Even in today's age of fast selling homes and rising values, agents are hosting open houses. Real estate open houses can be a prime opportunity for criminals. It is important to keep your home safe during an open house. Your real estate agent's safety is also extremely important.
Home Security Systems
If you do not already have a home security system with cameras, it might be a good idea to have one installed before you sell your home. This is especially true if you are going to have an open house. You may think this is a high and unnecessary cost; however, you cannot put a price on safety. You will be able to leave the security system with the home and hopefully it will be a marketing advantage for buyers. A more simple and less expensive choice may be a video doorbell that videos people at the front door.
Valuables and Other Household Items
Whether it is for an open house or for showing your home to buyers in general, it is important to put away your valuables. For example, do not leave your jewelry box on your dresser. Do not leave money or credit cards lying around, even in drawers or cabinets. Pack up your valuable collections. In fact, decluttering is always a good idea when you sell your home. Another household item that criminals case open houses for is medication or drugs. Mike Duffy, an author of an article on abc10.com reported, "Realtors say a couple pretending to be homebuyers is attending open houses in the Roseville CA area and stealing things like medication." It might be a good idea to obtain a safety deposit box at a bank or invest in an in-home safe for these items.
Guns and Other Weapons
If you own a registered firearm, keep it out of sight and locked away. Most importantly, be sure it is not loaded. Potential buyers and open house attendees should not be rummaging through your closets and drawers, but it does happen on occasion. It is also a good idea to put knives or other weapons out of reach and out of sight. You do not want knives or any other weapons to get in the hands of children or people with the wrong intentions.
Limit the Number of People in Your House
You have every right to limit the number of people in your home at any given time. Your agent can specify this in the showing instructions in your local multiple listing service (MLS.) The agent hosting the open house can have a registration table at the front door and only let a certain number of people in at one time. Sometimes real estate agents team up and host an open house together. This way, at no time should potential buyers or open house attendees be left alone wandering around the house.
Ask for Identification
It is absolutely appropriate to ask open house visitors for identification. Your agent can take a screen shot or copy of their drivers' licenses or state IDs. If anyone resists or gives your agent a hard time about this, he does not need to be admitted into your home. This is also a sign of a red flag.
There are many more news articles about homes being burglarized and agents getting robbed, assaulted, raped or worse in open houses. Keep your house safe by following simple steps. It is important for sellers to prevent their homes and real estate agents from being victims of senseless crimes which could also affect home values in the area if word gets out.