Show house: safety first, warns the real estate company
Hosting a show home is one of the best tools in a realtor’s arsenal. This brings out the competitor in any buyer, which could ultimately lead to higher selling prices.
Unfortunately, this also carries a degree of security risk. Vendors and agents will need to be extra vigilant when hosting an open house.
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To help keep everyone safe, RE/MAX of Southern Africa has offered some safety tips for show home hosting:
• Create a cloud-based attendance register
Keep a detailed record of participants’ names, including their phone numbers and emails, as well as the location, date, and time of the show house. Share this information with the office admin in a cloud-based file, so someone has a real-time record of who you were last seen with. Be sure to follow POPIA best practices when recording this information and obtain participants’ permission before using the information provided for marketing purposes.
• Close the doors behind you
As inviting as an open door may seem, it could be a security risk. Instead, lock the door behind you and put up a sign inviting shoppers to knock or ring the doorbell to enter one at a time. Do not authorize the entry of a purchaser into the dwelling until the attendance register has been completely filled in.
Some sellers are also uncomfortable with the idea of letting anyone and everyone into their home. Doing an invite-only show home with a smaller group is the best compromise. To ensure only serious buyers attend, ask your potential buyers to share their pre-approval with you to prove they can actually afford to buy the property.
• Enable location sharing
When viewing a home, enable location sharing on your phone and broadcast your current location with an office administrator, close friend or family member. You can always turn it off afterwards, but in the meantime it could protect you by letting people know where you are.
• Be vigilant when projecting
Ask the landlord to store valuables in a safe beforehand and to put away any personal items, such as letters or bank statements, to avoid any risk of identity theft. Be sure to walk behind visitors when showing them the property. This will not only allow you to point out the main features of the house without getting in the way, but it will also protect you because you will never turn your back on visitors and any suspicious activity will be detected immediately.
• Self-defense tools and courses
Carrying self-defense tools, such as pepper spray and a taser, and taking self-defense classes would be a great addition to your protection. Another useful little tool is a personal panic button. You can get one from a security company that comes with an app, but there are also plenty of apps that are free to download and easy to use.
• Prepare your getaway vehicle
As a general safety measure, your car should always be in good working order and have at least a half tank of fuel. The last thing you want to do is not be able to run away from a dangerous situation. Make sure your car is checked regularly and maintenance is done on time. Regularly check the water, oil and tire pressure when you fill up your car.
As a real estate professional, showing off a home and making it attractive to potential buyers is a big part of your job. However, your own safety and that of your customers is of the highest priority. Never put yourself in danger unnecessarily,” concluded Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett.