Safety should always be a top concern for both real estate agents and home sellers.  While holding an open house and allowing potential home buyers to tour the property is an effective means of selling a home, home sellers should be aware of the risks.

  • While most criminals will seek small items and anything they can fit into their pockets, sometimes these “buyers” are actually scoping the home for a future burglary.
  • According to a safety expert who has worked with the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and other groups, first and foremost, people should trust their instincts, so if someone or something is making one uncomfortable, be extra alert and extremely careful.
  • If a potential buyer or unknown agent arrives at the house unexpectedly, the homeowner should tell him to call their agent to schedule an appointment.
  • Before allowing anyone to enter the house, all lights should be turned on and all blinds, shades, and curtains opened.  Homes are safer for showing when someone outside can see inside.
  • In advance of an open house, homeowners should remove all valuables, including jewelry, artwork, and electronic equipment.
  • Additionally, money, mail, bank statements, credit cards and keys should never be kept lying around, or even in a drawer with easy access.
  • Prescription drugs should be kept in locked cabinets, to prevent anyone from stealing them or using the information on the label.
  • Professional burglars often linger in rooms, looking for items they can dispose of quickly.  They also search for ways to get in and out, scouting possible escape routes and checking for security devices.  Couples up to no good often split up so one can check out the house and its belongings, while the other keeps the agent and/or seller occupied.

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