Why open houses are discouraged by agents

By Gerv Tacadena

Theft cases during open houses are becoming rampant

Real estate agents are discouraging home sellers from conducting open houses as cases of petty theft run rampant.

Next Address CEO and founder Julie O'Donohue told news.com.au that open houses tend to attract malicious people who would take personal things from the homeowners.

“It’s personal stuff that is being taken and people may not notice them missing for a few weeks, but it is definitely happening," she said.

O'Donohue said should the vendors desperately want to have an open house, they need to ensure that there are at least two people there from the agency, and that everyone who enters must be pre-registered.

“That is vital and non-negotiable — you have to show something that says this is who I am and this is where I live — our view is you have to provide your driver’s license and we write down the number or take a photo of it," she said.

LJ Hooker Willoughby principal John McManus shared the same sentiment, noting that thieves often take items which are not easily missed like toys, perfume, shoes, and other small items.

McManus recommended sellers chat with their insurers about any additional coverage necessary when conducting open houses.

“I always mention to my vendors to get the insurance company to cover them for the weeks of the campaign just in case something happens, as in someone falls or if something goes missing, then your covered,” he explained, "I make sure my clients are protected as best we can, then the insurance covers the rest if anything happens."

McManus also suggested following these tips to ensure the safety of open houses:

  • Securing all valuables including small electronic devices inside a locked cabinet or drawer.
  • Removing any item with personal information such as bills, mail, documents.
  • Taking pictures of all rooms before conducting open houses to help spot missing items or if the room is altered.

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