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Whose responsibility is the care of valuables in a home when it is on show?

When putting a home on the market the reality is that the sellers and agents are inviting people into view it in order to facilitate the marketing and sales process. 

Whether the owner allows the agent to hold show days or one on one viewings with the estate agent, the seller has to assume some responsibility for ensuring that all the valuables in the home are either locked away or removed from the property altogether, says Annette Evans, general manager for the Institute of Estate Agents Western Cape. 
 
An agent has a responsibility of care to walk through a property on a show day and double check that the seller has put away all valuables, and frequently will find laptops, phones, iPods, watches or even jewellery which have been forgotten in the rush to vacate the house for a viewing or show day, she said.
 
Sometimes people are a little more lax when they are in the home while buyers are visiting the property and leave items lying around because they might feel no one will take anything if they are there but the reality is that little items are a temptation and it is better to be safe, than sorry, said Evans.
 
“Agents cannot be held responsible for the contents of a home. While they will exercise all due diligence and keep an eye on potential buyers and visitors to the home, frequently families or groups of people do split up while viewing a house and it is impossible for the agent to follow everybody,” said Evans.
 
“The purchase of a property is a big decision for a buyer and it sometimes takes multiple viewings before the property is purchased. Statistically, 85% of buyers are generated from show days as it a time when people can view the property in a relaxed manner, with busy husbands and wives being able to view the home together, and these days should not be excluded as a tool for selling a home,” said Evans. “Instead of avoiding a show day, rather do all that is possible to reduce the risk of items going missing and reduce the temptation by locking items of value away.”


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