If you are occupying your home during the time your home is for sale, there are a few suggestions that may help you feel comfortable during open houses.
Several years ago, during an open house, a well dressed couple came into the home and immediately separated, going off in opposite directions. Sensing extreme odd behavior, I yelled out "Freeze!" (Sigh...I wasn't as "polished" as I am today)
When they stopped, the gentleman said "Oh I just want to use the bathroom". I said "No, the water has been turned off" (It hadn't) As I walked towards them, they suddenly bolted. When they left, I tried to get the license number from their (Luxury) car, but was unable to.
A week later a couple fitting the same description went into a small real estate office in Burlingame on a Sunday. The woman asked the one Realtor on call in the office to make some copies for her. The Realtor complied, left the front of the office, and the "gentleman" pulled the Realtor's wallet from her purse and took her wallet.
This is clearly the most extreme example, however there are definitely some guidelines to follow if you have an open house.
- Prescriptions medications should be locked away
- Jewelry/art and valuables should also be in an undisclosed location
- Firearms/ammo should not be accessible... ever. (I once opened a master bedroom closet to find an arsenal of hunting rifles)
- Two people should host an open house if it is owner occupied
- Ask families to hold onto their toddlers when they are visiting, I once witnessed a child tying to climb up a staircase from the outside of the banister!
It's always a good thing to have an open house. With the Internet driving the market, most buyers want to preview homes without thier Realtor tagging along. A few precautionary messures are nessasary to make you feel secure.