Ensuring that adequate security measures are in place while you are showing a property is essential to minimise potential thefts
1. APPOINT A SECURITY GUARD
It’s not unheard of for people posing as prospective buyers to steal items from a property on show. I believe that the responsibility should fall on the estate agency to secure show houses and avoid items being stolen from the property.
Homeowners, after all, are limited when it comes to preventative measures while the home is in the agent’s care. One option is to hire a security guard for the duration of the open house – the cost varies from R300 to R500 a day.
2. HOST EACH SHOW HOUSE WITH ANOTHER AGENT
From a security perspective, two sets of eyes can be more efficient than one. Both agents should accompany visitors around the house to limit the risk of theft.
3. CARRY A PANIC BUTTON
Agents can ask their clients to inform their security company if they are hosting a show house. They can let the company know that they have access to a panic button in case of problems during viewing hours. Panic buttons are unobtrusive, can be hidden easily in the palm of your hand and can be activated swiftly, alerting the security company to any security threats. The control room has the house’s co-ordinates and location, and can contact the relevant authorities for assistance.
4. KEEP THE GATES AND DOORS LOCKED UNTIL PEOPLE REQUEST ACCESS
While this may be a logical part of everyday home security, it comes across as unwelcoming to have the doors and gates locked when inviting potential home buyers to view the property.
It is, however, the first defence in security, forcing people to ask to be invited into a home. It also means the agent has information about whether visitors are arriving by foot (and perhaps ambling around the neighbourhood looking for opportunities) or by vehicle. The latter does not preclude criminal intent, however, especially if their attitude and behaviour appears suspicious.
5. ASK OWNERS TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR POSSESSIONS
In modern society where crime is a common occurrence, it is unrealistic for homeowners to leave laptops, jewellery and valuables lying around when strangers are traipsing through their premises. Protect yourself as an agent by ensuring owners have hidden away their valuables and other small items.
Anthony Feuilherade is the MD of Enforce Security Services, the largest privately owned and managed security company.
Words Anthony Feuilherade