Open house safety: 3 tips for protecting yourself and your home
When it comes to open house security, you won’t find a more passionate advocate than Brenda Phelan. After losing thousands of dollars in valuables, she’s determined to prevent other people from going through what she went through.
“The thief took valuables and personal documents, but the worst part was the feeling of being victimized,” says Phelan. “I hope nobody else has to go through what we went through.”
RECO Registrar Joseph Richer says: “Holding an open house can be a great way to attract potential buyers, but it’s important to remember that you’re allowing strangers into your home. A lot of effort goes into making a property look good, but security is just as important.”
Before the open house, have a conversation with your real estate representative about the potential risks. Here are some precautions to consider:
Protect your valuables
- Portable electronics
- Jewelry and other valuables
- Passport and travel documents
- Remove personal photos from walls
- Receipts, bills and personal information
Thieves know to look in closets and sock drawers, so the items should be placed somewhere secure, like a safe, or offsite at a friend’s home.
Keep track of who enters the property by having your real estate professional ask each visitor to show identification and complete a registration form.
Ask your representative to limit the number of visitors at one time, or to bring an assistant to ensure that all visitors are escorted as they tour the property.
Fortunately, a few simple steps can go a long way. Most importantly, communicate early and openly with your registered broker or salesperson about how the open house will work.
“It’s important to remember that it’s your home, and you set the rules for visitors,” says Richer.
Discuss these and other precautions you might want to take with your registered broker or salesperson, who may also have additional ideas on how to protect yourself.
“People focus so much on staging their home, but safety and security is much more important,” says Phelan. “It’s a lesson I had to learn the hard way.”