Scary open house? How to avoid the deadly mistakes that could cost more than a sale.

Real Estate Agent with Group one real estate 0530916

Hi guys, I was just watching a show on court TV about a very sad and unfortunate event in which an agent was attacked and killed while holding an open house. 


This really bothered me.  An open house, to us Realtors; is the most normal thing in the world.  The routine of an open house just gets so hum-drum that I think (at least I am guilty of this) sometimes we forget our safety plans.  I used to bring pepper spray and a stun gun with me but I now mostly forget them in my car.  I usually lock the door, but that is kind of useless unless I really plan on not opening it for a person based on their looks.  The looks would not always tell the tale since most of the real crazies look more normal than I do. 


Anyway,  I thought this was a good subject to discuss b/c it is a major concern that we have all have.

I was wondering what, if any, safety plans you all have in place for meeting new potential clients or holding an open house.  Any scary experiences you have had that you may have learned a good lesson from ORmaybe just advice or pointers you may personally want to share with the rest of us.

I, for one know that I DO NOTtake as much pre-caution as I should, I'm sure I'm not the only one. I would appreciate (and start implementing ) any new ideas immediately.  I think I have taken way to many chances already and it just isn't worth it in the end


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Russel Ray, San Diego Business & Marketing Consultant & Photographer
Russel Ray - San Diego State University, CA

Be wary any time you're out, even with Clients. One of our Realtors was murdered in February 2007. The trial just got underway a couple of weeks ago. The two attorneys were fighting over whether the murderer was guilty of manslaughter or murder. I'm sorry, but purposefully killing someone is killing someone.

Sep 19, 2008 06:38 PM #1
Vicki Pedersen
Pedersen Real Estate - Riverside, CA
Providing Exceptional Real Estate Service

Tiffany,  Thanks for your post.  It is an important reminder to agents to keep their personal safety in mind when doing open houses and showing houses.  I have a pepper spray but thankfully I have not had to use it. 

Sep 20, 2008 12:38 AM #2
Tiffany Burke
Group one real estate - Corpus Christi, TX

Russel...  I'm so sorry to hear that. This particular murder took place here in Texas and I knew there were several in Florida but I did not hear about the poor Realtor in your area.

You are absolutely right!  It really infuriates me that there is even a debate about it. Murder is murder in my book.  If someone "accidentally" killed a cop it would be another story. Don't get me wrong I have nothing against cops and respect the fact that they put their lives on the line everyday but a human life is a human life.

Manslaughter in my opinion would be if someone is just minding their own business, driving home and accidentally hits someone on a bike that the don't see. 

My condolences for his/her friends and family.


Vicky...  It is easy to forget b/c most people we work with are very nice people and no one wants to run around thinking or suspecting the worse of others.  I guess the trick is to think the best of everyone but be prepared for the worse.


Sep 20, 2008 05:19 AM #3
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at KW Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA
Delivering Real Estate Happiness

Is crazy and awful that those things happen.  Women hosting open houses have no other choice but to carry a taser or some mace and keep it in distance.  Also, not a bad idea to have friends or associates stop by the open house as well. 

Sep 20, 2008 01:23 PM #4
Brenda Harmon
Century 21 Beal, Inc College Station, Texas - College Station, TX

I guess we should have two people at our open houses.  It is a scary situation.  At least before you show you be getting people preapproved.

Sep 20, 2008 01:39 PM #5
Kelly Townsend
Coldwell Banker - Santa Rosa, CA
CDPE, Realtor

This is something we were told about in our staging course. We are not allowed to use utensils in our stagings for the reason that they might be used as a weapon. I also recommend putting any knives away before an open house, especially the ones sitting on the counter. If I were an agent, I would have someone else sit with me at the open, you just can't be too sure. I had a scary thing happen to me when showing up to stage an empty house. There was a car in the drive, no one answered the door so I went in and the back slider was open. After checking the house (probably a bad idea) I unloaded and went to work and once inside, the car revved up and took off. Scary to think someone was in there! Be safe out there!

Sep 20, 2008 01:56 PM #6
Chastity Guevara
Camelot's Quest Realty - Casa Grande, AZ

It is sad that we have to take such precautions these days.  I am a property manager and have had to give an open house before, but I did have a client tell me to do one for her property.  My partner and I both refused.  The property is located in a really high crime area and the rest of the houses on the street are missing all of the windows, have graffiti all over them, etc... 

Sep 21, 2008 03:03 AM #7
Team Honeycutt
Allen Tate - Concord, NC

It is sad that things like that happen, but the bottom line is that they do so safety is huge.

Sep 22, 2008 01:27 AM #8
Jim Crawford
Maximum One Executive REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR

You are so right. Safety is our biggest item in real estate.  It isn't the commissions!

Sep 22, 2008 01:33 AM #9
Cameron Wilson
Labrum Real Estate - Murrieta, CA
The Short Guy - Murrieta,Temecula,Menifee Californ

When holding a open house all of us need to have a plan to protect ourselves and I do carry pepper spray.

Sep 22, 2008 03:38 AM #10
Tiffany Burke
Group one real estate - Corpus Christi, TX

Christopher and is sad, I have a taser and I used to carry it all the time but kind of lazed off and became more comfortable; I will be having it available at every open house now. 

Kelly....good point although I have never heard that before about the kitchen knives (never even thought about it OMG! lol. would be great if you can have two people there but the most I can ever drag with me is my daughter and I did say drag.  She hates going b/c it's boring!  Typical 13 year old.

Chastity...I know about some of the places property managers have to go, and some of them are down right scary. Be careful. I know alot of people call to have someone meet them to see a rental, it is hard to say come into the office and all but it is scary meeting people in some of these neighborhoods too!

Allen...your right least we forget again.

Cameron..I had pepper spray but I am not sure where it is, I need to look for that.  Someone gave it to me, I think a police officer.  Where do you buy it?

Sep 22, 2008 04:40 AM #11
Tiffany Burke
Group one real estate - Corpus Christi, TX

Jim... sometimes thinking about that commission is so good we forget it won't do us any good if we are not around to spend it.. < yikes > That was harsh but true. :o) Be safe

Sep 22, 2008 04:42 AM #12
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