Protect Your Identity During an Open House

open house identity theft

Open houses are popular marketing tactics for real estate agents. Not only can they help get your home noticed, but they also offer agents a chance to network with other buyers and sellers that might be on the market.

Unfortunately, open houses are also an intrusion. They allow strangers into your home — typically while you’re not there — and invite prying eyes into your personal life and amongst all your belongings. 

If you’re not careful, it could also put you at risk for identity theft.

Is your agent considering an open house to help market your property? Then take these steps to protect yourself (and your family) first:

  1. Secure your Wi-Fi network. Unsecured Wi-Fi networks can put both you and your information at risk. Make sure your network is password-protected, and don’t have your passwords or network keys on display anywhere. If you need to, disconnect your Wi-Fi for the duration of the event.
  2. Disable any smart devices. If you have an Echo or smart home device of some kind, disable it and unplug it until the open house is over. Visitors may be able to use these electronics to tap into your personal data, calendars, and even payment details while in the home.
  3. Lock up your documents. If you have documents, bank statements, contracts, bills, or other pieces of paperwork that have personal information on them, put them in a lockbox or locked filing cabinet. If these safeguards aren’t available, remove them from the house entirely.
  4. Remove photos and identifying decor. Have lots of pictures of your family or children on the walls? Signs with your name or initials on them? Remove them from the home or stow them in the garage until the event is over.
  5. Consider installing a camera or security system. The sight of security alarms, cameras, or even doorbell cameras can help stave off unsavory activity by open house guests — even if they’re not enabled or active. 

Open houses also put you at risk for literal theft, too, so remove your valuables from the home and lock up anything you don’t want touched, opened, or seen by strangers. You also don’t want anything valuable on display that might tempt a thief to come back for later. 

Do you want more help traversing the home sale or purchase process? Get in touch with a loan officer at Embrace Home Loans today. We’re here to guide the way.

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Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.