Criminals are using show days as a means to gain entry into homes to steal valuables or inspect the property to plan a future break-in. Pic: Supplied

If you’re selling your property, chances are your estate agent has advised you the best way to ensure a successful sale is by hosting a show day. 

While a show day may attract serious buyers into your home, it also can make it a target for criminals. Knowing how to take precautions and protect your home and valuables from robbery and petty theft is one way to ensure a happy result for both agent and homeowner.

Criminals are using show days as a means to gain entry into homes to steal valuables or inspect the property to plan a future break-in.

Unfortunately, this is not a new trend and many estate agents will arrive to host show days with their own security guard in tow, to ensure both their own safety and protect the house against theft.

These tips can ensure that your belongings are protected:

  • Ask if the agent will be providing a security guard and request their advice on how to protect your property on the day.
  • If someone else is hosting the show day on the agent’s behalf, ensure you have met them beforehand.
  • Inform your neighbour that your home is going on show and if you are not able to be there when the show day winds down, enlist their help to make sure everything is locked up correctly.
  • Create an inventory of all valuable goods that will be left in the house. This gives you a concrete list to check against and see that everything is as it should be.
  • Do not leave your valuables lying around. 
  • Smaller items such as jewellery, décor pieces and even prescription medicine should be locked away – ideally in a safe; while larger items such as laptops or artworks should be taken off the property.
  • Identity theft is another concern and items such as identity books, drivers licences, vehicle registration papers and passports should also be locked away.
  • Ask your agent to walk around the property to familiarise themselves with the layout and entrances, so that they are able to keep an eye out for any problem areas.
  • Ensure that windows and side doors secured.
  • If there is only one point of entrance, the agent is better able to keep track of who is coming in and out.
  • Remove spare keys and do not leave in any keys in the doors, as these can easily be stolen or copied to gain access to the house at a later stage.
  • Ensure cupboards and drawers are locked.
  • Provide the agent with access to a panic button or ensure that they have downloaded the Namola safety app. 
  • Instinct is often the best form of protection – be clear with the agent that if something doesn’t feel right, they should lock up the house and ask viewers to leave.

According to Maanda Tshifularo, Head of Dialdirect Insurance an additional factor to consider is the safety of the viewers whilst on the property.

 “It’s a good idea to take your dogs out with you for the day, simply to ensure that they do not become nervous with so many new people in the house; take care of any loose floor boards, secure rugs and carpets with non-slip material underneath and ensure that all areas are well lit to prevent accidents and liability".