After discussing the pros and cons of an open house, you may well have decided to hold an open day to attract as many buyers as possible to see your property.
With in-person viewings, though, come security concerns: while your property listing online is remote and secure, an open house essentially invites strangers into your home, opening your property up to the possibility of theft or vandalism. Nonetheless, you can easily protect yourself and your home by taking a few precautionary measures.
Here are out top 11 tips to keeping your open house safe:
1. Do not do it alone
Do not conduct your open house alone: not only are you in risk personally, but you will find it harder to manage the large volume of people visiting, especially if they all descend at once; bad news for your well-rehearsed tour, but good news for any potential thieves.
2. Identify your guests
Keep a record of every guest who visits your home. A registry book will help to establish who is in charge on the day, as well as set a professional tone. Requiring visitors to show driving licence - or making a note of their vehicle registration - will also help to keep track of who is who: if something goes missing, you know who was there, plus you can easily get in touch to negotiate a price with a potential buyer.
3. Inform other people
It is worth informing the police that your open house is taking place, perhaps even asking them to drive by and check on the situation during the day. Do not stop there, though: invite your neighbours over too. This will give the impression of heavy foot traffic, as well as make sure there are familiar and trustworthy faces keeping an eye on proceedings.
4. Hide valuables
Lock any valuables in a secure place. From jewellery to computers and electronic devices, make sure that you will not lose out on anything more than a potential sale come the end of the day.
5. Lock away personal information
Just as important as valuables, but easier to overlook, are documents with personal information on them. Identity theft may sound a bit extreme, but bank details are never a good thing to fall into strangers' hands.
6. Walk behind other people
This is the simplest step you can take, and is also the most effective. Do not lead the tour through your home: walk behind your visitors so that you are always able to see what they do and where they go. This will leave you in control and also give them an unblocked view of your property.
7. Direct other people around your home
As you walk behind your guests, direct them into rooms or up the stairs: this means that you will never be trapped in a dead-end or a room with no escapes, should things become dangerous, and are always in a position to exit.
8. Trim your garden
It may not sound like a safety concern, but an unkempt garden full of shrubs and bushes can provide ample hiding opportunities for uninvited visitors; clipping back your greenery will keep even the shadowest of figures visible in your back yard. It will also ensure your home looks as best as it can for buyers.
9. Install motion-detector lighting
Connect motion detectors to your security lights so that if it gets dark, you are able to see who is outside: this is essential for open house viewings taking place during the autumn and winter months, when the night creeps in quickly.
10. Consider hanging bells
Consider hanging bells on all the doors around your home so that you can hear when people enter or exit a room. With multiple people in your home at once, this could help keep track of where everyone is.
11. Trust your instinct
Finally, and more important of all, trust your instinct. If you suspect something is amiss or do not trust a visitor, take extra care during their stay.
Photo: Jack Snell