After a long day of paperwork and computer time I was more than ready to engage in an hour or so of cable television to disengage from work mode while I waited for prime time Olympic coverage. With a cup of hot chocolate in one hand and the remote in the other, I clicked through a number of channels with no interest in lingering. The channel that garnered my attention showed a man taking a flyer from a brochure box beneath a real estate For Sale sign. Okay, maybe I was still in work mode, but I was hooked as I watched the seller committed a big no-no by allowing the man to see her home unaccompanied by a real estate professional.
The story line quickly progressed to a crime scene (I’ll omit the gory details) and investigators some discovered several other sellers in the area were approached by the same man with the same request. “I love your home and I think it may be just what my wife and I are looking for. May I see the inside?” The answer should always be a resounding, No, please schedule an appointment.” Sadly, this time it was not, and unfortunately not one seller reported this to either the police or their agent. Allowing an unaccompanied stranger into your home is an invitation for trouble. They may be previewing your property for purposes other than purchasing it.
At least once a year local real estate agents are notified about open house theft rings. They often work in groups; some engage the agent while others search the house for an easy target–jewelry is always a top choice. Every seller should remove valuables before their property is placed on the market. It is not uncommon for the seller’s agent to be present for all showings. Whenever Josh and I hold an open house we always work as a team as we are better able to control the viewing process, and I feel more comfortable escorting strangers through a property when there is another agent present. Protecting your personal belongings is important but putting your personal safety at risk is foolish.
Never be so anxious to sell your property that you abandon common sense. All prospective buyers need to be accompanied by a real estate professional. End of story.