How Nothing of Value or Cherished is Safe When Selling Your House

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster - Christie's International Real Estate & Owner of Staged Home Decor MDRE#0648298


house robbed


Secure Your Valuables When Selling a House. This is a story of first hand experience in selling a home by a real estate agent and home stager.  

A Featured Post by Patricia Feager last week about securing prescription drugs- her post and comments to me, suggested I should share this is advice from my own experience.  In our own home, the listing shared with a colleague. 

It was a beautiful Spring Sunday years ago... and the first visitors to the Open House, a middle aged man and his "college aged son" came in to take a look and tell the Wife and Mom if it was worth her coming over.  Pleasant guys. Dad went through quickly and came to "talk specifics".  While Jr., sporadically would go off to double check some item of interest or concern.  Maybe 20 minutes was the length of time in the house.  Off they went and Mom would be coming by before the close of the day. It may just what she would approve. 

The next morning the phone started ringing at 8 AM, we were being notified by banks that credit cards not being used in years (and in a rubber band which had been in the back of huge desk drawer), were being used for at various purchases the next day.  Probably triggered them to call us when there was a $6.39 charge for a burger drive-thru. This had to be young man, surely the "Dad" knew that rubber bands on cards would mean you will be blocked from using them pretty darn quick.  

They stole a watch a pen and other valuable items "in the back of the desk drawer".  As since that was also the beginning of my Home Staging career, I learned I wasn't explicit enough with instructions "to the client" to secure valuables.

Out of the house is best for these kind of things.  The sock drawer is not a great hiding place for the Rolex.  These teams are quick and go for the most obvious places.  They move on in a few minutes I would assume, if the first obvious place doesn't produce a reward.  So in 20-30 minutes, they can clean you out. Thank goodness I had known how good my advice was, Ha Ha... All that I cherished was out of the house.  Credit cards, well I had all my personal ones on me.  

We reported the theft to the police.  Along with our fellow agent we had provided very detailed descriptions of the perpetrators and their scheme. We then spread the word by sending emails to our state and local REALTOR Associations and fellow agents in our databases as well.


Well, an agent in VA held an Open House the next weekend and she had received the email with the scam description. She was visited by the perpetrators of our misfortune.  She went along with the question and answer time, and soon the police cars filled the street in front of the house.  She had slipped in a call to 911 and they were caught in the house!

All of the items stolen from our house were recovered and at the completion of the investigation and their conviction, the items were returned to us.  


So please all agents, if this happens to you/your client, let every broker know. Send an email to the MLS and REALTOR Associations in your area and beyond.  Help keep us safe and our clients.

Hire a Home Stager, they can help!


Posted by




Deb PortraitDeb Harshman, ASPM, REALTOR   

 Accredited Staging Professional Master

Pres. of Staged Home Decor 

IAHSP and RESA Member 

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Comments (5)

Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA
Future Home Realty - Seminole, FL
Providing the integrity and service you deserve.

So glad you got your items back. That's not what usually happens. Thnaks for sharing your story. It helps us all be more aware, careful and safe. 

Mar 14, 2017 02:45 PM
Deb Harshman

Thanks for reading and the comment. I sure most of us seasoned rainers know this by now, but for the clients reading this and the newbies it is a good thing to do.

Mar 15, 2017 06:17 AM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Wow, not often do you see things returned.  I tell my clients to pack away anything that can be picked up and put into a pocket.

Mar 14, 2017 03:19 PM
Deb Harshman

Yes William, great idea and then after they pack it store it!

Mar 15, 2017 06:15 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Glad to see Long & Foster agents in the rain. Sorry for your misfortune, but glad it had a good ending, for you at least.

Mar 15, 2017 05:59 AM
Deb Harshman

Thank you for reading, and comment. My pleasure to be here in the rain. I am not here enough. 

Mar 15, 2017 06:14 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

Great advice. I wrote a post recently about a home I visited (open house) and couldn't believe the personal information open to the public, including information about their small children. So dangerous!

Also, I can't believe how many times I see prescription meds on the kitchen counter in mls pics. Unbelievable.

May 03, 2017 07:23 AM
Deb Harshman

Sharon Tara.. We see a lot, don't we?  I am surprised at the agents that don't tell the seller.  This is why I thought I needed to write about it.  

May 03, 2017 07:59 AM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

What a story! I'm glad the thieves were caught and everything was returned. It's good advice to spread the word to other Realtors so they can also be cautious and alert.

Jun 09, 2017 06:10 AM
Deb Harshman

Thank you Pat.  I am walking my neighborhood today!  

Jun 09, 2017 06:13 AM