House Safety Checklist Every Seller Should Do

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Published: January 7, 2016 Last Updated: March 26, 2024
Stair with toy safety hazard

Sellers may wish to check their home prior to holding an “Open House” or having potential buyers or agents preview their home

In nearly all states there are common laws and statutory laws that require a seller to have a safe house. If there are unsafe conditions then generally sellers are required to correct them or warn visitors or others of the unsafe conditions. Using a “Sellers Open House Safety Checklist” will help discover potential hazards or dangers.

Having a safe house for visitors and avoiding litigation by some one injured is a win – win for everyone.

Check with your listing agent, if one, and seek their recommendations. Should you not wish to do it yourself, then having a general contractor or home inspector review your home and make suggestions would be wise.


Stairs, Steps and Balconies

___   Stair railings: are there any that are loose, damaged or missing?

___   Lighting of stairs: are there any burnt out or missing bulbs?

___   Steps: any loose or damaged steps; if carpeted – is it well secured?

___   Balconies: any loose or damaged railings, balcony floor solid and safe?

___   Basement stairs and steps: check for damaged or loose pieces

Trip Hazards

___   Carpet loose, damaged or wrinkled?

___   Throw rugs that are loose or slip around easily when stepped on?

___   Toys on floor, boxes or other trip hazards?

___   Threshold that are loose, damaged or too high?

Gas Line Not Capped

___   Are there any gas lines that are not capped? In example where a gas dryer was removed or gas stove removed, but the valve was not capped; only shut off? Sometimes there may be an un-capped valve that previously was not observed. If so, adding a cap to these un-capped values is wise. Should a child or cleaning lady accidentally bump one these valves that is not capped and it starts slowly leaking, then a fire or explosion may occur.

Pets dog and cat


___   Pets are like family members, but to some visitors they can be a distraction. Rather than looking at your home, the potential buyers are looking or playing with your pet. Pets can get protective of their territory or scared and react negatively; occasionally biting or nipping  a visitor. They have been known to be playful and innocently trip an elderly person or kid. Cost of the average pet insurance claim

Always let a visitor know if a pet is on the property. It is usually recommended that the pet be caged or put somewhere separate from where the potential buyer will be. Many agents suggest that no pet be present when the home is being shown. Sadly some pets rush out an open door to the street or other areas occasionally.

Guns, Knives, Bow and Arrows, Fish Hooks

___   More homes have guns in them than pets. Sellers often forget about the guns they have in a closet or in a bedside table drawer. Unfortunately kids are very inquisitive and don’t realize the dangers that guns may have if they are loaded.

For safety purpose all guns should be removed, locked up and empty when the house is being shown.

Keep in mind that knives, bow and arrows, fish hooks and other sharp or dangerous items should be safely stored.

Electrical / Fans / Lights

___   Electrical cords across a doorway or floor are trip hazards

___   Exposed wiring sticking out may shock people, if hot or energized

___   Open electrical panels or missing covers on electrical boxes are dangerous

___   Fans too low i.e. where a dining table was removed & now only the low fan

___   Hanging lights too low; table removed, now lights too low and visitors hit their head or face

___   Light bulbs burnt out or missing in areas like stairways, halls, etc

Medicine, drugs and needles

___   Remove or properly secure any syringes, needles, medical devices

___   Remove or properly secure all tablets, medicine packets or medicine bottles

___   Remove any Marijuana (legal or illegal), and any illicit drugs or devices

___   Remove or properly secure all illicit pipes or illicit drug paraphernalia

Pull down ladder

Garage and ladders

___   Garage – check to insure stored or stacked items will not fall on a person or child.

___   Avoid having pull down ladders in the down position so people can climb on them; even if you wish for them to see the space or area that they go too.

Falling and tripping accidents caused by ladders and stools results in injuries to an estimate of 227,769 people.


___   level – no trip hazards; no 2×4 dividers missing or raised up

___   Garden hoses laying across walks, patios and drives (they are trip hazards)

___   Holes dug in the yard where people may be walking around

___   Rebar or sharp objects sticking up anywhere

___   Patio post bases sticking up out of concrete on patio areas

___   hives or nest – any wasp, bee’s etc. flying around

A checklist helps avoid blind spots

Hazards may exist right under our nose and we don’t even realize it. Partially because we are not looking for them or we have gotten used to living with them. Take a few minutes and walk around the home and see if there are any hazards or safety items that you have over looked.

Sellers, agents, and buyers all benefit from a safe house.

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