Yesterday I got an email from a great friend of mine who is a commercial realtor, listing his own house and wanting to know my thoughts on security at Open Houses. He wanted to know if he should post a note on his front door restricting access, because he was afraid of thefts….
If I do the tally, I have personally hosted over 2,000 Open Houses and at only one in those 2,000 events was there a theft. Now…I know that thefts do happen but often you are as much at risk as if you were to hold a party…the best rule is always “DON’T TEMPT FATE”. I have walked into showings and open houses to find jewellery, cash, wallets and some items that were definitely best left hidden. These Sellers were really tempting fate or trying to make a statement…either one…put everything away of value or a personal nature (too much information).
Then….please give free and complete access to visitors to your Open Houses. Consumers who choose to visit and not be shown by their Realtor at none open times, do so because they want to remain somewhat anonymous or because they have not established their level of seriousness about a move. They surf Open Houses and will move on to the next house if line ups mean that their access is restricted or if they feel they are being unduly watched. Remember the last time you went to retail store and were followed by a staff person? Did you feel comfortable and would you go back there?
What you may also be saying to the Buyer is that the area may have some security issues…or that your house has been previously burgled…not a great selling point.
My suggestion: bite the bullet, hide the family Jewels and heirlooms, and allow comfortable and unrestricted access to your Open House….(and, please keep the post-it notes to a minimum).