Real estate professionals face risks every day, especially from property showings and open houses. And when you’re trying to conduct showings or open houses on rainy days, that adds yet another layer of risk that real estate agents need to be aware of.
What happens if a client accidentally slips on a slippery driveway or a floor inside the property?
Is it safe to expect clients to travel to a property viewing in a storm?
What if there are flooding issues in the property which poses a hazard?
Here are some tips to help you minimize the risks and protect yourself from a lawsuit from a disgruntled client or buyer…
1. Check the Weather Forecast
Keep on top of the weather forecasts. Checking the weather should be one of the first things you do each day. It’s not a guarantee, but it helps to be prepared for any eventuality and to keep yourself, your clients and prospective buyers safe.
2. Get to the Property Early to Check for Hazards
Get to the property extra early to allow time for a hazard inspection. Check around the home for anything that could potentially cause injury or risk to you, your clients or prospective buyers.
- Check driveways and entrance paths, to make sure they aren’t too slippery in the rain
- Check the floors inside for slippery areas
- Make sure there are sufficient mats at entrances
- Check the property for leaks and water damage
- Look for potentially falling branches near the entrance
- If in proximity to water (such as a creek or lake), it’s a good idea to check the water level and ensure you’re not near rising water.
3. Ensure There’s Sufficient Lighting
A well-lit home is more inviting than a dark and gloomy one. If the weather is rainy and it’s overcast outside, lights can help make a property appear bright and warm. Sufficient lighting will also help buyers to see more clearly, which means there’s less chance of slips, trips and falls.
4. Prevent Property Damage By Planning Ahead
Muddy shoes are inevitable in rainy conditions. Real estate professionals should prevent clients from traipsing into the property and spreading mud throughout the home. Have a plan to keep the property free from damage. It’s completely reasonable to request prospective buyers remove their shoes before viewing the home. To make this easier, put out a chair or something to lean on near the entrance, so people can comfortably remove their shoes without losing balance. Shoe covers are also an effective alternative for those that refuse to remove their shoes.
Damp umbrellas carried into the property can potentially cause damage to floors and furniture. If you can, provide an area for umbrella storage. Just add a simple basket at the front of the home to keep all umbrellas together.
4. Give Yourself and Buyers Extra Time
As a real estate agent, you have a busy schedule. But, you should schedule more time than you think you’ll need between property showings and open houses inin rainy weather. You and your clients may take longer in traffic, because driving conditions might not be safe.
5. Consider Rescheduling If Weather Conditions Are Bad
Even with a little bit of rain, serious buyers will show up with their umbrellas in hand. However, if significant rainfall is forecast, you should consider rescheduling the open house or showing. It’s not practical to hold a showing in heavy rainfall or storm conditions. To do so would increase the risk of slips and falls, and increase the possibility of damage to the property’s floors and carpets. It may also present challenges for clients (and you) to commute to the property safely.
You also want to make sure that the property is appealing and presentable. If the weather situation means this isn’t possible, rescheduling is the best choice.
6. Protect Your Business With CRES E&O Insurance
Most E&O policies for real estate professionals don’t cover claims arising from injuries or property damage at open showings (called Contingent Liability). Make sure you have a real estate Errors & Omissions insurance package that specifically includes open houses and showings coverage.
CRES can tailor an insurance package with extensive coverage for specific-to-real-estate needs. CRES E&O Insurance + ClaimPrevent® also gives you access to pre-claim legal advice from qualified attorneys 7 days a week. Contact the friendly team at CRES at 800-880-2747 for a confidential discussion today.