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How to protect your property during an Open House

4 safety tips to minimise risks at your Open House

You’re finally ready to put your house on the market. Congratulations!

Have you decided to host an Open House? If yes, aside from tantalising the visitor’s senses with fragrance and jazz music playing softly in the background, there are some practical things to consider. Especially when it comes to protecting your property during an Open House.

While we all want to think the best of everyone, the reality is – there are unsavoury characters out there. Some people may jump on the welcoming invitation into your house and see it as an opportunity to steal from you. 

Here are some important strategies to minimise risks for the prospective purchaser, your property, pets, and privacy. Or, as we like to call it, the four P’s!

1. Remove Risk of Personal Injury

Reducing the clutter in your home is aesthetically beneficial during an Open House. It has an additional benefit of reducing the risk of injury to the prospective purchaser during the inspection. 

Make sure there are no slippery surfaces, loose pavers or tiles, or any other hazards. The last thing you want is a costly personal injury claim.

On this point, it’s a wise idea to add a waiver form as part of the sign-in register. Also, make sure your house and real estate agent are adequately insured – and double check your home and contents insurance policy covers public liability!

2. Protect your Property 

When you open your home to the public, it can be an invasive experience. Especially if your personal items are stolen in the process. There are steps you can take to minimise these risks:

  • Remove anything tempting and portable, like cash, sentimental items, jewellery, electronics etc. 
  • Don’t leave any spare keys around the house. Otherwise, you may find your house burglarised or car stolen in the near future.
  • Lock all doors, except the main entry door. This means all visitors must sign in and can’t steal and exit inconspicuously. 
  • On a rainy day, ask guests to take their shoes off at the door. This will preserve your beautiful clean flooring.
  • Request that two agents attend. One to capture sign-in information at the entrance and the other to keep an eye on the people within the house and answer all the relevant questions.

3. Remove your Pets

It’s advisable to remove any pets from your home for a few different reasons:

  • Believe it or not, small pets can be at risk of being stolen. 
  • It’s also discouraging for prospective purchasers visiting your house to hear animal noises, smell animal aromas, and see their fur around the house. 
  • Larger pets, like dogs, can be a risk to the visitor’s safety. Another insurance or legal action risk. 

Rather than shutting your dog in the yard, we recommend going out for a walk or dropping him/her off somewhere else for the day. 

4. Protect your Privacy

Protect your privacy against risks like identity theft, stalking, or using your information against you in a sales negotiation. 

Use a safe or a lockable drawer or remove:

  • All mail, personal papers, bank statements, sale documents, ID cards, and passports.
  • All personal photos from walls and dressers. Remove photo albums too. They may provide personal information to a stranger which they could use against you. 
  • Valuables from the top dresser cabinets and drawers. It’s a go-to spot for thieves. Keep in mind that interested purchasers may also want to open drawers. They are well within their rights to open drawers to inspect functionality and the quality of fixtures and fittings in the home. 

An Open House can be a successful and positive experience for all involved. Just ensure you put strategies in place to safeguard your possessions and privacy. 

Ready to put your house on the market? Ask your real estate agent about putting it on Listing Loop first. Our platform gives you the opportunity to be in front of qualified buyers looking for a house exactly like yours. When you are ready to open your house to those matching your property, you will be well-prepared and well-supported.