to stay safe year-round and share safety tips with their clients.

REALTORS® realize that sellers, too, face some dangers in allowing strangers into their homes or visiting other people’s properties. Here is some valuable advice to protect sellers against crime:

• Remember that strangers will be walking through your home during showings or open houses. Make sure you hide any valuables in a safe place. For security’s sake, remember to remove keys, credit cards, jewelry, crystal, furs and other valuables from the home or lock them away during showings. Also remove prescription drugs.

• DON’T leave personal information like mail or bills out in the open where anyone can see it. Be sure to lock down your computer and lock up your laptop and put away any other expensive, easy-to-pocket electronics, like iPods, before your showing.

• Do not to show your home by yourself. Not all agents, buyers and sellers are who they say they are. Predators come in all shapes and sizes. We tell our children not to talk to strangers. Do not to talk to other agents or buyers. Refer all inquiries to your agent.

• Sellers are responsible for their pets. If possible, animals should be removed during showings. Buyers and agents are sometimes attacked, and the owner will be held liable.

• At an open house, be alert to the pattern of visitors’ arrivals, especially near the end of showing hours. In some areas, a group of thieves will show up together near the end of the open house and, while a string of “potential buyers” distracts the agent or seller, the rest of the group walks through the house, stealing any valuables they come across.

• Finally, when your agent leaves your property, whether after an open house or a standard showing, your agent should make sure that all doors and windows are locked. Thieves commonly use open houses to scout for valuables and possible points of entry, then they return after the agent leaves.

• While your agent will take all of the above safety precautions, when you return home, it is always best to immediately verify that all doors are locked and all valuables accounted for.

This article is part of the National Association of REALTORS®’ REALTOR® Safety Resources Kit. Visit NAR’s REALTOR® Safety website at