Being safe (and healthy) at your next Show Day

Open House or ‘Show Days’ is a valuable way of introducing your home to prospective buyers. The gradual relaxation of lockdown regulations means that estate agents can now start using this as a way of selling property. But understandably, safety and health measures are now more important than before.

“Estate agents must be security conscious and need to discuss the option of putting security systems in place before a Show Day,” says Charnel Hattingh, national marketing, and communications manager at Fidelity ADT.

“This is not only to protect the sellers’ valuables and property but to ensure the agents are safe as well. We advise sellers to lock all their valuables away and to ensure that your agent understands your concerns regarding the safety and the security of your property on the day.”

The real estate industry is back in business as from this week, says Mike Greeff, CEO of Greeff Christies International Real Estate.

“However, due to COVID-19, real estate agents have had to make some concessions to ensure the safety of their clients, and themselves. As a result, our agents have been advised to arrange one-on-one viewings, by appointment only, for any buyers who wish to view a property.

"Prior to the viewing, all visitors will be screened and asked the necessary questions and will be asked to sign a declaration upon entering the home. During these viewings, stringent safety measures will be adhered to i.e. wearing a face mask at all times, sanitising regularly, and practicing social distancing.”

While you cannot plan for every eventuality, Hattingh says the following pointers will help to discourage would-be criminals from taking advantage of the situation:

  • If someone stands in for your agent on Show Day, insist on meeting them and explaining arrangements for your home
  • If there is a panic button, ensure that the agent has access to it, along with your private security provider’s emergency number
  • Alert your private security service provider that your home will be on show and ask them to stop by during the afternoon to check that everything is in order
  • Do not leave spare keys for the home (for back, garage or patio doors) hanging on hooks that can be reached
  • Always lock away valuables that can easily fit into a handbag or pocket. Remember that drawers and bathroom cabinets can be opened and rifled through quickly, so remember to check that they do not contain valuable items
  • Put away larger items of equipment that are not instrumental in showing off your home to stop criminals thinking they might have to return later when no one is home
  • Open curtains and blinds or switch on lights in each room to discourage would-be thieves from untoward activity,

There are also precautions for agents or owners who supervise on Show Day:

  • If possible, position yourself where you can see prospective buyers’ vehicles as they arrive and make a note of their registration numbers, the make and model of the car
  • While you are conducting a viewing, do not leave the front entrance of the home open. It is important to check that intercoms, buzzers, and doorbells are in good working order
  • Consider a Show Day where you encourage “by appointment” viewings. This will avoid overlap between groups of visitors, especially given health concerns caused by the pandemic
  • If visitors do arrive while you are talking to someone, encourage them to fill in the visitor’s book or take a look at the garden and outdoor facilities to buy some time
  • Ask your security company if they offer any special mobile panic button service, which you can keep with you when on duty at a show house.
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