If you’ve attended an open house recently you may have been asked to sign a guest register and, gasp, to show some ID. While it is a very common practice in the industry for a variety of reasons the stories of stolen identities and privacy laws do get people’s backs up. So what’s the deal? The reasons that one may be asked to sign the registry and show ID are varied so I’ll attempt to explain them here.
Visitors will be told or a sign will be displayed explaining that for security reasons a guest register will need to be signed and ID shown as requested by the Seller. If you put yourself in the Seller’s position you might empathize with them as to why they would want this. Perhaps there are valuables in the house and if something goes missing there will be a record of who was in the house. The fact of the matter is that if this were to happen there is little to no chance of these items being recovered, plain and simple. A better option is to have all valuables out of sight and I don’t mean in your underwear drawer. I mean off the property or locked up in a safe. Also, if your Realtor knows what he’s doing he’ll be able to control the foot traffic somewhat and have people wait outside if it’s getting too busy. Don’t worry about scaring off Buyers by making them wait 5 minutes. If they seriously want the house they’ll wait. I work for the Seller so if he wants ID to be shown then it is my duty to ask for it. I’ll just explain to them the pros and cons of both options and the methods conducive to selling a house.
Another reason, and my fellow Realtors may hate me for this but it is what it is, is that the Realtor holding the open house is trying to find clients. But here’s the thing, everyone has the right to make a living and I don’t think there is anything wrong with this. If the Realtor does this correctly there will be questions on the sign-in sheet that will indicate the persons level of interest and whether they need help in their home search. Where my fellow Realtors go wrong is when they desperately chase after clients who don’t want their help or are already working with another Realtor. If the client coming in signs the guest register as “Mr. T” they obviously don’t want you to call them (unless it is actually MR. T). For open house guests, if you don’t want to be contacted and there is no spot to indicate “Do Not Call” then write it in. If the Realtor calls you anyway report them to their Brokerage as we don’t need Realtors like this in the industry. The point I want to make is that people who don’t want help should not be called and that point should be made clear on the sign-in sheet. A way to avoid this entirely for Buyers is to use the services of a Realtor. When attending an open house with a Realtor you will not need to sign in (usually) and they will be able to help point out issues with the house you might not see, thereby reducing the need for another visit.
While it is the open house visitor’s right not to sign in or produce ID to show the Realtor it is also the Seller’s right not to allow someone into their house who does not want to sign the guest register. A few simple steps taken by the Seller’s Realtor and the visitor can go a long way in making the process easier for everyone involved.