Are We Too Busy To Be... Safe?

Home Stager with Buffalo, Amherst, Orchard Park and Western New York

Stagers Need to Be as Safety Conscious as Realtors Are.

This blog was a wake-up call to me as a Home Stager.  Although this tragedy took place in Iowa, it could just as easily happen in my (or your) town.  

Just last weekend, I stopped in at an open house hosted by a female Realtor, and she was all alone.  I  also recall sitting in Open Houses alone myself when I was in real estate, and remember a local story at that time of a Realtor who was attacked during an open house.  

My condolences go out to the family of this very lovely woman, and I hope her attacker is brought to justice.

I'm wondering if anyone has safety tips for Home Stagers, as we, too, visit vacant properties alone?

Original content by Emily Medvec NM Broker License 16161

What a difference ActiveRain can make in our lives if we think about it. This morning my screen lit up before sunrise and I found myself reading a post by Margaret Rome about the murder of Ashley Okland, a Realtor® with Prudential in Des Moines, Iowa. Looking back, there was something different about this story. It was news but then again it was passed forward by one of us here on Active Rain. Whatever the reason, it hit home with me like a ton of bricks. I began remembering some of the open houses I did solo before I changed my MO and made sure I had a co-host.  As if I was on a mission, I began sending the story out in an email to others who I knew in our community would pass it forward through our office network, our Santa Fe Association of Realtors, our local WCR and CRS chapters, our Realtor Association of New Mexico and viral on my social media channels. 

Margaret Rome's post woke me up this morning as she took the time to make a difference. Then, I discovered Matt Grohe's post from Des Moines and learned more about the impact there. Tonight, I received this email from Les Sulgrove, 2011 President, Des Moines Area Association of Realtor.

Emily, thank you so much for caring and taking time to spread the word.  It is very important to follow through with educating agents.  I believe that even the smallest change in habit can make all the difference in the world.  Right now police have no suspects or motive and that is wearing very heavily on the minds and hearts of my membership. Keep spreading the word.  Probably the two best places to follow along with this story is at or     Be safe and educate. Les Sulgrove

His signature included the link to our library of resources on safety. And then, all of a sudden I remembered the blog I was going to write on ActiveRain in September 2010 during Realtor Safety week... and was too busy.

I am no longer to busy to be safe. I am adding to my email signature as a reminder never to forget to be aware and help others do the same. We can not change the past. We can only change how we react to the present. It is my hope as more of us tell this story to our peers, we can prevent it from happening again. Please, just do it!

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Home Staging in Buffalo New York

Kathleen Emhof, the Founder and Owner of Transitions Home Staging and Redesign, is Western New York's premiere Home Staging Firm!  She works with home sellers, listing agents, and asset managers in preparing homes for sale.

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Comments (2)

Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

This gives me chills.  I've never envied agents their job of entering dangerous situations on a daily basis.  Now, being a stager, I find myself in the same situation.  I am very cautious and never go on a job without knowing the agent that gave my name or if it's a seller contacting me directly I leave the name and address of the appt. with my husband.  How tragic for this family.

Apr 14, 2011 04:52 AM
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Kathie ~ such a tragic story, and I'm glad you've reblogged this so that others may be made more aware of the dangers involved.  What Sharon said above about leaving the address with someone else is important.  Also, I always lock all doors and windows as soon as I arrive to stage a house (even in the nicest of neighborhoods).  Always carry your cell phone in your pocket while in the house, and never answer the door when you're alone.  If the neighborhood seems at all "iffy" then be sure to never stage alone .. bring along someone else.

Apr 14, 2011 05:07 AM