This happened in West Sanford in Seminole County Florida, but the same tactic could be used anywhere, so be on the lookout and call 911 with any suspicious activity so we can stop it in it's tracks!
Note: Originally published on my website at SaferAgent.com
One of my friends held an open house this past weekend IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD and had an incident that I want to share with you... the layout of the story is that this is HER house, it is vacant but staged, and is in a hidden neighborhood that very few people know about (that's what we love about our house!)
2 ladies arrived in a white Nissan SUV and came in saying they were hired to clean the house (not realizing the person sitting there IS the owner). When she told them that she hadn't hired a cleaning crew they got very belligerent and insisted "it's right here on my phone at (said address)". They were then told that if they didn't leave that she was going to call the cops. Then in Spanish the lady told the other one to "go check out the house... look at the fans and light fixtures and stuff". (not realizing that she spoke a little Spanish and could understand them)
This is a classic case of casing the house to come back later. They didn't seem to even mind that it's not an occupied house and were even interested in fixtures.
So let's review what could have been done differently:
- She was alone. Someone was supposed to be with her but cancelled at the last minute.
- Don't be afraid to call the cops if you feel uneasy... they'd rather come out and find it's nothing than have to come write up the report later for the burglary (or worse!)
- Get the license plate number... take a picture with your phone if you can. You can even take a picture of the 2 suspicious people.
- Require a picture ID of all showings as they walk in the door. Take a picture with your smart phone and immediately text it to someone else while they're watching. If you feel weird about asking, just say it's "company policy" (you also have the right to ask for ID for any contractors working on the property while you'll be there too).
Open houses can be a very dangerous time for Agents. We put up signs and balloons and announce to the world that we'll be there from 1-4 all alone (and we'll even feed you cookies!). When doing open houses, make sure you're practicing your SaferAgent™ techniques. This will protect both you AND your customers.