Real Estate Open Houses and Buyers' Safety


Going to open houses or hosting one can be such a fun experience – until someone gets hurt in the middle of the appointment. The question now is: 

Who is held responsible?

A home being sold is, technically, no longer the responsibility of its previous owner. If an injury occurs during an open house, it can be confusing to determine who is actually at fault. Luckily, the answer is fairly simple. If a home is on the market and is in the process of being shown to potential buyers by a realtor, the agent or the real estate company staging the showing is the one responsible for the victim.


Possible Causes and Types of Potential Injury

There are several types of hazards that have the potential to cause an injury in a real estate setting. Here are some examples:

*Slip and Fall Injury – These injuries typically occur when a potential buyer slips and falls due to a slick or wet floor or perhaps an unseen tripping hazard

*Flames (from candles or fireplaces) – Fire may provide a pleasant ambiance but if left without constant supervision, it can also pose a major threat to the home and those within it.

*Animal Bites – If there are animals present inside the home, this can pose a potential risk factor when showing a home. Even the friendliest animals can knock things, or people, over and this can cause unwanted accidents.

*Dislodgement and Falling of Decorations/Shelves – If something were to fall from the wall such as a shelf or a painting, then this can cause injury to surrounding shoppers.

Keep in mind that the accident prepared for is also the accident avoided. Knowing the various types of injury as well as their contributing factors is still the best way to keep both buyers and sellers protected from harm.


Preventative Measures

Fortunately, sellers and buyers can ensure that the home shopping process is safe for all those involved. Here are some ways to avoid injuries:

-Clear the floor. Before showing a home, make sure to remove all hazards (loose floorboards, exposed cords, floor rugs, and hanging nails). Leaks and wet spots should also be fixed to prevent nasty slips.

-Examine the stairs. Falling on stairs is common and it can be very dangerous. Make sure that the stairs are cleared of all debris and advise potential buyers and other home viewers to use the handrails at all times.

-Secure shelves and wall art. Make sure that any items on the walls are fastened securely to the wall.

-Require shoes. It is always a great idea to have viewers wear their shoes at all times. Floors can be slippery due to recent waxing so anyone wearing socks can definitely be more at risk to slipping. Also, if something sharp has fallen onto the floor and left unnoticed, the feet will be protected from any unwanted injury.


If you or someone you know has been injured during an open house, or perhaps you are a realtor who has experienced an injury during an open house, give us a call today at 1.855.905.9222.