While hosting open houses provides a great way to meet new clients and gain real estate experience, it’s no secret that unlocking a client’s home to the world presents house safety considerations. In addition to prepping for your open house and immersing yourself in the home’s history and neighborhood (take a look at our guide to holding open houses here), you should also create a safety plan to follow in case the unthinkable happens.
BEFORE THE OPEN HOUSE
When you walk through the home prior to the open house, check each room and determine several potential escape routes. If one of your routes involves the back door, make sure there aren’t high fences that could hinder your efforts. In addition, ensure your cell phone has adequate service throughout the home.
While you walk the neighborhood, knock on doors to inform neighbors you’ll be holding an open house and ask them to keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary.
In addition, you should always have at least one other person working with you at the open house. Even if it’s just your spouse or non-agent friend directing incomers to sign in, there’s always strength in numbers.
DURING THE OPEN HOUSE
When you arrive at the home, write the date and time on the back of a business card, as well as if you were the first to arrive or if clients were waiting. Put your card in the kitchen cabinet.
Request all visitors to sign in with their full names, addresses, phone numbers and emails. While you show them through the home, always walk behind the prospect and direct them where to go. Avoid attics, basements and small rooms.
Stay in contact with someone, whether it’s your office, a friend or family member. Let them know that you will be calling every hour, on the hour, to communicate your safety. If you don’t call, they should call you.
AFTER THE OPEN HOUSE
Make sure all visitors have left the open house before closing up at the end. Check each room and the backyard before locking up.
For more information on keeping safe — whether during an open house or otherwise — read the National Association of Realtors®guide to real estate safety.