Protect yourself and your home during an open house

Q: I’m planning to host an open house. How can I protect myself?

A: A traditional open house is a very popular tool for home sellers, but it’s important to plan for them carefully because it does come with risks. After all, it involves opening your home to complete strangers.

For example, few people think to remove medication and valuables from areas like a washroom where visitors can close the door and not be viewed.

As the owner, it’s up to you to protect your valuables. Take advantage of the resources available — including a registered real estate professional — who can offer you advice and help plan the open house.

Your best approach is to ask your broker or salesperson about what you need to do to prepare, as well as making sure you understand what occurs during an open house. Confirm that your sales representative will be there. Discuss whether someone will limit the number of people allowed into the home during each showing, and whether potential buyers will be escorted during their visit to your home.

Here are some more tips to consider:

 • Remove or safely store small items such as jewellery and MP3 players

 • Keep your bills, credit card receipts and bank statements out of view

 • Remove medications from all rooms in the home including your medicine cabinet

 • Take inventory – and possibly photos – ahead of time so you know quickly if anything is missing

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