If someone were to open your underwear drawer and start snooping around, would it freak you out? Most people would be horrified, but there are some strange folk out there who do that sort of thing – and some of them come to open houses. Most people looking at homes aren’t perverts, of course. But, they might be nosy or they not have good manners. That’s OK, if they have the money to buy your house and abide by the terms of the contract.

Still, you don’t want people snooping around in your home. Here’s how to protect your privacy.

Lock It Up

lockboxMost real estate professionals from Agent Harvest will tell you that if you have anything valuable, lock it up. Put it in a safe, or remove it from the house altogether. Things like jewelry or antiques or other family heirlooms don’t need to be on display.

For clothes and other personal effects, take them out of your dresser, pick them up off the floor, and put them in a place where no one will look. You could consider removing them from the home while it’s being shown, too. Or, put them in the laundry room (though people will probably look here too). Another option is to put them in a garbage bag and keep all dirty clothes in the trunk of your car.

Open Drawers

If a drawer is open, it’s not snooping. Also, if you have any built-in drawers or shelving units in the home that are effectively open, then it’s not snooping. If you’ve got any private items here, remove them.

Put Mail Away

mail

Don’t leave mail on the kitchen table, counter, or out in the open where people can see it. This is especially true for bills. If you’re in debt, and people “accidentally” see notices from debt collectors, it’s a red flag that you’re desperate to sell. This is power at the negotiation table that you don’t want a seller to have.

Remove Personal Effects From The Wall

Don’t keep your personal stuff on the wall. Wedding photos, diplomas, and other personal effects are not only going to show buyers your personal life, but they’re also not helping the buyer to envision this as his or her future home.

Skeletons In The Closet

What does your closet say about you? It could say a lot, actually. Let’s say you’re in the middle of a divorce, or you need to sell the home quickly because you’re already divorced and the debts are piling up. When potential home buyers walk through a house, one of the first things they look at in the bedroom is the closet space. Why?

Because everyone likes big closets – especially people with a lot of hang-up clothes. So, when they open your closet and see all men’s or all female clothing, they think one of a few things. If there are still family photos on the wall, and they see you were in a heterosexual relationship and have kids, they put two and two together.

“Oh, he’s desperate to sell.” That’s a huge benefit at the negotiation table, and you’ll never get anywhere near your listing price. This inside information becomes leverage for the buyer. So, keep those skeletons out of your closet and keep your listing price high.