While 90 percent of homebuyers search online during their home-buying process,* nothing replaces the experience of an open house or a showing. Selling the home is the ultimate goal, but your own safety should be your primary focus when meeting with these potential buyers. Below are six ways to stay safe when showing your listings.
Familiarize yourself with the exits
Prior to your open house, take a few minutes to learn where the exits are and unlock the deadbolts, in case you encounter a situation that requires a quick exit. Create a create a virtual floor plan of the house using an app like Home Design 3D (iOS, free). Mark all entries and exits throughout the house so you can quickly exit if necessary.
Keep in contact with your office
Give your office your itinerary, and schedule check-in calls with a co-worker or family member. If you aren’t available to speak at the scheduled time, send your safety contact a text message with a pre-determined word or phrase, so they know you’re occupied.
Keep your phone charged and close by
Before your open house, charge your phone fully and keep it on hand when you’re giving tours throughout the house. If your phone battery drains quickly, invest in a portable charge case or charging pad like one from Mophie to ensure you have full power throughout the day.
Be diligent with signing in prospects
Collecting prospects’ contact information is not only a great follow-up technique, but a smart way to record attendees if anything goes wrong during an open house. Use an open house management app like the Open Home Pro™ app (iPad/Android, Free) to ensure visitors enter their name and contact information upon entering.
Trust your instincts
Stay safe when meeting potential buyers with the bSafe app (iOS/Android, Free). If you feel threatened or unsafe, tap the “Alarm” button and the app will send your GPS location to predetermined contacts in your address book via text message. If your intuition tells you that something about a prospect or situation is not right, you are probably correct. Take the necessary steps to make sure you are safe, even if that means calling 911.
Keep a digital watch
During a busy open house, it can be difficult to keep an eye on everyone who passes through. Ensure your safety, and help keep your seller’s valuables secure by using a wireless security camera like Canary. It syncs automatically through WiFi and you can watch real-time footage directly from your smartphone. It also has a safety-net feature, so you can set a co-worker or family member to be a back-up if you can’t respond to a safety notification.
*According to The Digital House Hunt: Consumer and Market Trends in Real Estate, A Joint Study from The National Association of Realtors® and Google
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.