Just another reason for us to be very careful as Realtors. Our office has several policies we use when going out with buyers or listing appointments. First and foremost if you don't feel comfortable take an associate with you. If you are uneasy with a prospective buyer, tell them you need to make a copy of their driver's licenses for your file before you take them to show them houses, have them pre-qualified by a lender, make an itinerary and file it with someone in the office prior to leaving and have them call you several times while you are out. Basically always trust your gut feelings about people. You can also do a google search, check them out on the FDLE website (where sexual offenders and predetators are registered) or your local law enforcement site. Bottom line be safe, no deal is worth being harmed or dying for.
As received from the Florida Association of Realtors:
Realtor robbed, threatened during property showing
LAKELAND, Fla. - April 3, 2008 - A Realtor for Exit Realty in Lakeland was robbed and threatened Tuesday by two men posing as potential renters for an apartment she owns.
According to Lakeland police, the woman met the two men, who had called about her rental property, at the apartment Tuesday afternoon. After walking through the residence, one of the suspects grabbed the Realtor and threatened her with a knife, while the other man bound her wrists with tape and put her in the laundry room.
The suspect threatened to kill her, tied her up and left her in the laundry room, said Jack Gillen, a spokesman for the Lakeland Police Department. The men stole personal belongings of the victim, including credit cards, money, jewelry and her car, a 2006 green Nissan Altima.
Detectives are working the case and continuing to follow leads, Gillen said. The suspects are considered armed and dangerous; anyone with information should call the Lakeland Police Department.
Because of their frequent contact with unfamiliar people in isolated locations, Realtors face more on-the-job risks than many other business professionals. Many local Realtor boards and associations, including the Lakeland Association of Realtors, offer safety education and training courses. Most real estate offices also have their own safety policies and procedures in place for dealing with suspicious clients.
Some suggestions to help stay safe during a property showing include asking a new client to stop by the office to complete a Prospect Identification Form, preferably in the presence of an associate. As part of the information, get the client's car make and license number, photocopy the driver's license and keep the information at the office. Be sure to call references and verify employment and current address. It's also a good idea to introduce the prospect to someone in your office - a would-be assailant does not like to be noticed or receive exposure, knowing a person could pick him/her out of a police lineup.