Real Estate: Security and Open Houses

iStock_000005534652XSmallYesterday 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).


Related Posts:

Where Should The Real Estate Marketing Dollar Go When You Sell Your Home?

A Guide to Selling Privately!

The Importance of Open Houses in Selling Your Home!

The Shoe Was On The Other Foot When I had to Find a Good REALTOR!

7 Replies to “Real Estate: Security and Open Houses”

  1. I agree with what you have written. I would like to add one more caution. Please hide all prescription drugs! I have been in the business for over 38 years and want to let the buyers have as much freedom as possible. In todays environment, we need to take caution against folks who take drugs. That means any drug, even the blood pressure medication.

  2. Richard, I totally agree! The minute the house is listed sellers should put away valuables and small “trinkets” that could go missing. You are right, why tempt the hand of fate… (or a klepto!) I have never had an incident at one of my open houses either.

  3. I was at an open house this weekend with a buyer of mine and it was very busy. I think if there is high demand for a home and the open house will be busy, it may be helpful to have another agent there to help out in case it becomes crowded in the home. The crowd in this one almost made the house feel smaller.

  4. Hi Richard,
    When doing open houses, I normally take all the prospective buyers myself to show them the whole house and there is no chance anything will be touched.
    If there are more than two i just put a little sign outside saying showing in progress, will be right back.

    Sometimes, when i see there might be lot of people then I take another agent to watch the incoming flow and allow one by one.

    You are right all the items should be tucked away before open house.

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