Showings invite strangers to open your closet and explore every corner of your home. While your focus may be on selling the house, practice open house safety to protect belongings left inside.
Twenty-eight percent of burglaries occur when someone is home, and open houses are no exception. Below, we overview how real estate agents and sellers can better secure homes during the showing process.
1. Anticipate Burglaries
Take precautions before your house is on the market. When taking photos to list online, remove any valuables from the photos so it’s a less enticing target for open-house thieves. A garage with tools, an office with personal documents or a living room with electronics, can be exciting opportunities for thieves. Removing these triggers from listing photos may cause burglars to overlook your house as a worthy opportunity.
Plan ahead. Lock important items and documents away in a safe and monitor valuables with image sensors and cameras. Hiding valuables in the bottom of a drawer last minute is not enough; burglars know common hiding places. Use image sensors to receive 24/7 trigger alerts when someone is near your hiding place or safe to protect high-end commodities.
2. Coordinate With Your Real Estate Agent
Talk to your real estate agent to assess the risk of your house being burglarized during an open house. Research your neighborhood’s crime rate and understand your home’s perceived value to a thief.
If you think your home may be an appealing target or is in a high-risk neighborhood, consider requiring visitors to schedule ahead. Your realtor can collect identification from potential buyers at the door. This open house safety measure is no problem for serious buyers, but detracts thieves.
If you have a larger home, ask your real estate agent to bring an assistant, so someone can cover each floor. It’s easy for one person to get distracted talking to multiple potential buyers, so a second pair of eyes on the premises is a good idea.
3. Use Home Security
If you’re worried about being away from your home while others are inside, consider home security technology to monitor high-target areas to burglars like medicine cabinets, dressers and offices with small electronics. Visible indoor security cameras cause burglars to shy away from stealing at an open house, because there is a higher chance they could be caught and recognized on film.
Use outdoor security cameras and alarm systems even after the showing ends. A burglar may see valuables at the open house and return later when there is less traffic and they know the home’s layout. Double check all doors and windows to ensure no one unlocked entry points to return later. Keep a head count of those entering and exiting to help foil any ill-intentioned plans by a visitor trying to stay behind.
Talk to a trusted home security provider about other measures you can take to protect your home. Learn if there are options to transfer the security technology and system to the new homeowners, or take it with you after the move.