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« previous: Utilizing the value in a home's equity   |  next: Real Estate's most wanted »

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Workplace safety

professionalThere's a report about an open house theft posted by Doug at True Gotham that took place last Sunday. I'd heard recently of a similar occurrence a couple of weeks ago, where some expensive designer handbags were taken too. Perhaps the work of the same people. We should note that there are hundreds of open houses that are held each week without incident, and its one of the most effective ways to expose a home to buyers. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend doing them for a moment, with a few common sense precautions added. I think of this as a relatively safe profession, but the NAR does have an entire section of their site on safety, and provide this handout about protecting seller's against crime. I've taken a few of my thoughts + theirs, and urbanized them for New York City. Anyone have more ideas to share?

some common sense precautions

  • Put the valuables away in a locked closet, file drawer, or off site.
  • Agents should work an open house at a larger property with an assistant(s).
  • Multi-story properties should have an assistant on each floor during an open house.
  • Consider allowing only one or two people in the apartment at a time. One agent could be stationed in the lobby allowing people up.
  • Beware of teams who may enter and split up; a chatty one distracting an agent, while the other(s) quietly pilfer.
  • Visitors and agents should not leave their own bags or personal electronics out, or unattended.
  • Are you are carrying a fully charged cell phone?
  • Have a distress code word worked out to call 911 if necessary, that person may be on or off site as long as they know your location.
  • Make sure that all rooms are clear of people before leaving.

updated 11.17.2007

reader comments:

How about hiring a plain clothes security guy/gal to keep an eye on things during the open house, and have them pose as just another visitor?. It's a small investment for a few hours, and there's plenty of such companies around the city.


That certainly could work, but for my money, I'd rather used a licensed agent who can show the place, and be a second pair of eyeballs too.


During any open house, people should be required to show identification; preferably a driver's license or passport.


My wife and I were robbed during our open house when selling our home. It was two-story and the agent was distracted by another person that was part of the robber..(two women).. they got away with jewelry, and a small painting. Insurance did cover most of it, but you cant replace heirlooms. They were never caught.


I'm sorry to hear about that George. What part of the country were/are you in?


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