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How do you secure your possessions during open houses?

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How do you secure your possessions during open houses
Posted 07 March 2016
Putting your house on the market can be a busy and stressful experience. There's lots to be done to present your home in its best light and attract a buyer. 

Unfortunately your efforts, and those of you real estate agent, can also attract potential thieves. Here are some things to keep in mind to keep your possessions safe while your home is up for sale.

  • Take care to remove and protect anything precious or valuable before your house is opened up for inspections. 
  • Consider taking items with you if you're leaving the premises for the inspection, or locking them up in a safe or secure cupboard or drawer.  
  • Remove all prescription medicines and lock those up too.
  • Don't forget about small electronics such as laptops, iPads, smartphones, and other electronic devices that are easy to tuck in a pocket.
  • Remove items which include identifying information. Don't leave bills and other items which can be used to steal your identity on the fridge or on desks where they can be photographed or stolen.
  • Take keys for vehicles with you or secure them.
  • Check your property's security after the inspection. Check that windows and doors have not been unlocked to enable access after the inspection.
  • Don't hide anything in your top dresser drawer or bedside tables - that's a go-to spot for thieves.
  • If possible, don't use any heirlooms or valuable possessions to stage your rooms. Consider the images used to sell your home and if they have captured expensive possessions and other items that may entice thieves to pay you a visit.

After each open house, require the real estate agent to check and lock all doors and windows, as you wouldn't want anyone "stopping by" later after they have already been through the house. If you are showing the property yourself, make sure windows and doors haven't been unlocked for easy access later. 

Take pictures before the open house - just before you or your agent are ready to throw open the doors to you home, take photos of all the rooms and areas in the home. This will enable you to identify if things have been moved or are missing.  

Keep track of visitors - Visitors to an open house are usually asked to sign in as they come into the house, but not everyone does this. Consider having at least two people to manage your open home and ensure people provide their details and someone can move around the home answering questions and keeping an eye on your greatest asset. 

Don't host an open house - open houses can be a good way to generate interest in your home however, they also attract sticky beaks and tyre kickers. Generally the only thing being sold at an open house is the agency. Open houses are a marketing tool for the agency, it's often where they will pick up their next client. Decide whether and open for inspection is the right selling tool for you and your property. 

Insurance - if you are going ahead with holding an open house, it's a good idea to check with your home insurer to see if you are covered for theft or damage during an inspection, and if you need to do something extra to stay protected.




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