Safekeeping Valuables in Show Houses

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16 Nov 2012

An estate agent cannot be expected to keep valuable possessions safe so homeowners are advised to lock up their cellphones, laptops, rings and anything else that's of value.

Even in today’s high tech world, show houses do still sell homes more effectively than any other method.

This is according to Lanice Steward, managing director of Knight Frank Anne Porter, who says homeowners who opt for a show house need to be cognisant of the fact that they are opening their homes to strangers and as such, there are a few things that need to be done before they hand over their keys to their estate agent. 

Steward shares some tips...

Lock away anything that is precious and valuable.  According to Steward there have been many cases where rings have been left on the dressing table or in the bathroom. She says agent cannot be expected to keep these safe.  

"This also applies to cameras, cell phones, tablets, iPads, iPods or MP3 players, silverware, chargers for the small appliances etc."

If you have a remote panic button, the agent should ask the owner to use it for the afternoon and the owner should make this available to his agent, she says.

Sometimes it is necessary for two agents to be present.  

Steward says this is particularly necessary when the home on show is larger than average or the layout is not conducive to being able to see or hear what is going on in other rooms. 

Most importantly, she says, the seller cannot transfer the responsibility of the contents of his home to the estate agent.  

While every care will be taken to look after the home and its contents, an agent is not in a position to indemnify the occupant of the property against loss.  

“It stands to reason that unless an owner or his tenant were in a position to give a detailed inventory, written and photographic, of all contents in the house, that a system granting indemnity would be open for abuse.”  

Anyone putting their house on show should check that anything of value is insured adequately in case something should go wrong, she says.  

It might cost a little extra for an ‘all risks’ cover but it would be better to go this route than to worry about what should happen if an item is stolen.    

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