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Open House No-No's

Gloria Smith

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Knock Knock Under normal circumstances, you wouldn’t let just anyone enter your house, right? If a couple knocked on your door one morning and asked for a grand tour of your home, you would’ve slammed the door and called the police. When you’re selling your home, you do exactly the opposite. You graciously welcome strangers and show them around the premises.

What do I do? If you’ve asked a real estate agent to help you out, then you don’t have to worry about a thing during the open house. But if you’ve opted against getting a realtor, then everything would be on your shoulders. Don’t panic! It’s not very difficult. Just think of it as a small party: you tidy the place up (and lock the dog so he won’t jump on your guests), put some fresh flowers in nice vases, prepare a pot of coffee, put some cookies (and table napkins) out on a tray, and have information leaflets / brochures stacked in strategic places. Now all you have to do is to wait for people to come.

And this is the … One thing you mustn’t do when conducting an Open House is to transform yourself into a tour guide. You don’t have to walk your guests through every room in the house and opening doors and cupboards for them. Just greet them at the door, show them in and tell them that to just call you if they need anything. Let the buyers go around the house at their own pace and at their own leisure. They would feel more comfortable and your absence would give them the privacy to discuss the pros (and cons) of your house freely.

Yes, the house has an alarm system and the code is … Since you are showing your house off to potential buyers, you should be as upfront as possible. One of the questions usually brought up is about security. You can tell your guests that you have a security system but, unless you have turned over the property to them, do not give out the password or deactivation code. If you have safety deposit boxes in your property, don’t show them where these are (just yet) and don’t tell them the unlocking combination. During open house events, you really don’t know who these guests are. Although most are serious buyers, there may be unscrupulous individuals who are taking this opportunity to “case a joint".

Silly me! I left my bracelet on the nightstand! Before you open your house to strangers, make sure that all your valuables (jewellery and nostalgic little memorabilia) are tucked safely away from sight. Do this not just to make your place a little less personal, do this to prevent theft. If possible place your jewellery a container and have your kids bring it to grandma’s. As for the mementos, put them in a box and stow them away in the trunk of your car. Don’t leave little knick-knacks lying about. These small items are easy to palm and pocket.

If you keep these safety precautions in mind, you can rest assured that your home and your family will still be safe, during and even after your open house.

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