20 Safety Tips When showing homes

1. Schedule appointments
Don’t allow people to just ring your bell at any hour for a showing. Instead, have them phone ahead to make an appointment. Take their name and phone number and call them back to schedule, so that you’re sure you are reaching them at a legitimate number.

2. Give contact lists to others
Make sure that a friend or relative at a different location has a copy of the appointment list so that they know who you have showings with and when. Check in with each other immediately after each showing.

3. Show when the sun is up
Show the house in daytime whenever possible. If you must show it after dark, turn on all lights beforehand, and keep the shades, curtains or blinds open at all times.

4. Pair up
Make sure someone else is present with you for all open houses or showings and that at least one of you (subtly) keeps an eye on the prospective buyer at all times.

Bring up the rear
Let the prospect walk in front of you. Don’t lead them, but rather, direct them from a position slightly behind them. You can gesture for them to go ahead of you and say, for example, “The master suite is in the back of the house.”

6. Don’t get parked in
During showings, park your car in front of the property rather than in the driveway or in the garage, so that you avoid having your car blocked in. This will make it easier for you to escape in your vehicle, if need be.

7. Plan ahead with escape routes
Stand near an exit whenever possible. Be prepared to quickly unlock deadbolt locks for easy access to the outside.

8. Carry an alarm device or cell phone
If you have a home security system with a remote key fob, keep that in your hand in case you need to press the panic button to alert the monitoring service. You can do the same with the panic button for a car alarm, as the noise it sets off outside can alert people to what’s going on (especially if you warn neighbors in advance of your signal). If nothing else, keep a cell phone with you.

9. Take notice of vehicles

While prospective buyers are taking a tour, take a moment to walk outside to document their license plate, or give this task to a neighbor to note the year, make, model and color of each vehicle that drops people off at your home.

10. Keep valuables out of sight

Remove small jewelry and money from plain view and out of the front of drawers, especially if you’re not going to tour with each prospective buyer. Store away laptops and, if possible, put high-end stereos, flat panel TVs, etc., in storage until you sell.

11. Trim hedges
Keep shrubbery clipped down around waist level to ensure that you give your front door or your back yard maximum visibility to neighbors or others from the street.

12. Don’t be too public
Limit the amount of personal information that you share. Consider advertising without using your home phone number or address on fliers. Have potential buyers e-mail you to obtain additional information.

13. Be mindful of groups
During an open house, be alert to visitors’ comings and goings, especially near the end of showing hours. Police have reported groups of criminals that target open houses, showing up en masse near the end of the showing.

14. Put passwords on your PC
If you’re doing an open house, make sure your PC cant be easily accessed.

15. Control the flow
The easiest way to keep track of people is to make sure that you control the flow and that they are moving exactly how you want them to move. This involves locking all of your doors and entrances except the primary entrance. It can be hard to keep track of people if they are leaving and entering through multiple different access points.

16. Lights, Camera, Action
Consider setting up a camera to watch the home while you’re away. This will really protect you if anything goes missing. To avoid any problems, you may want to let buyers know that they are being filmed. It’s best to avoid a situation where someone is filmed without knowledge. They may become a little angry if they discover a camera while having a tour.

17. Secure the Home
The easiest way to protect yourself is to take every action from preventing risks in the first place. For example, open houses tend to attract criminals because the come to see what valuables are in the house. It’s part of the reason, among others, that we don’t really hold open houses. They can invite unnecessary risks.

You can prevent risk by having a good agent on your side. Find out how your agent screens people and shows people the house. Never show your home without an agent.
A good agent can make all the difference.

18. Recruit the help of your neighbors.
I’m sure they already saw the giant “For Sale” sign in your yard, so ask them if they could help keep an eye on your house. Ask them to look for any suspicious activity. A neighbor can help you keep an eye out for any burglars.

19. Track People Coming and Going
A good measure of safety is to track every person that comes and goes during open houses. There are a few ways that you can keep track of people. First, whenever someone tours your home require, that they sign-in. We make it mandatory to sign-in with contact information whenever we hold open houses. If something goes missing, you have their name and contact information so that you can get to the bottom of this. Most agents are really good at this, but be sure to ask your agent how they track people who come and go.

20. Hide Personal Information

Calendars, images, and fridge magnets seem like such a small thing, but they can give people too much personal image. For example, does your calendar say Jessica has dance lessons at 5pm on Wednesday? Not good. People could do a lot of dangerous things with that information. That’s why it’s best to hide as much personal information as possible. Remove and clear calendars, remove photos of your children, and remove anything on your fridge. Another common thing I find is parent’s phone numbers lying around the house. Be careful of being too dismissive and seeing something as insignificant. All someone needs is one piece of personal information. Protect yourself by hiding everything and keeping your home impersonal if you’re living in it.

See these other safety tips

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