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5 Mar 2015

In South Africa today you cannot be too careful and given the increased number of robberies taking place across the country, sellers should take extra precautions during show days.

Security company ADT has warned homeowners that although a show day might help to sell their house, it does leave their home more vulnerable to theft.

When your house is on show, make sure you do not leave keys in doors. Keys can easily be copied or stolen, says Farrell.

This is according to Robyn Farrell, Executive Head of 1st for Women Insurance, who urges both estate agents and home owners to be vigilant.

“There’s no doubt that showing your home to strangers when you’re trying to sell it increases your security risk. Not only can valuables be removed without your knowledge, but criminals can pose as interested buyers or case your house for a potential future robbery.”

The common modus operandi has been that the criminals come into the house under the pretense of being interested in viewing the property as potential buyers or renting it.

Often these robberies turn violent with thieves brandishing weapons to hold whoever is in the house hostage in order to ransack the property.

“The best precaution a homeowner can take is to ensure that there is a security guard present during a show day. A security guard should be provided, free of charge, by the estate agency,” says Farrell.

She gives the following tips on how else you can safeguard your home against theft during show days:

1. Lock your valuables away.

2. If someone stands in for your agent on show day, insist on meeting them first.

3. Alert your private security service provider that your home will be on show and ask them to stop by during the afternoon.

4. Do not leave spare keys within reach of visitors

5. Ensure that your drawers and cabinets are locked.

6. Consider “by appointment” viewings as an alternative to a show day.

7. Lock away anything that could be used for identity theft such as identity documents, invoices, receipts, vehicle registration papers and photographs.

8. Make sure you do not leave keys in doors. Keys can easily be copied or stolen.

9. Give the estate agent access to a panic button.

10. Compile a home contents inventory and make sure that you have home contents insurance in place. Your home contents should be insured for their replacement value.