Things Not to Leave Out at an Open House

Real Estate Agent with Compass 01501912

Are you having an open house this weekend? If you are hosting an open house this weekend, you need to make sure you keep your most precious items safe. That includes your pets. Many homeowners are not aware of the risk of crime at open houses, but inviting people you don't know well into your home, should always be considered a risk. Even your precious Labrador or Havanese may end up being dognapped! There are many items that should never be left out at an open house.

An open house can be very risky for both the homeowner and the real estate agent and there are many drawbacks of an open house. Unscrupulous types do attend open houses. They come to the home to educate themselves about the doors and windows, and they may even unlock them. Additionally, they may be there to educate themselves about the floor plan of the home. There have been incidents when thieves have pretended to be a real estate agent to gain access to a home and steal millions from celebrities.

Why Have an Open House

Often times when a real estate agent has a home listed for sale, they will tell the seller that open houses will increase exposure. The idea is to create "easy access" for potential buyers to view the home. Keep in mind, you are creating instant access for everyone and anyone! Think about it, not only are directional signs utilized, advertised on social media and the front door is open you are inviting everyone in. If the home is sitting on the market, then the homeowner may want to take the risk. It is a risk for the homeowner and for the real estate agent who may be holding the open house alone.

If your home is not selling, then you may consider having an open house, but be sure you have prepared your home and secured your valuables.

Pets and Open Houses

Not only do you risk your favorite furry friends making a run for it, but you also need to bear in mind many people are scared of dogs. Some may even be allergic to your cat. It is always best to make sure pets are out of the way. That gives you a chance to put all over their clutter aways well. A home without the necessary clutter looks a lot tidier, and you don't have to worry about anyone tripping over Fido's water bowl.

All Things that Glitter

Leaving jewelry laying around the home is not something you should be doing. As a matter of fact, it is a good idea to lock the jewelry box away or leave it at a relatives' house for the day. Jewelry along with other easy to sell items are among the first things to go missing. If you have any special antiques such as clocks or anything else that is collectible, make sure that you store them somewhere safe. Having items out that can easily be put in someone's pocket or purse is just an invitation to crime at an open house

Yes, potential buyers may visit your home, but unfortunately not everyone visiting may be interested in buying your home.

Electronic Gadgets

Electronic gadgets are some of the most popular items to go missing during an open house. Like most of us, you are probably used to leaving your laptop, tablet, and cell phone in the kitchen or on the living room table. On a day-to-day basis, we may not attach too much importance to our electronic clutter, but that does not mean someone else will not do so.

It is always best to make sure that all of your electronic devices are put away safely. Putting them in a drawer is not such a good idea. You never know who is going to "sneak a peek" in your cupboards or drawers when you don't have your eyes on them. During an open house, it is impossible to be everywhere and it is better to be safe than sorry.

Put away your phone and computer chargers as well. A thief may easily walk away with that and inconvenience you at the same time. Additionally, a computer charger can be expensive to replace.

Paperwork With Personal Details

There are many different ways to invade a home. One way is to steal your personal details. Getting hold of your personal details often means an unscrupulous person can access many areas of your life. If you are unfortunate, you could notice money disappearing from your bank account, or unexpected credit card charges a few days later. Any documents which list your full name, social security number, past tax returns, credit cards are an identity thief's dream.

If you can't store the information safely in your home, it is best to ask a family member or friend to store important and personal paperwork for you. Or consider getting a safe deposit at a bank during the time you are selling in order to secure your confidential paperwork and jewelry.

What About Firearms?

Should you have any firearms or a gun safe in your home, you should remove them during an open house event. That applies to large gun safes as well as smaller arms cabinets. Your firearms may not go missing during the actual open house, but the risks of open house events include unwanted visitors coming back days later. 

If they have spotted something that they are interested in such as firearms, they will make a mental note and you can potentially find your home being "inspected" by them again. If you have a large gun safe in your garage, consider removing it completely. That is a target for thieves and they may see it, take a photo of it and come back later and take the entire thing!

Your Political and Personal Preferences

You may have a favorite politician who is the best thing since sliced bread and have certain political alliances that you are proud of, but your visitors may not agree with you. Just for the day, it is best not to put your personal preferences on show. Put them away to make sure you don't have to face any tense or awkward discussions.


Before you set up your open house event make sure you are covered by insurance. Most insurance companies are aware of the risks of open house events and they may not form part of a standard contract. Send your insurer an email to make sure that your home insurance includes a clause covering open house events. There are many tips to avoid getting robbed at an open house. Here is another top tip for you. Once the event is over, have a walk around to make sure that you are not missing anything.

Closing Thoughts

An open house could help to sell your home, but, open house days are also popular with less welcome guests.  If your home accumulating days on market and not selling, you may ultimately have an open house. If you do, be sure to secure your home and valuables. In general, real estate agents will make an appointment to view the home. Buyers and their agents prefer the privacy of walking around a home without other people in the home. Find additional information about items never to leave out at an open house and other real estate content.

There are risks of open houses and you want to make sure you have your bases covered. Be prepared and secure your home.

Posted by

Sharon Paxson REALTOR®
Compass /

DRE 01501912












This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Real Estate Best Practices
California Orange County Newport Beach
Active Rain Groups
Local Expert
open house
things not to leave out at open house
items not to leave at open house

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Even family photos. Religious items need to put away if possible.

Jewelery. Coins.

All the best,

Sam Shueh

Dec 06, 2019 11:10 AM #1
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Sharon Paxson - a depersonalized home without an valuables is the way to go here.

Dec 06, 2019 11:26 AM #2
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hi Sharon, nice to see you back here. Good points about open house safety. Safeguarding medicine is another hot issue, and having at least two agents/representatives at every open house is the wise way to go.

Dec 06, 2019 05:40 PM #3
Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc
Benchmark Realty LLc - Nashville, TN

Hi Sharon - All of the things you point out here I tell people to do when we put the house on the market. A lot of homes here will have multiple showings every day for the first week, and if you give some people the opportunity to pick up something while they are looking around, they might do it. Take away any possiblility of it happening. By the way the most common thing stolen here is prescription drugs. Who would have guessed.

Dec 07, 2019 09:34 AM #4
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Sharon Paxson

Newport Beach Real Estate
How May I Assist You With Your Newport Beach Real Estate Needs?
Spam prevention

Additional Information