What’s the risk of open homes?
An open house inspection is the perfect opportunity for a thief to case your home, and ask the real estate agent about the finer details of the floorplan or security system. It’s an unnecessary risk. Remember: when your home is open for inspection – so are your valuables.
A case study
It’s true that an open house inspection can put you, your home and your belongings at risk. One famous case is that of Australian radio presenter Derryn Hinch, who had $50,000 worth of valuables stolen from his Melbourne home after thieves were able to familiarise themselves with the property thanks to an open house inspection.
Your insurance doesn’t cover an open house inspection
Your home and contents insurance does not cover you for damage caused by invited guests, and those who wander your home during an open house inspection are classed as guests in the eyes of your insurer. So, if something is stolen, you won’t be covered.
The only way you can negate this risk is to ensure every person that enters the house is indeed a buyer, not a burglar, which is impossible to do - particularly if you have an ‘Open for Inspection’ sign placed outside your house, inviting anyone inside.
Reduce the risk
So, the next time your agent suggests hosting an open home, thoroughly consider whether you believe it will be worth it. Should you decide to host an open inspection, remember to:
- Hide all valuables and paperwork with personal or sensitive information
- Be present for the entire inspection
- Ask for additional staff from the real estate agency if your property is large, to ensure there are eyes on all parts of the home
- Ensure your agent gets names and checks identification for all people who enter, and ban large bags from entering
- Afterwards, check that all windows and doors are still locked