Pro­tect­ing your valu­ables dur­ing an open house

The Hamilton Spectator - - REAL ESTATE -

Hold­ing an open house is a great way to in­crease ex­po­sure of your prop­erty to po­ten­tial buy­ers, but there al­ways is the un­for­tu­nate real­ity that thefts can oc­cur.

So, what can you do to pro­tect your­self?

The first step is to cre­ate an ac­tion plan with your reg­is­tered bro­ker or real es­tate agent to make sure you are both clear on your re­spon­si­bil­i­ties be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter each open house.

As a home­owner, re­move all valu­ables or lock them care­fully away be­fore each open house. Re­mem­ber spare keys too!

In these times of iden­tify theft, valu­ables in­clude any per­sonal iden­ti­fy­ing in­for­ma­tion, such as util­ity bills, re­ceipts, even mag­a­zines. Re­move, un­plug, and/or pass­word pro­tect any elec­tronic de­vices with per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, such as smart­phones and lap­tops, etc.

These de­vices are both tar­gets for thieves and sources of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion.

You may even wish to take down any cal­en­dars as po­ten­tial thieves can eas­ily see when you plan to be away, for ex­am­ple, “Jes­sica’s soc­cer game 4 to 7pm, Satur­day.”

Also, re­move any per­sonal pho­tos of your im­me­di­ate fam­ily.

Find out from your real es­tate rep­re­sen­ta­tive how they will be keep­ing track of who has en­tered the prop­erty. A would-be thief could be de­terred if they know their iden­tity has been logged, and know­ing who at­tended the open house is cru­cial if any­thing goes miss­ing and you need to file a po­lice re­port.

Com­mu­ni­cate with your real es­tate agent about lock­ing up af­ter the open house. Real es­tate agents take their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties se­ri­ously and are dili­gent about en­sur­ing your home is in the con­di­tion you left it, in­clud­ing lights turned off and doors locked.

All en­try points should be dou­blechecked again when you return to your home.

With a clean and com­pre­hen­sive ac­tion plan in place for pro­tect­ing your home and valu­ables, your open house is sure to be a suc­cess. (RMM)

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