Should You Arm the Alarm When Home Selling?

arm the alarm when selling

Sellers want to arm the alarm. Always. Especially when they are putting a vacant house on the market. They want security.  What they don’t always consider is the fact that they are not the people coming and going. Sellers might be very comfortable with where their alarm is located and they know how to easily disarm it. But agents do not. In fact, buyer’s agents, regardless of experience and dedication, often panic when presented with a security alarm.

Many agents are nervous enough trying to impress buyers with their showing abilities and neighborhood knowledge. Agents spend time looking for the lockbox, getting it open, trying not to lose the key. Jiggling that fussy door lock, open the door and BEEP BEEP BEEP. That familiar sound. OMG, where is the alarm code? Where is the alarm panel located? Will the alarm go off? Will police come?

I just got an email from my security alarm company for our house in Hawaii, and they are offering an upgrade to their service. Apparently, many customers were complaining that 10 seconds wasn’t enough to leave the house; they preferred 30 seconds. I dunno. You open the door and go out. How hard is that? But I always arm the alarm when I leave the island. Not so much while I am there. When you can hear your neighbor across the way clear her throat, those neighbors will hear an intruder.

But when a home is for sale, if the seller elects to arm the alarm, there is a strong chance an agent will set it off. Not on purpose, mind you. Agents are not as stupid as you might think. OK, not all of them. They just tend to panic at the sight of an alarm.

Once I leapt over a gate keeping the dogs at bay and put my life and limb on the line by climbing into their territory just to search for a security alarm. I, myself, have never set off an alarm. But that doesn’t mean other agents won’t. It can cost $100 or more for a false alarm.

I distance myself from this type of occurrence with my sellers. Of course, I explain this can happen, but I also am not responsible for the ability of other agents to disarm the security system. As long as they are fine with that unintended consequence and will relieve me from liability for false alarms, then, by all means, arm that alarm.

Elizabeth Weintraub


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