Real NEastate: What should I do for an open house?

Q: I am selling my home in Fox Chase without the help of a real estate agent. I am planning an open house so I have placed an ad in the newspaper. Do you have any other tips for me?

A: Open houses can be a great way to expose your home to the general public. Some people who come to your event may be looking for a home and some may just be nosey.

One thing you have to keep in mind when selling your home is your safety. An open house, or even just showing your home to someone who called your sign, exposes you to numerous unfamiliar people for the first time. Stay safe by practicing these guidelines.


  • Call the local police department and ask them to have a squad car drive by during your open-house hours if possible.
  • Check your cell phone’s strength and signal prior to the open house. Have emergency numbers programmed on speed dial. Carry an extra, fully charged cell phone battery.
  • Determine several “escape” routes that you can use in case of an emergency. Make sure all deadbolt locks are unlocked to facilitate a faster escape.
  • Turn on the lights and open the curtains. These are not only sound safety procedures, but also great marketing tactics.
  • Make sure that if you were to escape by the back door, you could escape from the backyard. Frequently, high fences surround yards that contain swimming pools or hot tubs.
  • When prospective buyers begin to arrive, jot down their car descriptions, license numbers and physical descriptions.
  • 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.
  • Notify 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 notify the police immediately.
  • Inform a neighbor that you will be showing the house and ask if he or she would keep an eye and ear open for anything out of the ordinary. Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on See others here. Read other NEast Philly columns here.

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