Hosting an open house is an excellent marketing strategy when it comes to getting your home sold, but it also comes with its own risks. When it comes to real estate, there’s a lot to think about, but many people don’t think of real estate safety! In an open house scenario, you’re opening your home to many people for the first time, and while this can be a wonderful experience, it’s important to go into it wisely and with caution!

Before you list your home, be sure to stay as safe as possible! Here are a few important open house safety tips to consider:

1. Keep the local police department informed.

You don’t need to turn your home into a crime scene, but call the local police department and ask them to have a squad car drive by during your open house hours. They can look out for anything suspicious, and assist with anything if the need arises.

2. Make sure you have cell phone reception.

Before the open house starts, check the strength of your cell phone reception (and verify that you have a signal at all!). Make sure that you have emergency numbers on speed dial, and that your cell phone is fully charged. Bring a spare charging cord with you, and/or consider carrying an extra, fully charged cell phone battery with you as well. You never know when you may need to call for help!

3. Identify escape routes.

Whether there’s a fire or an intruder, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. Familiarize yourself with the home, and consider escape routes in case of an emergency. Consider unlocking all deadbolt locks during the open house to facilitate a faster escape. Something important to also consider is the property itself—if you escape through a backdoor, are you locked into the backyard? Minimizing your risk for being trapped is key.

4. Open the curtains and turn on the lights!

Not only are these great tactics for showing off the home, but they help to make the space visible and more public.

5. Gather information.

As potential buyers begin to arrive, you may consider writing down their car descriptions, license plate numbers, and physical descriptions. This may sound a bit paranoid, but you never know when this information could be useful if a crime occurs. You may be meeting several people each hour, and it can be hard to remember each person who comes through.

6. Always walk behind the prospect.

When you’re showing a house to a potential buyer, do your best to walk behind them; direct them instead of leading them. For example, if you’re showing them the master suite, gesture for them to enter the room instead of walking into it first.

7. Stay in contact with a trusted person.

When you have an open house scheduled, be sure to notify a trusted friend or family member. Let them know that you’ll be calling in every hour on the hour, for example. If you don’t call or respond to a call, have them notify the police immediately.

8. Inform neighbors of the open house.

Neighbors can be an excellent resources when it comes to staying safe during an open house. Let the neighbors know that you’ll be showing the house on a particular day and time, and ask if they could keep an eye out for anything suspicious or out of the ordinary during that time.