Open House Safety

I am not a big fan of open houses but some clients expect them. Normal scheduled showings are recorded by agents, showing services, lockbox key codes and showing agents vet buyers before allowing them in your home. At an open house there is no control over who is checking out your home.  Theft, breakage and liability is always a possibility but your safety should come first!   Regardless if you are listed with a Realtor or are trying to sell yourself, you need to be aware of personal safety issues.  Here is a recent alert from the Collin County Association of Realtors:

REALTOR® Safety Alert: Suspicious Open House Visitor

We have been alerted by a few CCAR members that there is a suspicious man visiting open houses in the Richardson and Wylie areas. While he is friendly and talkative, this gentleman has been noted to invade the REALTOR’S® personal space during a conversation. In addition, several agents reported that it appeared that he had rummaged through the homeowner’s medication and jewelry. He is described as a Caucasian male in his mid-20’s, approximately 6’2″ in height, with a slender build. He has light-colored hair and wears glasses. As always, CCAR urges you to contact the police immediately if you feel you are in an unsafe situation.

As Realtors, we are tuned in to the potential safety hazards of the job and try to be prepared for what could happen.  If you are thinking of selling your home FSBO (For Sale By Owner) or are convinced that your agent should have open houses, think about your safety.  Your agent may do the open house but everyone through it now knows your floor plan, security features, possible ways in and what valuables you have.

Ten Open House Safety Tips

  • When hosting an open house, have someone with you if possible.
  • Have a keyword or phrase to signal your partner that you are uncomfortable or in trouble.
  • If alone, never lead someone through the home.  Always follow them or better yet, tell them to tour the home without you.
  • Have a set time for the open house and make sure your neighbors, spouse or friend knows the time, what you are wearing, your car and licence number in the unlikely event there is an abduction.
  • Make sure your cell phone is charged and you can get to it in an emergency.
  • If needed, the horn button on your auto key fob can be used to draw attention.
  • Put away all prescription drugs, jewelery, firearms and other valuables.  As you can see from the alert above, it is common for criminals to go after drugs and jewelry. Amazingly I have shown homes where the owners left firearms out.
  • Put up personal or business papers that could lead to identity theft or just someone being nosy about what is on your desk.
  • If you have time between visitors, make a quick run through to see if anything has been taken or disturbed. Children can sometimes break or remove things but more importantly, criminals can set the stage for a return visit.
  • When your open house is finished, be sure to check all the doors and windows to ensure they are locked. A window left unlocked may be a potential way in for a returning thief or worse.

Your family’s safety during and after an open house is something to be concerned about.  Realtors know what to look for and have  alert systems when there is a known shady character. Discuss the positives and negatives with your real estate agent.  If I can help you sell your home or offer more advise, contact Keith Laursen, your Van Alstyne Realtor via or call 469.233.1234.



About Keith Laursen

I am a Fathom Realty Realtor specializing in town and country properties in the cities of Van Alstyne, Anna, Melissa, Howe, Gunter, Tom Bean, Whitewright, McKinney and Plano, TX.

My trusty horse and I will help you "spot" the best in real estate. Remember, it can't sell if it's not spotted!
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