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Linda Kemp, Real Estate Pro in Naperville, IL

I am interested to hear what other licensed agents do to protect themselves and the safety of their sellers when hosting an open house.

Asked by Linda Kemp, Naperville, IL Wed Mar 10, 2010

Open House Safety

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Linda,

Although it may not be everyone's cup of tea, I am a big supporter of the Second Amendment. I carry a firearm everywhere that I legally can. That covers my own personal safety. For those agents that do not want to learn about, practice and use firearms, then a good taser or can of mace will do. Or you can improvise by keeping a fire extinguisher near by. Spray them with the white foam then hit them with the red can. I'm just saying.

As for the safety of the belongings of the seller, I usually insist that the seller: Keeps anything of value in a safe or a separate indiscreet box. High value items, such as wide screen tvs or monitors, computers, etc cannot be taken out so easily. It's the small stuff that should be hidden. Keep any and all bills out of sight.

Terrence Charest, e-Pro

PS - Grew up respecting and using firearms, many years in the military protecting the freedoms most take for granted.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 10, 2010
Linda:

I like some of the answers that were posted;

1. Don't do it alone; always have at least another agent/security guard on duty too.
2. Register all visitors and require a photo ID.
3. Store or remove all valuables.
4. Try and hold open house ONLY at VACANT properties.
5. Pepper Spray

♥.•*¨`*•♫.
≈≈≈ Mott Marvin Kornicki, REALTOR® ≈≈≈
Aventura | Bal Harbour | Sunny Isles Beach
≈≈≈≈≈≈ "★” This is the House “★" ≈≈≈≈≈≈
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 11, 2010
Double up on the agents. Especially in a two story house. One downstairs and one up stairs if there are several people in the home at one time.

Make sure all medications are put away and hidden. We had a guy who used to go through medicine chests here, and take prescription drugs.
*****
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Web Reference: http://www.soreal.biz
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 11, 2010
Linda, give thought about how you 'produce' your open house. Don't do an open house without a proper product launch. The product launch will create the crowd you desire, and your incentive will get you an offer. Unfortunately, most open houses are entertainment events and not designed to sell a home. In this case consider an open house with broader citizen attraction. By all means send the owner to Chili's for a few hours. It's happy hour all day long.

Be aware of the five concerns every citizen has who will cross the threshold of your open house. Get the blinders off and realize, if you didn't do a product launch, then this open house isn't about selling this home! It's about networking, promoting, connecting and cross marketing.

Safety. Never go alone. A properly marketed open house will need three or four folks. In your launch media let folks know it's only open from noon to two...or four to six...period. Two of your participants will be collaboration partners. One person must remain outside the home but able to view into the house. Let this person also be the official register dude and always packing a cell phone with every participants # on speed dial. Allow only one entry and exit point even if this requires cabling the gates shut. Never let someone cross the threshold without greeting them at the door and sharing the 'rules' as well what they should be looking for as they tour the home. If you have the staff, be the docent and get them in and out quickly...if they want to measure, look in the cabinets or attic...get their name and number to make an appt. All the other precautions mentioned below are practical ideas also. That 2nd Amendment thing works better in Idaho and Texas and a real problem in Chicago.

If you have a glimmer of recognition of the potential of a collaborative open house and would like more details about integrating collaborative marketing let me know.
Web Reference: http://www.MyDunedin.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 11, 2010
If you're concerned about safety, you might think about a self defense class. There are some easy moves almost anyone can do to get away from an attacker. I also agree with the guy that said you should learn to exercise your 2nd amendment rights, but I know the gun laws are pretty Draconian in IL. Personally I don't do open houses any more because of the way the market has changed. There are better (more profitable) ways to spend a Saturday.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 11, 2010
Linda,

In our area most homes are either a "vacant" foreclosure or short sale property. On the rare occasion that it is "owner" occupied, we have at least "2" of us sitting the O/H. If it's a 2 story, one is stationed usually in the middle area of the downstairs & "1" is stationed upstairs with flyers, etc. This way they are welcomed twice - intentionally!

Anyone with a motive, I think, would get a little nervous when they see the house manned twice. This is done along with what the other's do.

In our area, O/H are the way to go! There are so many buyer's here that it's a non-stop group coming in most of the day. It has also brought seller's out - especially from the neighborhood. They like to stop by and ask questions about selling their homes. Has worked out well for all involved.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 11, 2010
One of the agents I have helped out at open houses puts a sign on the door saying that the person must show photo ID, then writes down the info. Would kind of turn off anyone who is not legit.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 11, 2010
Hi Linda,

Well, not being a fan of open houses, when I do do one, I always bring someone with me such as a mortgage consultant and an assistant because there is safety in numbers.

As for protecting the home owners, well that is a bit harder because I can't be with everyone everywhere in the home and I tell that to my clients when explaining open houses. I tell them to protect their valuables but that they should be aware that when people attend opens, they will be looking everywhere and opening up doors. I've seen buyers look in drawers, closets and under beds. If they do not want to be subjected to that type of invasion, then perhaps an open is not for them.

Personally, I do not think having open houses are necessary these days with the amount of exposure Realtors can give to their listings these days with the internet. Price the home properly, and it will sell. Opens are old school in my opinion.

I also just do not think they are safe because lets face it, if criminals want to do something, they will no matter who is sitting at the open. After all, when we are having an open house, what we are essentially doing is opening up the front door and welcoming in every stranger in the area. It's really no different than you or I right now, going to our front doors and just opening it up and leaving it open all day long. This is what I try and tell and warn for sale by owners about. Not to scare them as many Realtors or other for sale by owners will say, just to make them aware of the way the world is these days.

So, if Realtors still insist on having opens, they just have to think, safety first.

Renee Porsia
Associate Broker
RE/MAX ACTION
(215) 669-0589 Direct
(215) 358-1100 Office ask for Renee
http://www.reneeporsia.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 11, 2010
Linda
I always do an open house with an associate if I do them. I don't do them often. I carry pepper spray but I am thinking about a stun gun. I think it is a little more important that women have some other kind of backup plan if they plan to do an open house. I am always alert as to where I am and where the visitors are.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 10, 2010
You have to be selective where & how you do an openhouse these days. If the home is in an isolated area I'll invite the owners to stay or I just don't do it. I let my family as well as the receptionist at our office know the address & time I will be doing the open house .I tell the owners to feel free to call me during the open house or stop in as well. I make sure the home is well lit, tell sellers that all valuables are put away & collectibles out of reach of young children, I carry my keys & my cell phone on me & leave my blue tooth on as well. I try to control how many people come through the house at a time so I have control of where they are & no one wanders off. Also when I take them on a tour I allow them to go first & I stand behind them as I point out the features of the home. Same as when showing a basement, they go 1st. If I feel uncomfortable about someone that has come to the open house, I keep the tour brief & mention that the owner just stepped out & will be back shortly if they have any questions..
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 10, 2010
Personally, I prefer not to educate the enemy.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 10, 2010
Open houses are tough ones and things I do not generally do. The risks are too great for the sellers and a general waste of their time. I know great things and lots of sales happen at open houses but the people that come are usually not qualified in terms of banking or desire, are looking to come back later to steal things or cause some type of harm, are your nosey neighbors, or they are only getting decorating ideas. I am not concerned for my safety at all but having people in a clients home that are unvetted, unnamed and their intentions unknown is bad business in my book. The internet is the best place for buyers to find your home and a broker will normally not take people around that are unqualified and unknown. Real buyers with real brokers don't need to wait for an open house. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 10, 2010
Take a self-defense course. You'll learn a lot, and will feel a lot more comfortable at an open house.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 10, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
MVP'08
Contact
Of course, common sense things like putting away valuables, etc. but recently I've started enlisting the help of an "assistant" (usually another agent in my office) to help out with open houses. In return, I'll reciprocate the favor at one of their open houses. It helps a lot to have a second set of eyes around and to help out when you've got more than one person coming through at a time. It also makes me feel a little safer not to be alone.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 10, 2010
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