Showing Houses Safely: Quick Tips for Sellers

Holding an open house is an act of faith. You clean, de-clutter, and prepare your home to look its best, hoping at least one of the visitors will fall in love enough to make an offer, preferably all-cash.
“In the South African market buyers have been trained though the year that Sunday is Show Day. It is a family event for active buyers. As an added bonus this causes the least amount of inconvenience / discomfort to current tenants. We ask them for one night to show 20 buyers at once instead of 20 buyers at 20 different times”, explains Johan van Schalkwyk, Principal of Leapfrog Property Group, Roodepoort.
At the same time, open houses are invitations to strangers to walk among your most prized possessions, often with only a single real estate agent present—and so there are very real security concerns, for agents and homeowners alike.
At Leapfrog we propose the following safety tips for sellers:
1. Rather go with a sole mandate as you will have more control over who walks through your house, and you’ll only have one agency responsible for your home security.  You’ll be better able to manage the way your property is being perceived by buyers and who enters your property.
2. Check that your agent is registered with the EAAB (Estate Agency Affairs Board) – this is a legal requirement and will confirm that your chosen estate agent is a qualified professional.
3. Ask your agency what security checks they will run beforehand; do they run pre-qualifications for home loans? Serious buyers will have gotten pre-qualification for a home loan, which means that it’s easy to ascertain whether they can afford the property or not.
4.  Control your remotes. Most people don’t think about the extra garage remote they leave dangling from a hook near the back door. It’s small and easy to slip into a pocket, so take it with you when you leave for the open house.
5. Ask your agency if they will arrange with your area security company to park a security car outside your show house or to pop in a few times during the afternoon.
6. Ask your agency to have more than one qualified agent attending your show house if they feel they will need to juggle buyers. Sectional title sellers can also give the security guards a list of their invited guest before their arrival.
7. Don’t leave valuables lying around - as far as possible remove temptation by locking away jewellery, money and other precious items.
“At the end of the day hosting a show house remains one of the best ways to sell a property as most people want to inspect a home before they are willing to make an offer. It needn’t be a hazardous process if you’re working with an experienced agent who takes the necessary precautions”, believes van Schalkwyk. 

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