Protecting Privacy When Home Selling

Online PrivacyYou know that scene in Mission Impossible where Tom Cruise is walking through a mall and inanimate objects are trying to sell items of commerce to him? And you think to yourself: no way. But . . . way. It’s happening every day and all around us. You can’t even click on a website without finding advertising that is geared to your tastes. If you’ve so much as clicked on a shopping site, those photographs will show up in your internet searches from now on in every site you visit. It’s frightening how your IP address discloses so much about you and your likes and dislikes.

You can minimize some of the damage by not giving out your location. When I sign on to DocuSign, for example, I don’t let it track me. It’s not anybody’s business if I am at my computer in Sacramento, on the oceanfront in Monterey or clear across the country in Hilton Head. If I want to tell you where I am, that’s one thing, but you’re not going to track me. I turn off my GPS on my cellphone, too.

There are little things that you can do to help protect your privacy while selling your home. But when you put your home on the market in Sacramento, you are opening a whole ‘nother can o’ worms. You can’t sell it without photographs. On the other hand, do you want every peeking Tom, Dick and Harry peering into your living room window? Isn’t it creepy to know that some stranger is staring at the sink where you shave your face? Selling real estate is intimate, and putting your home out there for others to see can feel like an invasion.

For this reason, as a Sacramento listing agent, I suggest that sellers remove all items of personal nature. If I shoot a photograph, for example, that somehow includes a photo of a family member or the seller herself, I will blur out the photo online. It’s nobody’s business. Take all your personal photographs and put them away. Put your jewelry and other valuables in a safe deposit box. Don’t throw your mail on the kitchen table for prying eyes to spy. People don’t mean to be snoopy. Maybe they’ll open a built-in drawer to check its depth, though, and innocently discover things they have no business looking at.

Before you let your agent put up a for sale sign, walk through your home like a stranger. Make sure there is nothing in view or within reach that could be considered too personal to share with others.

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