Two real estate agents were killed in separate incidents in Ohio in the past two weeks.
“Police have confirmed the suspects in this week’s murder of a Youngstown OH realtor are not connected with the murder of a realtor in RavennaOH the day after.”
“Meeting new clients, showing properties, holding open houses, letting strangers get into your car, and even your marketing may be jeopardizing your personal safety.
The root of the issue is that you have real estate agents with no formal security training who are then meeting with complete strangers at odd times of the day and in vacant homes. Real estate professionals put themselves at risk at so many points. The industry opens itself up to predators.”
Here are a few tips to protect you when selling a property.
Be suspect of everyone. There isn’t any benefit in being paranoid; however, being a little guarded can keep you from getting into a vulnerable situation. Don’t just be wary of a man showing up unaccompanied. Expect them to show up in a nice car, well dressed, maybe with a wife and kids tagging along. They might have a business card saying they are a doctor or a lawyer. Don’t let your guard down.
Appointment Only. When placing ads, all advertisements should state “Appointment only” “Drivers license required” and “Pre Approval Documentation Required.” These are all hoops the bad guy may not want to jump through and you vetting out those who are “just looking” at the same time.
Use the Buddy System. When you set appointments always schedule around a spouse or friends availability so they can join you. There is always strength in numbers. If you have to go it solo, when someone walks in, say, “I’d be happy to show you the benefits of this home! In a few minutes my friend Rocco will be along to assist me,” creating the illusion of the buddy system.
ID and pre-qualify at your first meeting. When you are meeting at your property, get some form of identification. Also, it is to your benefit that a potential client buying a home is pre-qualified. Someone who is pre-qualified by a lender is less likely to be a predator.
Safe open houses. Spend a few minutes considering all the vulnerable points within the home and how you would escape if necessary.
Dress for safety and success. Don’t wear expensive jewelry. A $3-5 thousand-dollar diamond buys a lot of drugs. Dress professionally instead of provocatively.
Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing Real estate Agent safety on Inside Edition . Disclosures.