The reality, when putting a home on the market, is that the sellers are inviting people in to view it, whether allowing the agent to hold show days or one on one viewings with the estate agent, the seller has to assume some responsibility for ensuring that all the valuables in the home are either locked away or removed from the property altogether, says Lanice Steward, managing director of Knight Frank Residential SA.
This applies particularly, but not exclusively to show days, she said.
“No agent can be held responsible for the contents of a home. While they will obviously exercise all due diligence and keep an eye on potential buyers and visitors to the home, frequently families do split up while viewing a house and it is impossible for the agent to follow everybody,” said Steward.
An agent has a responsibility of care to walk through a property on a show day and double check that the seller has put away all valuables, and frequently will find laptops, phones, iPods, or even jewellery which have been forgotten in the rush to vacate the house for a viewing or show day, she said. Sometimes people are a little more lax when they are in the home while buyers are visiting the property and leave items lying around because they might feel no one will take anything if they are there, but the reality is that little items are a temptation and it is better to be safe, than sorry, said Steward.
“Having said this, the purchase of a property is an emotional decision and it sometime takes multiple viewings before the property is purchased. Statistically, 85% of buyers are generated from show days as it is a time when people can view the property in a relaxed manner, with busy husbands and wives being able to view the home together, and these days should not be excluded as a tool for selling a home,” said Steward. “Instead of avoiding a show day, rather do all that is possible to reduce the risk of items going missing and reduce the temptation by locking items of value away.”