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.
You can do this yourself or have a professional do it.
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 to review your home and make suggestions may be wise.
OPEN HOUSE SAFETY CHECKLIST
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
___ 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 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
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
We Don’t Even Realize We May Have A Few Safety Issues Until We Look Around
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.