Tips for holding a safe and productive open house

It's spring and the open house signs are blooming!

Holding an open house can be a great sales tool—but hosting one also exposes you to numerous unfamiliar people for the first time.

Take these steps to stay safe:
  1. If possible, always try to have at least one other person working with you at the open house. Exemples: Mortgage broker/lender, your significant other, friend, associate from your office, etc.
  2. Check your cell phone’s strength and signal prior to the open house. Have emergency numbers programmed on speed dial. Keep your cell phone in your hand at all times.
  3. Upon entering a house for the first time, check all rooms and determine several “escape” routes. Make sure all deadbolt locks are unlocked to facilitate a faster escape.
  4. 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.
  5. Have all open house visitors sign in. Ask for full name, address, phone number and email. Consider taking a picture of their ID.
  6. 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. Do not let visitors get both in front and behind you. 
  7. Avoid attics, basements, and getting trapped in small rooms.
  8. Notify someone in your office, your answering service, 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 call you.
  9. 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.
  10. Don’t assume that everyone has left the premises at the end of an open house. Check all of the rooms and the backyard prior to locking the doors. Be prepared to defend yourself, if necessary.
  11. Make sure the seller has locked up valuables like money, jewelery, small collectable items and medication.
For more tips, watch this new GAAR Open House Safety Video and share with your colleagues.


If you see any suspicious activity or are a victim of a crime, file a police report no matter how minor you think the incident is. After contacting with the police, report the incident to the Association so we can keep Realtors® informed and on the lookout.

Visit NAR’s REALTOR® Safety website at

This article is part of the National Association of REALTORS®’ REALTOR® Safety Resources Kit.