Open House Safety And Security Tips

Dated: 09/21/2017

Views: 2181

Image titleIn the real estate industry there is much debate… do seller’s need to have an open house or not to sell their homes.  I would say real estate agents are split 50/50 on whether open houses are a necessary tool to sell your home.

There are three major thoughts of why open houses all they are cracked up to be.

The first being the advances in the internet and the amount of information that can be delivered to home buyers right at the tips of their fingers.  Today inventory is delivered to home buyers the minute they hit the market.  There are full details, plenty of quality interior shots, aerials, videos and more.

No longer do you have to wait for the Sunday paper to see what is available for real estate inventory and maybe a poor black and white exterior shot.

The Risks of an Open House

Second, is there is no qualification for people to come, anyone can show up at an open house.  If they can get there and walk thru the door they are in.  It leaves you wondering how qualified are the people coming thru the door…. Are they willing and able to close in the next 60 days on a home?

You may be surprised at the reasons people give for being at an open house.  Give me a an agent assisted private viewing over an open house visitor anytime.

This leads to the third reason….. safety and security!  Given we have no idea who is really in your house this poses a major safety risk on several levels.  Somebody can sign in with false info.  And what about the lurkers that do everything to avoid signing in!

With a private viewing a buyer’s agent usually has valid information on the buyer.  They know who they are bringing thru your home.  Furthermore, with a large number of attendees there is no way an agent can keep an eye on everyone at all times.

Safety and Security Tips for Your Open House

So now you and your agent have decided to do an open house.  That is certainly ok.  It is between your agent and you to weigh out the risk reward of an open house.

Prior to the Open House

Think about several things.  One remove your identity, remove valuables and remove anything that thieves can get like drugs, guns, knives etc…

1- Secure or remove all bills, documents, etc… with your identity and important information.  True your name can be gotten in public records but don’t make it as easy as picking up a bill.  This means bank accounts, tax records, birth records etc…  This means remove your kids names from the wall if they have them in their room!

2- Turn of all computers and make sure they are password protected.Secure or remove all valuables.  Don’t leave anything out in the open but don’t assume hidden under your socks is good enough.  Secure them or remove them completely.  Think past jewelry and precious, expensive heirlooms… also think about small expensive electronic devices like phones, tablets etc…

3-Remove all prescription medication.  First it has your name on it and secondly certain drugs can be a hot commodity sold illegally.

4-Remove all personal pictures.  Box them up.  Don’t let them place a face to a name.  Especially when it comes to your kids.

5-Secure or remove any weapons.  Again, a targeted item among thieves.

6-Let your trusted neighbors know you are having an open house and ask them to keep an extra eye on the place.

After the Open House

1- Don’t enter alone if you can help it.  Have someone waiting at the door as you do a walk thru.  If you can’t have someone there show up as your agent is leaving or have someone on the phone.

2-Walk thru the home and check closest and under the bed to make sure no one is left behind.

3- Check and make sure all the windows and doors are the way you left them. Also check the hinges to make sure the pins are still in them on exterior doors.   It can appear locked but if the hinges are removed someone can push the door in.

4- If something doesn’t feel right, leave the home immediately and call the police.

Final Thoughts on Open Houses

Every weekend there are scheduled open houses across Massachusetts and every other state in the country.  I personally feel that not having an open house is not going to prevent your home from selling.  I also feel the risk reward of an open house is not worth the effort you, the seller needs to go thru to prepare for an open house.

Open houses just don’t hold the weight 15-20+ years ago.  A motivated buyer will schedule a showing for your home if they are interested.  At the very least have a conversation with your agent about having open houses. 

You just might be relieved you don’t have to secure your items, clean the house, pack up the family and find something to do for a few hours.

The Pro’s and Con’s of Open Houses

Tips to Avoid Getting Robbed at an Open House

Listly- A Group of Articles About the Viability of Open Houses

Who is Really Showing up At Your Open Houses?

CNBC- Are Open Houses Important?

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