Conducting a Safe Open House
Q - My real estate agent wants to have an open house to help sell my home. Is there anything that I should do to prepare?
A - Unfortunately, an open house is no longer the best marketing tool. The internet has stolen the open house 'thunder'. With all the colored photos and virtual tours available on the internet, a buyer has a pretty good idea of what the home looks like without actually physically seeing it. In fact, many buyers select the homes they wish to view through the internet -- not open houses. Nevertheless, some real estate agents still do open houses.
Here are a few tips on how to prepare for an open house if you plan on having an one.
Aside from ensuring that everything is tidy, pets are removed, the home doesn't have any unpleasant odors and the rooms are all well lit, you need to take steps to safeguard your home.
Make sure all your valuables are put away. Don't leave money, jewellery, cell phones or other small electronics in full view. If you have valuable knick-knacks, put those away as well. Perhaps the children have some small valuable toys. These should also be removed to a safe area. One thing people don't think of are medications. Remove any prescription drugs from your medicine cabinet and night tables.
Ideally, there should be 2 people doing an open house. This prevents people from wandering around your home unescorted. A real estate agent accompanying visitors through the house and a second person (not necessarily an agent) asking new visitors to wait till the real estate agent finishes escorting the first ones. This method of doing an open house safeguards the valuables in the home and also safeguards the real estate agent from possible harm.
Having two people, however, is not always possible so greater precautions have to be taken when allowing strangers in your home. Discuss with your real estate agent how an open house will be conducted.