Estimated reading time: 17 minutes
Sadly, if it’s not nailed down, it’s a free game for thieves, and they’re always concocting new ways to steal or scam unsuspecting citizens.
Today, I discuss all of the ways that you can protect your property from Open House Theft.
Your Open House Is A Candy Store For Thieves
Open house signs seem to be flooding the real estate market these days, especially during the Spring, Summer, and Fall months when the weather is lovely in our neighborhood.
A successful open house means that you’ve had potential buyers come through, nothing was broken, nobody was injured, and you didn’t get robbed due to available house theft.
Open houses today are met with homeowners and real estate agents being more cautious than they once were because open house theft continues to happen daily.
Do you need an open house?
You don’t need an open house, but if you want one, it’s essential to know what you’re involved in, especially security risks.
What Is An Open House Listing?
Once you’ve established that you want to sell your house, signed all the papers, and met up with your agent at their real estate office, you may consider an open house.
The same rules apply if you are a for sale by owner representing yourself because now you’ve got to do the legwork to ensure you protect your investment.
Generally, an online property listing will have photos of your house inside and out with details about your property.
Often, you’ll find that right away, homeowners will host an open house either themselves or with their real estate agent in charge.
If your agent is on top of things, they will explain the pros and cons of hosting an open house because they know what can go right and wrong.
This gives the homeowner options and the motivation to say yes or no to an open house.
You don’t need an open house to sell your home because the right buyer will come via a private viewing.
An open house is an excellent way for a real estate agent to add new clients to their list of buyers or sellers.
The benefit sits more in the agent’s lap than the homeowner’s.
There are so many homes for sale that if the price is right and the house ticks all the boxes, you might be a buyer.
They won’t buy it without seeing the house unless they are mega-rich and live out of the city or country.
Believe it or not, This happens quite often, but not as often with people who plan to live in a house as a family home.
A viewing means you may have serious buyers rather than a free-for-all open house where anyone can wander in, such as unqualified buyers, wanna-be homeowners, or even nosey neighbors.
Strangers In Your House
Essentially, you open your house so people can look around to see if they feel like they’ve found their forever home, dream home, or good enough for right now home.
Either way, strangers will walk through your property with all your belongings unless you plan to stage your house and store your stuff.
This isn’t always easy, especially if you still live in the home because you need your belongings daily.
If you don’t live in the home, house staging might be a better option, even if it costs a bit.
Some real estate agents offer free house staging when you sign with them to capture new customers.
People like free, significantly if it will help them sell their homes.
I’m sure the last thing on your mind when selling your house is worrying about whether someone will be sneaky and go through your stuff when nobody is watching.
They sure do and will, especially if you are an easy target.
An easy target is someone who leaves valuables out and allows buyers to walk around alone without having an agent, assistant, or yourself nearby.
I don’t find it rude to stay close to potential buyers because if they need to discuss anything, they can do it on the front porch, outback, or in the car when they leave.
It’s unnecessary that the agent needs to hear about what color paint the wall would look better, but if you talk about it, it shouldn’t be a big deal.
Buyers should never discuss money in an open house environment with anyone but their agent or themselves if buying privately.
Easy Open House Theft Plan
There will always be a plan, and the first place to start is with the house listing.
Open house theft will not only be planned out but it will be executed with such grace that you won’t even know something is missing immediately unless you use it or wear it daily.
If they have seen photos of the inside and outside of your house online, they already know where the exits are.
This means they could have someone in the house looking around as a buyer while updating them as something significant is being removed from an exit or window.
Don’t underestimate some of these thieves’ expertise because most experienced thieves do their best to think ahead.
For Sale By Owner Open House
If you plan to sell your house yourself, also known as For Sale By Owner (FSBO) or a private sale, you must go the extra mile to protect yourself.
There is you, and only you, so make sure you have people home with you when you host an open house.
Open house theft may be soaring in the real estate world, but anything is possible when you host strangers in your home.
You must protect yourself because you don’t know if they will harm you, abduct you, kill you, and steal your stuff.
It’s hard to read, but we know how things can go wrong when you invite strangers over to buy and sell something you buy online.
An open house is no different, except you let them into your personal space.
Yesterday, Peel regional police, who average 20 robberies each year from online exchanges, followed measures from Calgary and USA cities.
Now, they offer an exchange zone for buyers and sellers of sites like Kijiji and Craigslist.
This is excellent news that helps protect both parties, but when you sell your house, you won’t have this type of house sale protection, especially if you list your home on Kijiji, which is very popular.
City News got a sneak peek at the location before the official kick off this Sunday, which coincides with crime prevention week.
The area is the first of its kind in the GTA.
Two parking spots at 22 Division, just off of Hurontario Street in Brampton, are designated for exchanges.
The area is well-lit and is monitored by security cameras.
Open Houses Can Get Busy
Selling your real estate online and other media outlets is not enough to sell your house.
Many homeowners host an open house at the request of their real estate agent to drive in potential buyers.
So they say, but ultimately, an open house is more beneficial for the agent, as I mentioned above.
When you can see and touch what you might be motivated to buy, this is what they want. This does make sense, though.
Decisions are hard to make sometimes.
Also, it’s easy for the real estate agent to get to know you and ask questions to find out how invested you might be. In other words, they will be nosey.
They won’t know whether you are there to search the house for something worthy to steal so you can bulk out your bank account.
Even the well-dressed, brilliant talkers are potential thieves; everyone is.
During a busy open house, when the real estate agent can only be with one person or couple, it’s easy for thieves to jump into action and steal whatever they can.
If you think that thieves’ aim is simply cash and jewelry, think again.
Even if you have an open-concept house and think you can keep watch of everything, having a volunteer nearby for yourself or your agent is always essential.
This will deter an open house theft if you introduce the volunteer to visitors who enter the door.
You can opt to say nothing and have your volunteer keep an eye out and help serve appetizers and drinks.
Protection From Open House Theft
Break-ins aren’t necessary these days when would-be robbers only need to show up to your open house and pretend they are interested in buying your home.
You must protect your home and your belongings.
Most open houses are done at the last minute, which leaves the homeowner no time to tidy up and put valuable stuff away.
You must make sure this is always done each day before you leave the house, just in case a call comes from your real estate agent for a viewing while you aren’t home.
Unless you stipulate open house viewings and times for private viewings ahead of time.
How To Protect Your Belongings
Below are ways to protect your stuff during an open house or private viewing to deter available house theft.
- Find a realtor that you trust to work with you. (we had a friend of ours as our agent, and she was terrific.)
- Have neighbors or friends on the lookout outside the property.
- Hang out close to home, watching it all go down if you want to be nosey.
- Ask your realtor to bring an assistant so they are not alone. If you are private selling, make sure to do the same.
- Put all jewelry in a fireproof safe or bank vault, or take it with you.
- Nail down anything valuable or put it away.
- Never leave cash anywhere.
- Take before and after photos of your house inside and out.
- If you have music, don’t keep it too loud, as this can be an easy distraction.
- Make sure the house is well-lit.
- Put all DVDs, CDs, Laptops, Cell Phones, etc. out of sight.
- Have an open house volunteer inside with a realtor or yourself if FSBO.
Prepare For An Open House
Whether it’s ethical or illegal, some homeowners will install a security camera inside and outside the home for theft protection.
You should never install cameras in a washroom, and it may be illegal to install hidden cameras inside your house in the first place.
The homeowner could be outside the house watching you in real-time on their smartphone.
If in doubt, contact your real estate lawyer and find out what you can and cannot do.
Call Your Insurance Company
Talk to your insurance company about open houses and theft to ensure you are covered if something happens.
Ask them what is acceptable or not acceptable regarding home protection.
- What if a potential buyer knocks over one of those ambiance candles you lit to make the room look cozy and inviting and sets your house on fire? Will your insurance cover it?
- What if you leave a plate of food or snacks out, and someone chokes and dies? Can you be sued?
- What if someone injures themselves while viewing your property during an open house?
It’s always good to find out just in case and don’t feel silly asking your insurance company these questions, not your realtor. Remember who pays the bill if there is an insurance claim.
Are Open Houses Worth It?
That depends on how comfortable you are with it, but there’s far more work involved than inviting people into your home to view it especially when open house theft is on the rise.
If the entire idea of an open house worries you then just say no to an open house, and I’m sure your house will still sell.
There’s always a buyer somewhere.
Discussion Question: Have you ever had an open house theft happen to you?
Share your story in the comments below. I’d love to hear about it.
CBB Insider Weekly
This week I managed to get the winter tires on and the brakes done which means we are good to go for another season.
The wife asked me how the winter tire treads looked, and to be honest, even though they are 10 years old they are still in mint condition.
If you take care of your winter tires, they will last you a long time.
We finished all the outside work apart from bringing in a couple of planters that we don’t leave out as they will rust.
I also have to tarp a few bits on the deck to protect them so I bought a tarp at the Dollar Store yesterday.
My last outside job before the snow comes is to see if I can fix a string of lights on the house for Christmas.
I lost a string for some reason so I might have to buy a new set, and I want to make sure it’s up before it’s freezing outside.
I don’t fancy being on the roof in a pile of snow doing this job.
Halloween was on Monday, and our little guy was so excited to go out trick or treating.
He was so excited that he fell asleep on my shoulders as I carried him around at times.
The poor little guy was running around like crazy with excitement he tired himself right out.
He did manage to get a nice-sized bowl of chocolates and chips, though.
The best treats were the pens and pencils he got.
I think there were three of them in his bucket.
Next year I might load up on stickers, dinky cars, and other items from the Dollar Store to give to kids and one treat each.
We only get about 20-30 kids, and I’m sure kids would appreciate something other than just candy.
We got our flu shots done this week, so we are ready for the winter.
Our son didn’t even make noise when he got his needle, which was parenting success and awesome nurses.
That’s all the fun at our house this week.
How was your week?
Published On CBB This Week
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Top Post This Week: How much should my grocery budget be?
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Making A Difference (MAD)
Welcome to the 2016 Making A Difference series! Join the networking movement of Personal Finance Bloggers around the world.
If you are a personal finance blogger and would like your blog to be featured, simply drop me an email.
I’m currently booking for December 2016/January 2017.
Today let’s welcome Mr. Compounding from the personal finance blog, Net Worth Is King.
What’s Up, Mr. CBB and fans?
I appreciate you putting me on your MAD series.
My name is Mr. Compounding, and I’m the founder of the personal finance blog Net Worth Is King.
I’m a 20-something living in Boston MA and working in software development/data analysis.
I grew up never giving much thought to personal finance and used to find it quite dull.
But in my senior year in college, I took an Intro to finance class that changed my entire outlook by teaching me that financial independence was achievable for most people.
After graduation, I became eager to learn more about the subject and started reading books, listening to podcasts, and devouring blogs.
Eventually, I realized that sharing that information with others through my own experiences was one of my callings in life, so I started Net Worth Is King.
I write about the usual topics of saving, investing, retirement, frugal living, and more, with an added personal twist.
Way too often, we think that wealth is unachievable because we focus on the wrong aspects, like consumerism and luxury.
Once we understand that the real path to financial freedom is more boring than that (in a good way), it becomes easier to work on a strategy.
I aim to share a piece of my story with you guys at least once a week.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I’m easy to find.
Reader Budget Brags
If you have a brag that you want to share, email me at email@example.com with a photo and small write-up of your deal.
It can be anything you saved money on that you are excited about.
If your story gets featured, you get two ballots in the yearly draw for a PC Financial Gift Card.
Check out this awesome deal from CBB fan Jen Peacock.
After a few weeks of crappy weather and Ken working 17 nights in a row, I finally got out to some sales today.
I got some amazing deals!
- Brand new in box zero gravity chair $10
- Small loaf pan $.25 (asking was $.50)
- 4 children’s books $.50 (asking was $.50 each)
- New Lego set, Spider-Man echo microphone, minion fart blaster $7 (asking was $12.75)
- 4 t-shirts, Crayola chalk, sheriff badge $2
- Tall storage bin, large Tupperware container, can opener, birthday candles, heel grips, Epsom salts, 2x jewelry cleaner, security envelopes $4!!
Total spent: $23.75
Awesome garage sale deals, as always Jen and I love the chair.
When does the garage sale season officially end?
Spotlight on Finance
I have no desire to fit in.
When I read this quote, It was me all over. I have never cared to be the type of guy who needed to fit in with all the other guys and gals.
I do my thing and don’t waste time trying to keep up with what everyone else is doing.
We can all apply this to many facets of our lives.
If I Were Rich, Where Would I Be? That’s the question asked over at She Picks Up Pennies this week that caught my attention.
Being rich doesn’t necessarily mean that you would want all the stuff in the world.
Sometimes the things you want you can no longer have because they are gone.
An excellent post and a must-read.
“Oh, dear. Bread and beer. If I were rich, I wouldn’t be here.” My grandma used to sing-song this jingle when I was little.
I would eagerly ask her where she would be. She was always quick to lock her fingers in mine and return a reminder that we could go wherever I wanted.
Frugal Recipe Pick
Food is a big part of any budget and a struggle for many, so it has been vital for me to create frugal recipes for my fans.
I have a second Facebook page called The Free Recipe Depot, where I exclusively share recipes from Food Bloggers worldwide.
Check out the Free Recipe Index on CBB, compiled of frugal recipes 100% tested and accepted by family and friends!
This week I stopped by the blog Everything Nice Cinnamon and Spice to find these wildly popular Italian Herb Roasted Potatoes that will wow you.
I’m a huge fan of potatoes, especially oven-baked potatoes and I adore trying new recipes so this one is going on my recipe list of foods to try.
Top DIY Project
I just love these two DIY Chalkboard projects made over at Shanty to Chic, one being a $15 chalkboard tray and the $20 hanging chalkboard.
You have to check this project out for yourself to see how easy it is to assemble.
I’ve worked with chalkboard paint in the past, and it’s super easy and inexpensive if you can find it on sale.
It’s cheaper than buying a pre-made chalkboard, that’s for sure.
Search Term Giggles
Always begin and end your day with a SMILE!- Mr.CBB
Every week, thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they searched online and found my blog.
Most times funny, Sometimes serious.
- Canada Where Do You Put Dog Down?- Is that like.. Siri, Where Do You Put Dog Down? Maybe they meant, Where do you put a dog down in Canada?
- Bodybuilders Grocery Shopping On Welfare– Hmm, That’s a new one.
- Rich People Who Will Loan A Stranger Money– Right, odds of that happening are slim.
- Jealous Of Friends Who Have No Student Debt– Don’t be. You can’t change it, and you’re wasting energy when you could be working to pay off your debt. Move forward, I’m sure they are, too.
- Wife Takes All My Money– So does mine, and I’m fine with my allowance.
That’s all the fun for this week. Thanks for dropping by, and we’ll see you all again next Saturday!
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