Whether you are selling your own home or someone else’s, hosting an open house is a great way to open up the property’s visibility to a number of potential buyers at once. With so many new people coming through the front door, it’s important to think not only about how best to entice them to make an offer, but also about your own safety as the host.
In this post, we will take you through what you need to do before, during, and after an open house to protect both yourself and the property while waiting for those offers to roll in.
Preparing for an Open House
Before you choose to host an open house, there are some things that you can do to make sure that it goes off without a hitch in terms of your safety and that of the property.
While you may feel like you don’t need to worry about these things, remember that if the showing is successful, it is likely that a number of strangers will be entering the home, and while most of them are likely good people, you can never be too careful.
Once you have decided to host an open house, protect yourself by:
- Creating a guest sign-in sheet. Ask for name, phone number, address, and email.
- Putting jewelry, credit cards, keys, cash, and other valuables either in a safe or asking a friend or relative to hold onto them.
- Downloading a personal safety app on your phone and setting it up.
- Informing a neighbor of when the open house will be.
- Finding someone to be there with you.
Immediately before the open house, you should also:
- Charge your phone in case you need to make an emergency call.
- Open all of the curtains and turn on lights.
- Unlock entrances and exits in case you need to leave quickly.
Most realtors go as far as to suggest planning exit strategies from each room before an open house, as well as parking somewhere that you can easily get to should there be a need.
By taking precautions before an open house, you can help to ensure that there is less cause for worry while people are viewing the property.
During an Open House
While most of the safety precautions are taken before anyone enters the home, there are still a number of things that you can do to exercise caution during a showing.
To protect yourself as the host during an open house, you can:
- Leave the sign-in form near the entrance and ensure each new guest fills it out.
- Take note of vehicles as they arrive, specifically their make and model.
- Only allow guests to enter and exit through one door. This will help you to keep track of who is on the property and who has left.
- Stay near doorways and do not enter rooms with no exit, like bathrooms, basements, and the like.
- Always stay behind your guests as you take them on a tour of the home.
- Limit the number of guests in the home at one time.
- Never leave guests unattended.
- If something feels off, end the showing.
Remember that your comfort and safety are what is important. If for any reason you feel that you need to end a showing, whether it is because a specific guest makes you feel uncomfortable, or you are unable to keep track of everyone at once, do so.
You can always offer to schedule private showings at a later date for any potential buyers who are seriously interested.
After an Open House
You may feel like you don’t have anything left to do once the guests have left, but there are still a number of precautions to take before calling it a night.
First, you should do a sweep of the property. Check all of the rooms and outbuildings, like the garage or shed. Look under beds, in closets, and anywhere else a person could hide. Make sure that there is someone else, like a friend or family member, at the home when you do so.
Once you’re certain that all of the potential buyers have left, make sure that all of the doors and windows are locked in each room.
Then, make a digital copy of the sign-in sheet by either taking a picture of it or scanning it. Make sure that it clearly states the date of the open house, the address where it took place, and the time guests were invited into the property.
If you informed a friend, family member, or neighbor of the open house, this is also a good time to get in touch to let them know that it is now over and that you’re OK.
It’s also a good idea to pay attention to any suspicious activity around the house or in the neighborhood over the next week or so and to keep an eye out for any people or vehicles that you recognize from the open house. If you see anything that causes you concern, make sure to report it.
Safely Selling a Home
While personal safety may not be the first thing that you think about when planning an open house, it is something that you should be certain to incorporate into all aspects of a showing.
Not only will it help to ensure that your open house will be a success, it will give you peace of mind so that you can focus on highlighting that newly renovated kitchen or recently landscaped backyard.
What safety tips do you have for hosting an open house?