Whenever you have someone come into your home as a prospective buyer, you want to ensure that they and your property will remain safe.
An open house should be the start of a mutually beneficial financial transaction, not a disaster. With these six steps, you can create a safe setting for visitors, while confirming your home security.
1. Clear Walkways
When you first prepare to list your home, you’ll likely spend a fair bit of time and money getting the landscaping in order. One challenge is that you have to keep it up over time, whether you are living in the home or not. You do not want anyone to fall and get hurt, in part because you can be held liable for it.
Before every showing, confirm that all walkways in the front and back yards are free of debris and growing bushes. Trim tree branches that may fall during a storm. Leave a doormat at each exterior door for people to wipe their feet.
If you live in an area with cold winters, promptly clear any snow and ice. Put down road salt on driveways and sidewalks to make the wet ground freeze at a lower temperature.
2. Improve Lighting
Inadequate lighting makes your home feel unpleasantly dark, but it also makes it difficult for visitors to see where they are going. Lighting outside the home helps to showcase nice features of the home’s exterior and directs people where to go. Making sure a buyer has a good experience touring your home can leave them with a great impression, so all of the little details count.
Add lighting in the driveway, along walkways and on the porch. Inside, confirm that staircases are well-lit. If there is any part of the home that may be dangerous for unfamiliar guests, such as an unexpected step, cast a spotlight on it or direct your agent to help people avoid tripping and falling.
3. Remove Enticing Items
The truth is that some people take advantage of an open house to discover reasons and ways to break into your home. You can remove a lot of the potential targets for them by taking out the things they are most likely to look for. First, you should completely clear all medicine cabinets, drawers and kitchen cabinets of medicines, especially prescription drugs.
Take smaller valuables, such as jewelry and technological equipment, out of the home. Remove or hide all garage remotes, which can be easily stolen and used to break into your garage later on.
4. Beef Up Structural Security
People who want to steal from a home for sale are more likely to use an open house as an opportunity to case your home for things to take, as opposed to taking things during the open house itself. It is not a common occurrence, but it does not hurt to take steps to avoid it. Ask your agent to help you identify weaknesses in your home security, such as poor outdoor lighting or windows that do not lock properly.
At the conclusion of a showing or open house, secure the house by locking all doors and closing and locking all windows. Lock the door inside the garage, as well.
5. Plan Cleaning in Advance
Every staging guide reminds you that the home must be bright and shiny clean before you show it to potential buyers. However, you do not want to cut it so close that you risk your guests’ safety in the process. If you use harsh cleansers, allow enough time and ventilation to remove any fumes.
Clean floors at least 2-3 days before a showing or open house. People who walk on damp carpet to tile could slip easily and fall. Confirm that all hard floor surfaces are dry, especially around exterior doors during the winter or a wet spring.
6. Secure Attractive Hazards
There are certain aspects of your home that pose little risk to adults but could be very dangerous for children that may be brought along. Small children may have a hard time resisting the allure of a swimming pool. If your home features a pool, it should have a fence surrounding it with a gate that is consistently closed and locked.
If you have attractive play equipment that is difficult to secure, like a trampoline, consider taking it out of your yard while you sell the home. Many buyers look at these toys as clutter, so removing it temporarily may make your backyard look cleaner and more organized.
No one wants to have to call 911 during an open house. Luckily, you can do a lot to minimize any potential hazards. Follow these six tips, and you will be satisfied with your home’s security and safety.