Open House Safety For Realtors
In most markets, this is the busy season for real estate agents. And while safety is always a concern for agents, a busy selling season might heighten our need to be more careful with our decisions. Let’s talk specifically about open house safety here. Why? Because agents typically hold houses open more often during the summer due to an increased level of inventory. So now is a good time to consider taking precaution.
Here are my top 10 safety tips for open houses:
1-Partner with another agent. It almost goes without saying that there is safety in numbers so having a buddy with you is added security. If you are a seasoned agent, consider letting a newbie tag along and observe during the open house. It’s great training for the newbie and gives an extra set of eyes on the property.
2-Have multiple exit strategies. You want to make sure that you have a couple of ways out of the house in the event you feel that you are in danger. Don’t place yourself in a position where you are trapped and can’t run away. It’s also a good idea to know a few self-defense moves and practice them often. It’s still a better option to flee rather than fight if possible.
3-Bug spray is your friend. There’s an agent that I know who keeps a large can of bug spray close by during open houses. It has a wider spray area than mace and with a good spray can give you time to flee from an attacker.
4-Don’t park your car in the driveway. You want to make sure that you don’t get blocked in and find yourself without wheels if you need to make a quick getaway. Park on the street for an easy exit.
5-Don’t assume that the house is empty when the open house is over. Try to keep up with who is coming and going so that you don’t find yourself in the house with a stranger while you are locking up. Carry your bug spray or other defense mechanism of choice with you while locking up if you aren’t sure.
6-Check all windows before leaving. It’s impossible to keep an eye on every room in the house during your open house. So once you’ve locked the doors, make sure the windows are locked too. It’s easy for a visitor to unlock a window with the intent of coming back later after everyone has left. You don’t want to put your seller at risk.
7-Ask visitors for a picture I.D. This may seem like overkill. But visitors who are at the open house for the right reasons will understand.
8-Let someone know where you are. It’s a good idea to have someone, whether it’s a family member or a colleague, who knows exactly where you are and how long you will be there. Have their text number at the top of your phone list in case you feel that you are in danger. Make arrangements to check in at various intervals. And have a secret code word that let’s that person know you are in trouble if you have to call. And don’t be afraid to call 9-1-1. It’s better to be embarrassed than dead. If you feel that your life is in danger, dial 9-1-1.
9-Never give a tour of the home. If a visitor is attempting to lure you into another room, don’t go for it. Open houses by nature are designed so that people can tour the home by themselves. You are not a tour guide. If a guest has a question, have them come back into your safe area to discuss their question. And never let a guest walk behind you. Maintain a position of control by walking behind the visitor.
10-Dress appropriately. It’s very important to leave the expensive jewelry, accessories, and electronics at home. Ladies, don’t dress provocatively. And wear shoes that allow you to make a hasty exit if necessary.