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For many, the open house is a make-or-break event for marketing a home. The mix of people stopping by can lead to an offer or a quality referral. With the directionals pointing your way, the balloons bumping off the sign posts, and the house looking its best, a successful open house creates a network of awareness around your listing.

A lot of cleaning and preparation goes into an open house, and it can be easy to forget some crucial elements which might impact the safety of the event or even make the difference between an offer or no interest. Before the doors open, be absolutely sure you’ve secured the following items in a safe, alternate location:

1. Drugs. No, we’re not (necessarily) talking about the sort of stuff you’d see on Law & Order. We’re talking about prescription drugs. Remember that strangers are going to visit your home, and while we like to think they’re all interested buyers, there’s always the possibility that someone will comb through your medicine cabinet. Pain pills and ADD/ADHD drugs are common targets.

2. Guns. Have a weapon in your home? Is it locked in a safe, or stashed under the bed? The last thing you want to grow a pair of feet and walk out the door is a home defense weapon. Don’t assume your weapon is well-hidden. It they’re not absolutely inaccessible and secure, they need to be stored off the premises.

3. Heirlooms & valuables. Don’t tempt the weak. Gather up the family jewels and store them securely elsewhere. Don’t assume that putting them in a jewelry box will keep prying eyes away. Same goes for highly portable antiques.The expectation of privacy can get a little murky when people are opening up closet doors and the like.

4. Animals. Okay, so you don’t keep a wild cougar in your living room, but what about the family dog? A friendly cat? There’s no such thing as an open-house-friendly pet, especially where allergies and personal preferences are concerned. (And don’t even get me started about snakes.)

5. Political material. You can be as Tea Party or as Socialist as you want to be, but does that mean your buyer has to be, too? Don’t eliminate half of your buyers off the bat with polarizing political messaging. (Double-check the fridge for those funny bits like-minded folks appreciate… they could send your offer right out the front door.)

When it comes to open houses, we like to make sure they go off without a hitch for you. If you’re listing soon, get in touch so we can chat about selling your home fast!: Kevin and Jennifer Hanley http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside

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