Post a sign in the yard and throw open the door. Everyone is welcome, come on in. Not something that any of us would do in the normal course of our lives but when we decide to sell something, caution often gets forgotten. When it comes to selling houses, it can be dangerous to both life and property. Before you decide to go the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route, consider the risks.
When we list a property, we always discuss with the seller the risks of holding an Open in an occupied house (if it is tenant occupied, forget it). There is no way that a Realtor or a seller can be in all places at once. People have been known to target open houses for thefts. One person distracts the agent or owner while the other has a free-for-all. Prescription drugs and jewelry are prime targets and are easily carted off undetected. It is also a good time to scope a property for a future crime.
Even more important is the risk to one’s self. We are trained to follow someone into a room, always being aware of how to retreat from the property. It is easy to get distracted and to stop focusing on your surroundings while discussing the merits of the home. If someone dead bolted the door as they entered the house, would you have an escape route or a cell phone on your person to call for help? Plan ahead if you are opening your doors to strangers!
Consider your ad: Lovely three bedroom, blah, blah, blah. 1234 Smith Lane. Open 1-4. Call Mary at 555-1212. Mary has just invited the world to her open. She may be alone. Not only that. She’s probably willing to show it at anytime to anyone. Think about what you are doing!
While hiring a Realtor cannot eliminate risk we can minimize. The Realtor lockbox tracks every agent that opens the box. If something is wrong, it can often be traced back to the source. The agent has some sort of relationship with their client- it is not John Public walking in off the street.
Besides, Sundays are for playing and looking at homes, not showing people around yours. Let a Realtor do that.