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Safety in Numbers

August 16, 2009

BurglerI just read a rather disturbing post written by Pat Kennedy called “No Ordinary Walk-Through”, and to be honest a few things came across my path this week that really are giving me a new sense of caution about not only doing my job, but life in general. I suggest if you didn’t already read Pat’s post that you do. It is a good reminder to always carry your cell phone, especially when entering a house alone. And as I was to later learn from a friend this weekend, carry a pen in your hand too. You can do some damage with a pen if you have to.

Desperate times call for desperate measures to be sure. I got to the office late on Friday afternoon, after 1:30. The only car in the parking lot was my brokers, and I had this terrible feeling come over me as I pulled in, that perhaps I was actually scheduled to be phone wench for the afternoon and was half an hour late. I was not dressed for work, I had been out looking at a vacant house in the country, a foreclosure.

My fears were put aside, I was not the office phone wench for the afternoon. The scheduled phone wench got a call from the agent who has an offer on one of her listings. The agent, her clients and the home inspector found the house had been broken into. Not much to take, it was already empty, but they did take everything out of the shed, broke a window on the back door (cleaned up all the glass though, perhaps OCD burglers?) and walked all over the counters leaving footprints. They did take the water out of the fridge, she found that out when she thought a cold drink would help her calm down.

The police came, the neighbor came over and told them about running into 2 industrious men who had been there the day before with a van, and informed the neighbor they had been hired to clean the house out. Then they went to work and took what they could. The inspector apparently kept his clients calm, he kept his head, and it would appear the deal is still on. My broker is adamant that we not do open houses in any of our vacant listings, and this agent had done one the previous Sunday alone, no company with her. The house had been packed, and she is so worried that she let these men right in.

Moving on.. or back. I had been looking at a foreclosure that morning. Although on a main road, it is isolated, empty, broken windows and a damn pool right in the middle of the house, full of water. I noticed back windows were broken as I got out of the car, and refused to go further than the kitchen. I just had a “feeling” and left. Good place for raccoons or squatters, take your pick! My clients aren’t interested, and I would not recommend the house to anyone, so I don’t think I will have to go back.. but let’s move on to one more story.

I spent Friday night with 2 friends, we all worked together many moons ago. One friend lives far away now, and we don’t get to see her often. So, slumber party it was for 3 women over 50, LOL. Anyway, Saturday morning as we are eating breakfast she tells me that she took P & P classes years back, and actually passed the test and was just about to get her RE sales license. Then she decided it was too dangerous, all this going into empty homes, meeting strangers all the time. She thought it just wasn’t a safe job. So, she got a job in her field, as a social worker with the state Department of Children and Families. You know, dealing with distressed families, often drugs involved, taking children out of homes… so much safer don’t you think? (We all had a laugh about that part of her story.) But that is not the best part of the story, I promise.
hand gun
On her way to work the very first day she came across a man on the side of the road, standing over a woman who was laying on the ground. She stopped the car, got out and asked if they needed help. He replied, no, the police would be there soon, that the woman was dead and he had shot her. Now my friend didn’t back up, didn’t do anything to try and get away, she just stood there trying to talk to him. Honestly, she was in shock, so what she did or didn’t do makes no sense anyway. I would be in shock too!

He had indeed shot her, the woman was dead, and the man went to jail for murder.

And she thought real estate was tough? YIKES.

The moral of the story is we all need to think about our safety more and more. You just never know. Listen to your little voice, if it feels wrong don’t do it. Don’t meet people at homes, on and on, we know the drill. Just do it. People are more desperate these days. And we are easy pickins… But as my friends story pointed out, you just never know when its not safe.

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