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Helene Moore, Real Estate Pro in Las Vegas, NV

Agent safety. Here in Las Vegas we have experienced some unfortunate safety factors. Vacant houses have been

Asked by Helene Moore, Las Vegas, NV Thu Apr 10, 2008

broken into; agents have been assaulted, just the other day a notice was posted for all agents. A young woman property manager was called to check on a vacant property when she walked in a young man attacked her and she was severely beaten. Any suggestions for safety? Also what are your thoughts about getting a copy of client’s driver’s license when showing homes for new clients?
All Suggestions appreciated.
Helene M Moore
Windermere Prestige Properties

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Helene, I live in a very small town of around 3,000 and crazy stuff is happening here too! a few weeks ago an agent went into a supposed empty house and found sleeping bags on the floor etc. luckily no one was hurt! here's my 2 cents worth on this subject. the estimate is somewhere between 700K and 2 mill people are going to loose there properties to foreclosure, where are they going to live? a huge majority will be homeless families.. when I offer cash for keys it's anywhere from 500$ to 2,500$ not really enough to get people re started in their lives... it causes people to do things and live in ways they would have never ever thought possible for them selves... which in turn causes even more of these reo empty houses to be inhabited....

so I would suggest that agents should start carrying mace, pepper spray or if legal in your state a tazer. I don't but in bigger cities you have got to put your safety too, and if you aren't used to listening to your intuition you could be in trouble! Lastly, I think your idea of taking photo of drivers license is a good one, it's at least better then walking out the door and know one knowing with who!
good luck out there
Leanne
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 10, 2008
Helene,

We are hearing of the same types of things happening here in Florida.

The vacant house situation is a difficult one because there are just so many of them. We are finding vagrants moving into some foreclosed properties and sleeping in them.

As far as safety when showing clients homes....in my opinion, every buyer should be pre approved by a lender before meeting a client at a home. Otherwise, how do you know if they can afford the home you are showing them? It really is a waste of time for both the REALTOR and the client. If they aren't willing to go out and get the pre approval, then I pass on them. We could spend time showing homes all day long to clients, but if they are not serious and motivated, why bother?

Of course, I completely understand that this is not possible in situations with an open house. That's different...we must be cautious.

Best wishes and keep your eyes and ears open!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 10, 2008
Helene,

We too have been experiencing some situations lately in the Seattle area. One thing I was taught by a tenant of mine, that is a county jail warden, was getting the person's driver's license. He told me that if a person has bad intentions they will never conform to this and you will know right away that your safety would be in jeopardy. Anyone with good intentions would be happy to oblige to your request and probably will respect you for it. Always meet the client at the office and make the driver's license request there. Tell them it is standard office procedure. This will help eleviate anyone taking offense to them being singled out by the request. Let the office manager know your showing itenirary and introduce your client to them. This way they know who they are. Try to take separate cars. When parking at the property always back in and never let your vehicle get blocked in. This way if you need to make a quick escape you can. Another tip is when opening up the home always let the client in first and never have your back to the client while in the home. Finally, leave the front door cracked so if you are being chased in the home you can easily get out rather than fumbling to get the door open. Hope this helps. Your common sence and intuition are always your advisary.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 11, 2008
Weapons are generally a bad idea because the bad guy can overpower and use that same weapon on you. The best defense is a good offense!

Before meeting the client, verify the phone numbers they give you. If they refuse to give you their home address or home numbers, turn them away!

NEVER, NEVER meet a new client at a home. They MUST come to the office and provide you with a mortgage pre approval. You can call the mortgage broker just to verify they are who they say they are.

When you get to the house, keep the buyer in front of you. Listen for sounds coming from the house. If you hear noise and no one responds, back out and call the listing office to verify the occupancy of the office. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

Do not go down to the basement - especially on a vacant house.

If there seems to be persistant problems in the area, call the police to see if they will attend an office meeting or assist with increased patrols. Most are very cooperative and want to work with the community.

Stay safe!!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 10, 2008
Helene,

It's not just Las Vegas ---> http://www.realestatewebmasters.com/blogs/calgary-realtor/42…

Great answers below.... Pre-Approval over a Drivers License IMO. Gas is too expensive to be a Vegas tour guide anyways.

I'm in and out of foreclosures and have seen some of the freaky stuff... I Knock very loudly before entering a vacant property and give time before entering. (If anybody is there... hopefully they run out the back.)

Something about seeing corn dogs on a plate next to the microwave, clothes and an unlocked back slider in a "vacant" foreclosure back in January changed the way I go in and out of them...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
Helene:
Common Sense dictates that ANY time you go to show a home, you should NEVER go alone. I have known ladies who owned their homes who were in rental business and have been raped by the "prospective client". Las Vegas has a very high rate of Crime. So regardless of how you arrange it, the best safety factor is to have another person with you. If that is not possible then get out of showing homes business. You may not like my answer but that is a fact.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 11, 2008
Just to clarily, an "offense" doesn't necessarily mean physical confrontation or use of weapons. Sometimes it's simply not being in the wrong place at the wrong time - as best as one can of course.

Not putting oneself in the position of being harmed in some of the ways I stated below is what I meant . I'm sure there are more good ideas out there as well.

It is not unusual for the police to speak with agents to provide professional advice about what to do in various situations.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 11, 2008
Tammy said, “Weapons are generally a bad idea because the bad guy can overpower and use that same weapon on you. The best defense is a good offense!”

Okay, kind of a conflicting statement there.

The only time that you can be “overpowered” and have your weapon used against you is if you draw it and hesitate. If you draw a weapon and tell someone to not approach you, and they do, well – God Bless them. Don’t let them get close enough to you to take your gun away. It’s easy for a 5’5”, 120 pound female Realtor™ to articulate her actions in this case.

I would imagine that if you get attacked during a showing that you could call 911. I’m sure you’ll be fine in the 5-10 minutes it takes for the police to show up. You can vet your clients all you like, but that won’t protect you from what you might find in the home your showing.

I would recommend a concealed weapons permit for all Realtorsâ„¢ that live/work in areas where they are available.

Squatters that could pose a problem for you are most likely high on meth and/or other illegal substances. In that case, good luck with the pepper spray if they want to hurt/rob you. Most likely, it will just anger them and effect you more than anyone else – the pepper spray that is.

Be safe,
-John
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 10, 2008
This isn't something that is just happening in today's market. I am from Maine originally and we lost a wonderful gal to an attacker many years ago. She got a call on her Desk Duty to show a remote listing, made the appointment and left the office without telling any one where she was going. Her family reported her missing the next day and I can remember that Broker crying like a baby when the police found her dead inside that house. He thought it was his fault but there was no sign of trouble that he could have seen.

Always tell someone where you are going. Give them a time you will call them after the showing. and make that call on time. If you are in doubt don't go... Our gal was very trusting and never saw it coming. don't be a statistic for a sale. Nothing is worth your life or health. If it is a tough area, take a buddy. There is always safety in numbers. Remember that any weapon you have can and may be used against you. take a course in self defense and have the confidence to use what they teach.

I agree that these are going to be desperate times regardless of the "head in the sand" approach our current administration has. The nose dive has begun. We just need to find the edge of the cliff and hold on.

Kathy H
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 10, 2008
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