Safety Tips For Open House

Open House Safety

We all love open houses. Open house events have many virtues, but what you may not know is that they also come with some risk.

Open houses offer the perfect chance for buyers to start looking for a new home and getting a feel for what’s available. Open houses help sellers gain exposure for their property in the marketplace ASAP. And they are an opportunity for buyers and sellers to meet Realtors they may want to work with for their next move.

But there is a risk. While promoting the property and the open house event, Realtors are also promoting the fact that they will be alone in a house at a specific address, date and time. This leaves an opportunity for people who may have ulterior motives. Some people visit open houses with the intent of theft of valuables or prescription medications. Others may have assault in mind.

Open House Safety

There are educational programs for Realtors to help them prevent potential dangers and know what to do if the unthinkable were to happen. Some of the information pertains only to the person hosting the event, but there are important open house safety tips that guests and neighborhood residents should be aware of.

Most of us would agree that it’s important for everyone to contribute to a safe neighborhood. Open houses are an integral part of neighborhood activities. So we all need to take watch, especially during these community events. Please keep the following safety tips from the police in mind.

  1. First and foremost is to be aware of your surroundings. As a neighbor, you may see open house signs quite often. Try to be aware of the activity during the open house near you. Does it seem typical?
  2. Does anything seem “not normal”? If something stands out to you as out of the ordinary, take notice. Are there too many people in that car? Did the car park much further away from the open house than needed? Does something seem odd? Not normal?
  3. Trust your gut. Whether you are participating in an open house event or are a neighbor observing from across the street, if something just doesn’t feel right, it most likely is not. If you assume wrong and err on the side of cautiousness, no harm is done, right?
  4. Take action. It’s best to park on the street when you attend an open house if possible so that you won’t be blocked in. If you are in an open house and don’t feel safe, try to exit right away. Go outside, call 911 and immediately provide the address. If you are a neighbor and notice that something is not right, call 911, or if you feel it is not urgent, call the police and ask them to drive by. And last, but not least, if you see a frightened Realtor heading toward your house, please let them in!

We can all work together to keep our neighborhoods and our open houses safe and enjoyable.

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Advice For First-Time Buyers

Guide Neighborhood New Home

When it comes to first-time homebuyers, expert advice is just what’s needed to help you with the step-by-step process to buying a home. Therefore, I have a quick step-by-step guide for what you should expect during the home buying process. You’ll find everything from finding the right realtor, to getting pre-approved to the closing and all that in between.

First-time homebuyers guide:

Step 1 – Find the right realtor for your home buying needs. Don’t settle for just any real estate agent, you need an expert with at least five years of real estate experience to help you search for the home that will be perfect for you and your family. Find an agent that is willing to listen to all your needs, one that will communicate well and one that has references.

Step 2 – Get pre-approved for the loan needed to buy a home. Prequalification is okay but it’s not the same as preapproval for a loan. If you are able to get preapproved for a loan, you have a better footing when you start the home buying process. Start with your own bank to see if they offer mortgages, then branch out from there. Don’t waste your time on Internet sites where you will get tons of calls from lenders around the nation who really can’t help you any better than a local mortgage company.

Step 3 – Talk to your realtor or mortgage company about special programs for first-time buyers like down payment assistance, closing cost discounts, interest rate discounts and more. You can also ask about HUD, FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Step 4 – Once you find the home you are interested in and want to place an offer on, get an inspection on the property. The seller may have their own inspection done, but get one for yourself to see how they compare. If it’s a new construction, several inspections may be needed.

Step 5 – Meet the neighbors to see if these are the people you won’t mind living near. You can also get a better idea about a neighborhood just by asking the neighbors what they like and dislike about the area. Also, try visiting the home at different times of the day and week. You can also visit the local police station where they will be happy to let you know if the area you are looking at is a problem area.

Step 6 – Visit schools, parks, local shopping, churches and more to see what’s nearby that will be convenient for you once you’re settled into the new home. Check your commute time too. Once you do this, ask yourself if this is where you can see yourself for an extended period of time.

Step 7 – Schedule your closing where you will put your down payments, purchase homeowners insurance, pay closing costs, setup escrow and so much more. Your realtor should be able to help you with the whole closing process.

Step 8 – Move in and enjoy your new home.

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