Security is a critical yet often overlooked aspect of preparing for an open house. While the vast majority of guests touring an open house are coming just to see your home, don’t discount the possibility that someone may come with other intentions.
Protect your valuables
Before open house—and even before your photo session—remove items of particular value that could be secreted away. Consider your laptops, media equipment like bluetooth speakers and projectors, jewelry, and anything of sentimental value. Store valuables off-site or leave them with a trusted friend.
Protect your information
Remove anything that could inadvertently share information about you or your family. Consider:
- Mail and bills, which could contain sensitive personal or financial information
- Prescription medications, which could be stolen or used to glean personal medical information
- Family photos, especially to keep children anonymous
- Wall or desk calendars, which may contain information about when you will be away from home, or other sensitive information like medical appointments
- Anything that divulges where you work, where your children go to school, and what activities your family is involved in
- Computers and devices without password protection
- Paper files
Protect your home from liability
Address hazards (often ones that you’ve gotten used to) that guests and your real estate team may not know to watch out for. Think about slippery area rugs, loose banisters and floor boards, a wobbly attic ladder, or a rickety front step. Scan the basement, attic, garage and yard especially.
If you keep potentially dangerous items in your home, such as antique weapons, pocket knives, or even a set of chef’s knives, pre-pack those items and store them, ideally off-site. This helps protect your real estate team, as well as the visiting public, from intruders.
After the open house, scan your space and make sure everything is in order and accounted for. While you’re at it, double-check that windows and doors are locked.