Holding a Safe Open House

Safety during open houses is a concern for all real estate agents and their teams. Use these tips to stay safe:

  1. Always try to have at least one other person working with you at the open house.
  2. Have all open house visitors sign in with their full name, address, phone number and e-mail.
  3. Upon entering a house for the first time, check all rooms and determine several “escape” routes. Make sure all deadbolt locks are unlocked to facilitate a faster escape.
  4. Make sure that if you were to escape by the back door, you could escape from the backyard. Yards with swimming pools or hot tubs often have high fences.
  5. Check your cell phone’s signal strength on the premises before the open house. Add emergency numbers to your phone’s contact list.
  6. When showing the house, always walk behind the prospect. Direct them; don’t lead them. Say, for example, “The kitchen is on your left,” and gesture for them to go ahead of you.
  7. Avoid attics, basements, and getting trapped in small rooms.
  8. Notify someone in your office, a friend or a relative that you will be calling in every hour on the hour. And if you don’t call, they are to call you.
  9. Don’t assume that everyone has left at the end of an open house. Check all rooms and the backyard before locking the doors. Be prepared to defend yourself, if necessary.
Sources: Washington Real Estate Safety Council; City of Mesa, Arizona; Nevada County Board of REALTORS®; Georgia Real Estate Commission

Showing Empty Properties

Take these smart steps to protect and empower yourself against attack or theft.

  1. Be sure to use the lockbox property–key procedure that has been established to improve real estate agent safety so that keys don’t fall into the wrong hands.
  2. Show properties before dark. If you must show a property after dark, alert or bring along an associate, turn on all lights as you go through, and don’t lower any shades or draw curtains or blinds.
  3. Check in with someone on your team once an hour to let people know where you are.
  4. Prepare a scenario so that you can leave, or to encourage someone who makes you uncomfortable to leave. Examples: Your cell phone went off and you have to call your office; you left some important information in your car; another agent with buyers is on his way.
Sources: Louisiana REALTORS® Association; Washington Real Estate Safety Council; City of Albuquerque, NM; Nevada County Association of REALTORS®; City of Mesa, AZ
  1. When showing a property, always leave the front door unlocked for a quick exit while you and the client are inside. As you enter each room, stand near the door.
  2. Lock your purse in the car trunk before you arrive. Carry only non-valuable business items (except for your cell phone), and do not wear expensive jewelry or watches, or appear to be carrying large sums of money
  3. Park at the curb in front of the property rather than in the driveway. It is much easier to escape in your vehicle if you don’t have to back out of a driveway. And while parked in a driveway another vehicle could purposefully or accidentally trap you.

Additional Resources

For more personal safety information, tools and resources please visit:


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