Ohio Safety Series: Steps for protecting yourself during an Open House
As part of Ohio REALTORS' efforts to keep its members secure, the Buzz continues its "Safety Series." CLICK HERE for more information from the National Association of REALTORS on keeping yourself out of harm's way.
An open house can be a great sales tool, but it also exposes you to numerous unfamiliar people at one time. Take these steps to stay safe:
Tip 1: If possible, try to have at least one other person working with you at the open house.
Tip 2: Ask the police department to have a squad car drive by your open house.
Tip 3: Check your cell phone's battery power and signal prior to the open house. Have emergency numbers programmed on speed dial.
Tip 4: Upon entering a house, check all rooms and determine several "escape" routes. Make sure all the deadbolts are unlocked to facilitate a faster escape.
Tip 5: Make sure that if you were to escape through the back door, you could exit from the backyard. Frequently, high fences surround yards that contain swimming pools or hot tubs.
Tip 6: Place one of your business cards, with the date and time written on the back, in a kitchen cabinet. Note on it if you were the first to arrive or if clients were waiting.
Tip 7: Ask all open house visitors to sign in. Request full names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
Tip 8: When showing a house, always walk behind prospects. Direct them; don't lead them. Say, for example, "The kitchen is on your left," and gesture for them to go ahead of you.
Tip 9: Avoid attics, basements and getting trapped in small rooms.
Tip 10: Notify someone in your office, your answering service, a friend or a relative that you will be calling in every hour on the house. And if you don't call, they are to call you.
Tip 11: Inform a neighbor that you will be showing the house, and ask if he or she would watch for anything out of the ordinary.
Tip 12: Don't assume that everyone has left the premises at the end of an open house. Check all rooms and the backyard prior to locking the doors. Be prepared to defend yourself, if necessary.
-- Reprinted from the National Association of REALTORS