When a homeowner puts their house on the market, they should get a stern warning from their REALTOR - protect your valuables, keep all your doors and windows locked at all times. This, of course, applies to the agents who hold an open house. When the many visitors come through they'll open all sorts of doors, cabinets, etc while they poke around investigating the home. Some visitors are not all they seem. Some of the folks that visit an open house are there for another purpose altogether.
An example of what I'm talking about actually happened at an open house yesterday. I held open a nice 2-story luxury home in Los Altos that also has a basement. The house has four patio doors on the lower level, the front door, a door in the basement for emergency access, and doors on two upstairs patios. When I opened the house, I opened NONE of the patio doors. The only open door was the front door. I also didn't open any windows but instead opted to keep the AC running. I had a total of 8 groups visiting and one was accompanied by a well-know local REALTOR and another guest was a nationally known celebrity. That means I had 6 others who are suspects in what I consider the biggest threat to an open house - UNLOCKED DOOR SYNDROME.
Thieves like to come through open houses and unlock doors so they can come back later and pilfer whatever they want. When I went back through the house to close up, EVERY DOOR WAS UNLOCKED! There was no reason why anyone would open every door in the house. So, I had someone there who was setting the house up to be burgled.
My advice to agents and home sellers is:
- Check every window and door when locking up and leaving, especially after an open house
- Don't assume that a door is locked just because it was when you arrived
- Check windows too and ensure that each latch is locked
- Pay attention to who visits your open house and make sure you don't leave valuables out
As agents, we're a line of defense for our clients to protect their home. Pay attention and stay on top of what's happening in your open house.