Hosting an open house is an exciting and stressful experience. Your mind goes in a million different directions. However, have you thought about your own safety? Just the nature of working alone, often with complete strangers, raises your odds of being a crime victim. Attacks on real estate agents typically are crimes of opportunity, in which the assailant notices the agent is alone and may have valuables. Open houses are times when you typically are within the home for hours, and probably alone. Here are some things you can do to protect yourself:
- Try to have at least one other person working with you.
- Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and has a signal.
- When you enter a house, spot a possible escape route.
- Make sure all guests sign in and secure their full names, phone numbers, and email addresses.
- When showing the home, walk behind the prospective buyers/visitors.
- Try to avoid walking into small rooms where you could get trapped (such as a walk-in closet).
- Check in with a friend or colleague throughout the day.
- Introduce yourself to the neighbors.
- When you publicize the open house, mention video surveillance will be in use.
- Do not leave any valuables, such as a laptop or purse, sitting in plain sight in your car; make sure your car doors are locked.
- Re-check all rooms at the end of the open house.
Having a plan is step one. Making sure your office has a plan is step two. Be safe and smart, and always trust your instincts.