Coming in Hot: The Dangerous Life of A Real Estate Agent

Real Estate Agent with Equinox Real Estate Licensed in Oregon

Coming in Hot: The Dangerous Life of a Real Estate Agent


Real estate agents wear a lot of hats. No one could possibly tell you everything you might be called on to do. Some things you just have to figure out for yourself. Here is how I found out that some of my colleagues occasionally don the hat of police officer/crime scene investigator:

I was working with a client who had a very modest pre-approval for $100,000. She wasn't too picky about the condition of the homes, but she was particular about potential safety issues in the neighborhoods where we were looking. We were relegated to a very narrow focus!

We got our listings together one day and set out to view properties. Everything was going according to plan until.....

We pulled up to a vacant property in an industrial area and walked up to the door. The tiny house wasn't in great shape, and a front window was broken and taped. I got the key and we walked inside. We checked out the living room, the kitchen, the back yard, and finally started down the hall to the bedrooms.

What I saw in the first bedroom made my heart stop. A sleeping bag and a few minor possessions were laid out on the carpet. My first thought was, "This house isn't vacant!" I started to panic because one of my biggest fears is getting penalized and fined for accessing a house I shouldn't be going into. Then it dawned on me that whoever had been sleeping there was doing so without permission. My client and I quickly vacated!

This incident didn't weigh too heavily on my mind until I was out for coffee with some colleagues and told my story. Two other people had heard of similar stories. One person's real estate friend had gone so far as to get a concealed weapons permit and carried a gun on her property viewings! Armed and dangerous! I got to thinking, what if the unauthorized "guest" had been there!

I wouldn't go so far as to pack heat to my viewings, but I do take pepper spray at the insistence of a friend. I doubt I'd have the time and opportunity to dig it out of my cavernous purse in an emergency, but it makes her feel better. And I wonder how comfortable my clients would feel seeing my canister dangling from my keys, ready for action.

This is one of those things you have to learn the hard way. Some offices have very strict safety procedures in place that require notification of where you are going and with whom. We all know, especially females, that you don't meet a stranger at an empty property, but there are so many precautions we take for granted. Make sure you cover yourself and your clients! It's not always safe out there. I make sure I wear comfortable shoes!

This is by no means an isolated incident. Just a few days ago the local news featured a story about two people targeting vacant homes and breaking in to steal appliances:

Police Catch Thieves Targeting Vacant Homes


It's a tough world out there. Be prepared!



Posted by

Kelly Bogan

Equinox Real Estate

Licensed in the state of Oregon


Comments (6)

Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Kelly, one time the agent and I walked into a house and there were several people camped out in the living room all sleeping.  We quietly crept back out and went and had coffee while the agent contacted the listing agent.  Turns out some friends of the listing agent needed a place to stay and she had forgotten about the inspection

Nov 22, 2013 11:10 PM
Kelly Bogan
Lol, thanks for sharing, Charles. I have a similar story. I was holding an open house, turning on all the lights, and after a few minutes of being inside, I started to hear voices in the spare bedroom. I thought someone had left the tv on. I opened the door on a couple in bed (guests)! I was horrified. Apparently they "forgot" they had to be out by noon. They were lovely people, though.
Nov 23, 2013 12:50 AM
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

Yeah, this became more prevalent in my area with a lot of vacant homes too.  I was selling a house once that had a pretty crawl space under a deck that led to the basement - there was a basement door in there and when we looked at the house and my clients put an offer in on it there was nothing there.  We went back to visit after acceptance and there was a sleeping bag and some bottles.  Yikes! - Kasey

Nov 23, 2013 01:59 PM
Shanna Hall
Real Estate Solutions - Kirkwood, MO
I love selling houses!!!St. Louis, MO 314-703-1311

I think evryone should take safety precautions- If I am nervious about something I take someone with me- sometimes that someone has a permit to conceal and carry;)

Nov 23, 2013 11:40 PM
Jon Kolsky
Kolsky Realty & Management - Long Beach, CA
Licensed California Real Estate Broker

Kelly~ we have to be safe and sometimes times our job is not...This post is MEGA important and not only to we have to protect our clients best interest, we ALWAYS have to be thinking "safety first"...Oh BTW: SUGGESTED BIG TIME

Nov 23, 2013 11:47 PM
Kelly Bogan
Equinox Real Estate - Eugene, OR
Your Gateway to the Emerald Valley in Lane County
Kasey~At least they stayed outside! Very considerate. Your story reminded me of the inspector that told me there was thousands of dollar's worth of easily accessible copper pipe under the house. That would be a gold mine for someone who happened to stop by looking for a place to rest for the night. **************** Shanna~I don't think I even know someone with a concealed weapons permit! The trouble is, and I'm sure we all feel the same way, that it's not just us, but our clients that could be put in danger doing something so seemingly mundane. My kids would think my job was so much cooler if I was armed.********************************************************* Jon, thank you very, very much. You're right, safety is super important and should be taken seriously. Every office should do an annual safety review, and new agents should be made aware of what they might run into. I live in a very mellow town, but you just never know. And I think most of the people doing something they shouldn't be doing aren't a threat, but why take chances?
Nov 24, 2013 12:53 AM