Scarey Stuff - staying safe in todays empty houses.

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

I try to stay conscientous whenever I am in a house showing it to people I dont' know very well.
I am not a small dainty lady so I dont' worry too much, but you can never really be too careful, either.
Yesterday was the strangest thing though. I had an online ad for a property, that these folks called me on. The house was not going to work for them, so I went ahead and set a few appts. to show them other properties. At the last home we were going to see, the Husband went in, then the Wife, followed by myself. Once I walked in, the Wife headed back to the front door and locked the scree, then the dead bolt. ummmmmmmmmmm. Excuse me, but I have to say, it scared the hell out of me.  I pleasantly smiled and got as close to the window as possible. As soon as the Wife stepped away from the door, I went directly over and unlocked it. I just wonder what would have happened if I had been busy in another room and not noticed the door. What could the end results have been? I will say that it could have been a fluke. She may just be very security conscience, but the other oddity is that when I asked them to first fill out a lease application, they were fine with that. I told them I normally check ID whenever I accept an ap and could they let me see their drivers license, both of them had mysteriously forgotten it,

If I were to breath a mere breath of this to my Husband, that would be the end of my real estate career. He would lock me in a box if he thought he could get away with it.  As it is, he is always trying to get me to take the dog or someone with me to show houses. I am open for all suggestions on how to stay safe in these situations. 

 

psst - just dont' say anything to my Husband! :-)

Comments (14)

Dean Moss
Dean's Team - Keller Williams Realty Partners Chicago IL - Chicago, IL
Dean's Team Chicago IL Real Estate Team

Sherry -

Be careful!

My proposal is to ALWAYS let someone know when you're showing houses, and keep your cell phone in hand, ready to dial 911 or that other contact, if you need to quickly.

The other point - never work with anyone who doesn't properly identify themself to you - don't take any chances!

Be safe!

DEAN & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

Sep 17, 2008 01:41 AM
Kathy Fey
Fey & Associates - Dacula, GA

Safety should be the number one concern for agents but is often overlooked.  Every agent - men and woman, need to be cognizant of their surroundings and clients/customers and make their safety a priority.

Sep 17, 2008 01:43 AM
South Austin Real Estate Blog
Sky Realty South Austin - Austin, TX

It is just possible that lady was paranoid about her safety and didn't want anyone to walk in and surprise any of you?  Thats just one point... the other is one can never be too safe.. keep yourself between the door and the clients.. you closest to the door.  Again, this is another instance where if a buyer is prequalified you have necessary information and most likely they are true buyers and not tirekickers or worse.

Sep 17, 2008 01:44 AM
Rebecca Schrader
Competitive Insurance of Dundee - Dundee, FL

Sherry, 'come on...you and I both know there was absolutely NO REASON for that woman to lock the door! They were both up to no good...and Sherry, you MUST report these two to the police. They very well may be looking for the two of them already and need YOUR tip to catch them...what if they've already done something horrible to someone else that wasn't so lucky...and that person is waiting for YOU to come forward and let the policeknow what you have experienced? Tell somebody.

But in the future...SAFETY FIRST!!! Never go anywhere with anyone without first obtaining proper identification. Make it a RULE...a POLICY! And please please be careful...nothing is more important than you being able to return home safely to your husband...

Sep 17, 2008 01:49 AM
Leah Leighton
Long & Foster Real Estate - Levittown- Bucks County Pa - Levittown, PA
Realtor - Long and Foster - Levittown Pa

wow - thats scary.... I agree with Rebecca - there was no reason to lock the door.... I think I would have ran out!!

I usually leave the door open when showing a home, did she close it as well?

 

Sep 17, 2008 01:54 AM
Sherry Pyszczynski
Keller Williams Realty - Royal Oak, MI

Yes, she did close it. I would never consider closing an entry door during a showing.
I am going to have to really figure out how I am going to handle future showings after this.

Sep 17, 2008 02:01 AM
Betina Foreman
WJK Realty - Austin, TX
Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY

Trust your instincts and be prepared. This is what I do to be safe. You can come up with your own list. I have a business partner and we do this for each other, every time we have an open house.

1.I never wear good jewelery or bring money to open houses.

2. I always tell someone about my open house: time, exact location. I  ask this person to call me when its over just to check in. If they don't call me, then I call them. If there is somebody suspicious in the house, I step away for a minute and call my 'safety' person and tell them and call them again once the person leaves.

3. I carry my fully charged cell phone in my pocket at all times.

4. Always have the guests walk in front of you in the house or up the stairs. Don't get surprised from behind, or konked on the head.

5.I never wear heels, in case I have to run.

You may say I am paranoid, but I prefer to think of it as prepared. Good luck and I hope you find a system that works for you!

Betina

Sep 17, 2008 02:03 AM
Kristen Padilla
ERA Tucker Associates, Inc. - Nanuet, NY

I agree with Betina.  It's better to be safe than sorry.  Always go with your gut instinct.  You should always have a safety person know where you are and call you throughout your showings.  A code word is also a good way to let your safety person know how you are or if you're uncomfortable.

Sep 17, 2008 02:14 AM
Rob & Jeannie Steward - Realtors®
RE/MAX Advantage - Nashville, TN
We Work TWICE As Hard For You! - Ashton Group

Bring the dog!

Sep 17, 2008 02:20 AM
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Sherry: If your "Spidey sense" is tingling, LEAVE! Get out of there fast! No sale and no amount of commission is worth getting raped or killed over. Your intuition told you something was wrong - it is nature's way of protecting us. Listen to your intuition.

I agree with some comments above: Report them to the police. This probably wasn't the first time, and it probably won't be the last time.

You were very lucky to come out of this unscathed.

Sep 17, 2008 02:34 AM
Leah Leighton
Long & Foster Real Estate - Levittown- Bucks County Pa - Levittown, PA
Realtor - Long and Foster - Levittown Pa

I agree, at least the police will be aware of the situation, just in case...... also at open houses, I try NOT to go up the stairs. Stay near the door to greet other guests that may arrive! Also, leave back door open as an escape route just in case.

Or, I like Rob & Jeannie's comment - bring the dog!!!

Sep 17, 2008 06:17 AM
Sherry Pyszczynski
Keller Williams Realty - Royal Oak, MI

UPDATE
Well - it turnes out the people were totally legit and they took the property. The Lady is very security conscience, but seriously, it was a great wake up call!

Sep 20, 2008 01:52 PM
Kris Hansen
Coldwell Banker - Golden, CO
Coldwell Banker

I'm so glad they were legit, but it can be so scary when people act strangely. 

 

Oct 09, 2008 06:23 AM
Neal Barnes
Starstate Realty - Killeen, TX
Broker, REALTOR, ABR, CRS, GRI, SRES, SRS.

Hi Sherry -  Welcome to ActiveRain. I look forward to networking with you and reading your future post. Have a great day!!!

Jan 17, 2009 04:24 PM