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Attorney Shares Safety And Security Tips For Home Sellers Having An Open House

All attorneys know something can always go wrong when you're doing something important. As an experienced lawyer with many years in the field, I've witnessed lots of problems first hand. Erring on the side of caution is a good thing during any endeavor. The vast majority of people are kind and decent. They can be trusted with anything. At the same time, there are a small group of people who will readily take any opportunity to engage in criminal activity. When you're opening your house to strangers, you're directly inviting people to see your biggest asset from attic to basement. Criminals can take this opportunity to see the home's potential weaknesses and learn how best to break in. You want to invite potential buyers and show them why your house should be at the top of their list. At the same time, you need to make your house is fully protected. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid damage when you're holding an all important open house.

Keep it Appointment Only

An open house is useful tool to connect with buyers. However, it's best to keep this plan to by appointment only. Appointment only means that buyers are welcome if they are coming with an agent. Agents help screen prospective buyers and make sure they have what it takes to afford the home. The agent also works closely with people who are truly serious about buying. People who really want to see your home will contact an agent first. You can let in trusted neighbors who just want a peak during this time. An agent will act as a second pair of eyes to keep watch on the client as they walk through your home.

A Group Activity

Showing your home alone is not advisable. You're in a vulnerable area where someone may choose to take advantage. Make showing your home a group activity. Have a spouse with you during the open house. They can help you interact with clients and show off the home's best features. Contact your friends and find out if they're free when the house is being shown. They can help you deal with the overflow if the open house is particularly busy. Older teens can also participate or just keep an eye on their younger brothers and sisters.

Ask All Guests to Sign In

Keep an easy place for guests to sign their names as they come inside for a look. Ask them for their name, cell phone and an email address. They should also be able to provide you with a valid form of identification before they step inside. Asking for detailed identification serve two important purposes. The first is that it gives you a list of names that you can contact later and find out what they thought about your house. You might find someone's very interested and even on the verge of making a great offer or not interested and can tell you why. The second purpose to add a layer of security. This way, if something's missing after the open house is over, you can have a detailed list of who was in the house during the crime.

Advanced Preparation

The best safety measures are the ones you do in advance. You want to show off your home's best features. You also want to do your best to protect your valuables at the same time. One of the best ways to protect your valuables is by making sure they're out of the house. Criminals are looking for things they can steal. Items like high end artwork and your cherished electronics are some of their favorite prey. The same is true of your jewelry and other heirlooms. Before you do anything else, go through your home very carefully. Look for things that the criminal might pocket with ease. Smaller items can be stored in your car or safe deposit box. Ask your neighbors if you can store more valuable items in their house during the duration of the open house. Set out some items like costume jewelry that you don't care about to make it clear that you haven't removed all valuables and subtly suggest the house has value in the buyer's mind at the same time.

Your Personal Safety

An open house is totally at your discretion. You have no legal obligation to let anyone inside during this time. If someone is giving off a really bad vibe, you don't need to let them come in. You are entitled to say no and swiftly close the door. If they really make you feel uncomfortable, consider further actions like calling the local police. Keep all doors locked during the open house as it will offer an additional layer of protection.

Article By Guest Author, Attorney Bernard Walsh - Bernard Walsh is listed in the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Walsh is an AV Preeminent® rated attorney in Martindale-Hubbell®. Mr. Walsh is also listed in AVVO as Superb and is a managing partner of the Shapiro Goldman Babboni Fernandez & Walsh law firm located in downtown Sarasota. More about Bernard Walsh at JusticePays.com

Robert Orr
Robert Orr