The installation of security guards, asking visitors to produce identity documents and to leave any bags at the door are common practice at show houses open for the day to visitors.
An agent should be present on show days, move around and keep their eyes open to ensure that visitors are not left alone too long, therefore preventing the chances of something being taken from the hosue.
However, it is not excessively cautious or paranoid. Nancy Todd, regional sales manager for the Rawson Property Group in the Western Cape says it is necessary because ‘light fingered’ visitors have occasionally helped themselves to small, easily carried items.
In some cases, they have used colleagues to distract the attention of house sitters or agents and have managed to remove fairly big items, such as paintings and garden hoses.
Todd says when agents are aware of the danger they can usually prevent thefts simply by moving around, keeping their eyes open and ensuring that visitors are not left alone too long.
They can also improve matters by controlling the influx of visitors to the home. They should, however, also insist that all valuables be locked away on show house days and some have even asked domestic staff to stay on for the day.
Todd discourages the seller from being in the house on show days because it can cause sensitive visitors to avoid asking questions that might seem insulting to the owner.
This then means that they don't deal with issues that should be discussed and they move on without having the full merits of the property being explained to them.