How To: Protect Your Home and Valuables During an Open House

An open house means lots of strangers in your home. Normally, that’s something you try to avoid, but you’re willing to make an exception when it comes to selling your home. So, here’s how to protect your home and valuables when you’re not there.

Take these steps before, during, and after your open house. And good luck with the sale!

Before an Open House

Check with your homeowner's insurance to see if you’re covered for theft or injury during the open house.

You may want to consider increasing your coverage during the time your home is for sale.

Let your neighbors know you’re having an open house.

They’re usually willing to help keep the neighborhood safe. And if you can’t make it back home right after it’s over, they can help keep an eye out for anything suspicious.

Put away your family calendar and pictures of your kids.

You don’t need everyone knowing your whole family’s schedule! Look through your home and remove anything that gives identifying details you'd rather not share.

Lock away your prescription drugs, alcohol, guns, and cigars. 

Anything that's dangerous, illegal in some hands, and tempting should be locked up or removed from your house entirely.

Lock away your valuables.

Don’t forget the small pieces of jewelry that might be next to your bed, your iPad, or your small pieces of art. A less cluttered home shows better anyway, so this is a great time to pack away all the knickknacks and anything else that's unnecessary (and easy to pocket).

Make sure your computer has a password lock on it.

That will help keep potential identity thieves from getting your personal information. Don’t forget to lock up your personal papers and checkbooks while you’re at it. If you have a laptop or tablet, take it with you.

Fix anything that might be hazardous.

Make sure you've fixed wobbly railings, nailed down loose boards, and secured any unwieldy furniture.


During an Open House

Ask your agent to bring an assistant (or two) so you can have someone on each floor of your home.

Not only will that help deter any thieves, but the second real estate agent can also point out key features or answer any questions about the second floor. They can also make sure no one is doing anything unsafe, and that children aren't climbing where they shouldn't.

Make sure your agent uses sign-in sheets for everyone who comes into the house.

Sure, an intent thief could lie, but the mere fact that you have a sign-in sheet could be a deterrent. Besides, your agent will be happy to have potential clients' contact info.


After an Open House

Ask your agent if you can help her close the house.

Walk through each room, the garage, and the yard together and make sure all the doors and windows are locked and everyone is out of the home.

Do a quick inventory. 

If something is missing or broken, the sooner you know, the better.

And if something does go wrong? Find out if your agent or his broker is willing to help cover the loss or damage if your insurance doesn't. They may not be liable for it but might want to help you out as a gesture of goodwill.

Here's to a successful, safe, and productive open house!