Open House Safety
A few years ago, we hosted an event with the Beverly Carter Foundation to bring Realtor safety to the forefront of our minds. This foundation was started by Carl Carter, Jr., the son of Beverly Carter. Beverly was killed following her kidnapping which took place during a showing and her son has been advocating Realtor safety ever since. At the event he shared several tips, but you are here to find out how to protect yourself and others during an open house.
As stated by Beverly Carter Foundation representatives, “open houses involve far more than cookies and balloons.” By taking certain precautions prior to the open house, realtors and homeowners can protect themselves during open houses. One tip is to simply have a trusted person, or several, come by the open house- the more traffic in and out the safer you will be. Consider inviting an industry affiliate like a mortgage banker to join you at the open house; or perhaps a friend or family member. Another great option is to stop by the local police or fire station to invite them to stop by during the open house! Before the open house starts take a few minutes to meet the neighbors, letting them know what is going on; not only will they be able to be on the look out for any suspicious activity, but they may help drum up potential buyers for you.
Knowing the house isn’t only beneficial for selling it, knowing the house well can keep you safe. Be sure of all entrances/exits and note any potential safety concerns in the backyard. While considering the layout of the house, make yourself aware of any rooms that could entrap you such as basements, attics or those with tight quarters. As you are touring potential buyers, avoid entering these spaces first—instead, allow them to enter the room while you stay outside the door. During an open house, it can be hard to know every time a person enters the house; adding a decorative ring of bells to the handles of your entrances is an easy way to alert you each time someone comes in or out.
At the conclusion of the open house confirm that all the windows and doors are locked, not just those that you opened; after all, there were a lot of people in and out of that property. Also, because this is a prime time for a criminal to take advantage of the situation, be sure to have someone with you to close. In our industry, of course we want to sell houses and close mortgages quickly and efficiently but not at the cost of other’s safety and security. Please take the time to share this information with your co-workers and friends to build safety awareness.
The Beverly Carter Foundation offers a wealth of knowledge on their website for realtors and other industry professionals which you can view here.