So you’ve done what every good seller would do to sell your house faster and at a better price. You’ve mowed your lawn, fixed up your house, applied a fresh coat of paint and dusted every nook and cranny of the house to make it look better and attract good buyers. However, you can’t help feeling unsettled everytime you leave your house and strangers poke around your home and inspect every corner. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. It is normal to feel anxious during open house because a lot of things could happen with many people milling around the house at once. Theft, accidents and liability lawsuits are just some of the untoward things that could happen during the selling process, especially the open house.
Here are some ways to help you protect your home and yourself while your property is on the market.
- Let your neighbors know. If you’re not going home directly after the open house, ask your neighbor or someone you trust to lock the doors and windows while you’re not around. This will keep your home safe from burglars and unwanted visitors.
- Hide your valuables. Strangers will poke at every part of your house. From the living room to the bathroom to the bedrooms. Don’t keep valuable items like jewelry, cash, collectibles and other items that can be easily stolen. Store them in a vault, a deposit box or other safe storage place. You should also hide documents and bills that contain your personal info. People could use this to steal your identity.
- Trips and Falls – Since people are not familiar with your house, it is easy to trip or fall because of one loose board or wire on the floor. You could be held liable for these accidents so to avoid any liability lawsuits, repair everything that needs to be fixed. Repair loose or uneven flooring, remove ice and snow from walkways, secure rugs so they don’t slip, clean hallways and stairs of clutter, and make sure the whole house is well lit inside and out.
- Property damage – It can’t be helped when potential buyers would want to test your appliances to make sure they are working. To avoid accidental damage to your house due to fire or faucet left open, you can ask your real estate agent to check everything before going out.
- Animal bites – If you have pets in the house, whether it’s a cat or a dog, make sure you remove them from the premises during the open house. You don’t know how they will react to strangers so avoid confrontation as much as possible.
If you’re still not comfortable showing your home to other people while you’re not around, you can ask your real estate agent to be present during the house.