How to protect your belongings while your home is on the market

Warren Oberholser
Warren Oberholser
Published on April 19, 2021

Hi, I’m Warren Oberholser. I’m a realtor in the East Bay Tri-Valley area in Northern California. My goal is to help both buyers and sellers get maximum results for one of their biggest investments, their home.

In this BLOG I’m going to discuss the 8 most common items thieves will steal from a home that’s on the market, and what you can do to protect your valuables.

Let me address the elephant in the room.

I want you to know not everybody who visits an open house or tours a home is honest. Sure, most folks are but some may be tempted to steal anything that catches their eye and some of them may just act on the urge.

One of the most important steps in readying your house for the market is to protect your valuables and your information from strangers that will be passing through. Here’s the checklist of the eight most common items stolen from homes that are on the market and what steps you can take to prevent this from happening.


1. Artwork

While viable artwork isn’t exactly easy to pocket, thieves have been known to look at MLS pictures of luxury homes online.

Thieves will view the mls pictures for items they may want to steal
Remove valuable art work before mls pictures are taken

They aren’t interested in purchasing the home but they do want to know what’s inside so before the photographer comes to the property to take pictures take down anything that may catch the eye of the bad guy.

Prescription drugs

2. Prescribed Drugs

Let’s face it, it’s not difficult to slip a bottle of pills into a purse or pocket. Plus, since most of these people know the prescriptions are in the bathroom it’s easy for them to go in, shut the door, and just rifle through the medicine cabinet. Therefore, remove all prescribed medicines from your home.

Have a trusted neighbor store them for you

Keep them in your car, lock them in a safe or just ask a friend if you can store them there while you’re on the market.


3. Weapons

Most gun owners are responsible and they keep their firearms under lock and key. If you don’t have a gun safe, remove all firearms and any other weapons out of the home. Find a trusted source where you can store them until you find your new place to move to.


4. Technology

Laptop, iPads, smartphones, smart speakers, smartwatches, earbuds, are quite popular with thieves. Again, take them out of your home or lock them up. Any tech item that’s too large to remove from the home, such as the desktop computer, should be password protected and turned off.

Cash and Jewelry

5. Cash and jewelry

Every thieve’s favorite find is jewelry. In fact, the experts at AAA Home Insurance claim that jewelry is the most commonly stolen item from homes.

They are especially fond of diamonds, pearls, and gold but will take anything they can pawn. Almost $1.4 billion worth of jewelry and precious metals were stolen in 2016,โ€ according to Cannon Safe Companyโ€™s Angela Avila-McDonald, quoting FBI statistics

Thieves are especially fond of diamonds, pearls and gold

They are especially fond of diamonds, pearls, and gold but they’ll take anything that can be pawned so keeping cash and jewelry in a secured safe is the ideal way to foil those thieves while your home is on the market.

Sensitive Documents

6. Sensitive Documents

Lock up bills, letters, and anything else that may have to identify information such as social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, bank account numbers, date of birth, wifi, or computer passwords. Top 10 sensitive documents

The following documents should be locked away or removed from the home:

  • Bank statements
  • blank or canceled checks,
  • Mortgage statements
  • Passports
  • Social security cards and records
  • Credit card information

The bottom line is, anything that can help someone steal your identity should be considered sensitive and removed or concealed from the home.

Store away all keys and garage door openers

7. Car and home keys and garage door openers

Easy to pocket keys, remotes allow these perpetrators to come back at any time and gain access to your home or car. Therefore, don’t leave any spare keys, etc, sitting in a drawer.

Put all spare keys and items for he buyer in plastic container

What I recommend to homeowners when they’re on the market is to have a box where you’ll put all these items in so it’ll be for the buyer. By the time the property is just about to close, you tell the buyer’s agent where the box will be so that way the buyer can go through it, and if there are any questions they can reach out to the seller. This is only for the person that’s in contract, not for the people who are touring the house.


8. Pets

If your pets will remain in the home, keep them in a kennel. If it’s possible, put a lock on the kennel, especially if you have a specific breed that’s rare or expensive.

Have your pet’s kennel locked and secured

As a dog owner, my family’s had dogs our whole life. This one sort of breaks my heart. Yes, there are those people who will just take advantage so make sure your pets are safe and you know where they are. Choosing a Boarding Kennel.

Take precautions prior to going on the market

Fortunately, most open houses and property showings go on without any hitches or any items taken. I’ve been in the business for over 13 years now, it’s never happened on my watch and I think one of the reasons is because we do take these precautions prior to going on the market.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Please let me know if you have any questions. Warren


Hello…I work with both buyers and sellers in the Tri-Valley area of Northern California. The Tri-Valley is comprised of 6 cities: Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, and Alamo. To better understand what each city has to offer, I have created a Pros and Cons video and BLOG for each – (Pros & Cons for Pleasanton, Pros & Cons for Livermore, Pros & Cons for Dublin, Pros & Cons for San Ramon, Pros & Cons for Danville and Pros & Cons for Alamo). If you are thinking about purchasing or selling a home, please reach out to me by text, phone, or email. If it is convenient, I can schedule a Zoom chat so we can discuss your home goals. Wishing you all the best on your home journey. Cheers!

Warren Oberholser

๐ŸกHomebuyers guide ๐Ÿก

๐Ÿ’ฐ Free Mortgage Calculator ๐Ÿ’ธ

๐Ÿก E-book guide getting your house ready to sell ๐Ÿก

๐Ÿก De-clutter your home ๐Ÿก

๐Ÿ“ธ How to Prepare your home for the photographer๐Ÿ“ธ

Warren Oberholser

eXp Realty

[email protected]

(925) 980-4603

DRE # 01861944


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