Hosting an Open House is a great way to meet potential buyers and show off your new listings. Hosting one also opens the door to unfamiliar people, which can be risky when you are sitting an open house alone.
Here are 10 steps for you to stay safe:
- Try to have at least one other person with you at the open house.
- Be sure your cell phone battery is fully charged, and that you have a strong signal prior to the open house. Have emergency numbers programmed on speed dial.
- Check all rooms and determine several “escape” routes before you open the house up to the public. Make sure all deadbolt locks are unlocked to facilitate a faster escape.
- See if you would be able to escape through the backyard if you had to. Sometimes, high fences surround yards that contain swimming pools or hot tubs.
- Ask all open house visitors to scan or text in – phone number and e-mail.
- When showing the house, always walk behind the prospect. Direct them; don’t lead them. Say, for example, “The kitchen is on your left,” and gesture for them to go ahead of you.
- Do not view attics, basements, or small rooms with anyone to avoid getting trapped.
- Have a plan with someone in your office, your answering service, a friend or a relative for you to call in every hour on the hour. And if you don’t call, they are to call you.
- Inform a neighbor that you will be showing the house and ask if he or she would keep an eye and ear open for anything out of the ordinary.
- Before closing the open house, check all of the rooms and the backyard prior to locking the doors. Be prepared to defend yourself, if necessary.
(Sources: Washington Real Estate Safety Council; City of Mesa, Arizona; Nevada County Board of REALTORSÒ; Georgia Real Estate Commission)
Visit NAR’s REALTOR® Safety Web site at REALTOR.org/Safety
This article is part of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ REALTOR® Safety Resources Kit.