Helping your clients and potential clients stay safe before, during, and after an open house is paramount. In winter, with rain, snow, wind, and ice, it’s even more important to think through the possible safety issues.
Your local knowledge provides some answersAssuming you’ve lived in the area for several years, you’ve got a good sense of the weather and potential problems. If you happen to be new, check with an old timer – there’s probably at least one in your office. Drive to the property the way most people will drive there. Notice known problem areas. For example, bridges tend to become icy before pavement does, and that can include the almost invisible bridges that drainage pipes make. If there are areas that are prone to flood during a rainstorm, keep that in mind. What about landslides? Or even areas where mud is likely to make the road slick. These are the sorts of observations that can help you decide if you need to cancel when bad weather shows up.
Your homeowner has specific knowledgeSidewalks in front and around the home to be shown need to be looked at with an eye toward winter danger. So do any steps leading into the house. Work with your homeowner who will know if there are particular danger spots. You need not only to know about them but make plans to mitigate them. While rain doesn’t usually pose the same danger that snow and ice can, it can make steps and sidewalks slick, or just plain miserable. Walk the property with the owner and discuss these possibilities. If you find trouble spots solve them or cancel the open house until the weather changes or the problem is addressed. Solutions can include things like: Sand sprinkled over slick spots – just be sure to have a supply ready if open house traffic causes it to scatter.
- Snow should be cleared from walkways and checked often for icing.
- All hazards should be marked with signs warning visitors of potential trouble spots and directing them toward safer passage.
- Mats can provide safer footing in the rain; just make sure they stay in place and don’t get kicked up to become tripping hazards.