How to Prevent Theft During an Open House

One of the best ways you can sell your property quickly and garner a lot of interest for it is to have an open house. This means that you choose one day – usually, a Saturday to maximize the number of people who can attend – and, either by yourself or through a real estate agent, book everyone in either all at once or at individual time slots.

There are pros and cons to each of these ideas. Booking different time slots means you can speak to each potential buyer individually and really try to sell the house. If you ensure that each appointment overlaps with the next by a few minutes, the buyers will know there is a lot of interest in the property, causing them to want to make an offer. On the other hand, if you have everyone at the house at the same time, the competition will be even more intense, and there might even be a bidding war. However, there is also the chance that dishonest people might use the opportunity to steal from you. Read on to find out how to prevent this, and have a successful open house.

Install Security Elements

To protect them as much as possible, all houses should ideally have a security system in place anyway, but if you don’t, it would be a good idea to install one before you have your open house. Although a burglar alarm isn’t necessarily going to help because people will need to look into all rooms of your home, CCTV could be very useful, even if it is only temporary. It would act as an ideal deterrent, and if something did go wrong, at least you would have caught it on video. To prevent crowds of kids and teenagers from gathering, you can use equipment from too.

You might think that having these elements installed would be off-putting for a potential buyer. They might see these things and assume the neighborhood isn’t safe or that you have had problems with security in the past. This may well be true for some, but others will see it as a bonus; they will know you are taking good care of the property, and it’s a job they won’t have to do when they move in because it’s already taken care of. So as well as protecting yourself and your belongings on your open day, you might even be able to secure a sale more quickly.

Secure Valuables and Medications

It might not be very pleasant to have to think of, but some people will steal from others to fulfill some kind of thrill or because they need the money. The motives don’t matter; the point is, you don’t want anyone to steal from you, and as much as you might want to think the best of these coming to view your house on your open day, the truth is that it’s far better to assume the worst and ensure everything is protected.

With this in mind, it’s wise to secure all your valuables and medications – the smaller items that people can easily pick up and slip into a pocket or bag – so that they aren’t taken. One way to do this is to remove them from the property entirely; pack them in boxes and place them in your car or with a trusted friend or relative.  In this way, there is nothing of value left in the house that is portable enough to be moved without being seen.

Remove Identifying Documents

Not everyone who comes to your home on an open day is there as a prospective buyer. Some are scammers who are there to look around your home to work out how best to come back later and break-in, and what they might like to take away with them when they do. Some are there to commit identity theft; they know your address and will be looking for identifying documents with your name, date of birth, where you bank, and other important pieces of information on them.

The former issue can be dealt with by the aforementioned security system and ensuring that it is very obviously there. No thief will attempt to rob a house that is secure when they could much more easily and safely (for them) try elsewhere. Regarding the second issue, make sure that any identifying information is removed from the house. This could even include family photos. You don’t want anyone to know who you are, which is why having a real estate agent conduct the open house can be the best option.

Don’t Leave Extra Keys

Many people have spare keys in their homes. They’ll throw them in a drawer or a countertop dish and often forget they are there. Or they might keep them in a ‘safe’ place outside, such as under the mat or in a plant pot.

If you have an open house, these keys need to be removed. Any thief who sees them will take them, and they will then be able to re-enter your home at any time to take what they want. If the realtor requires a spare key, don’t leave it somewhere for them to collect; hand it to them directly, and make sure that they do the same when they return it.