Kari's Corner January 30, 2012

Real Estate Safety

Violence is a problem in the field of real estate, even in Saskatoon real estate market. As Saskatoon REALTORS® we make our living by meeting strangers and sometimes in empty homes. It can be scary for a woman but even for a man as some of the crimes are against men. About 42 percent of female REALTORS® and 18 percent of male agents have said they have occasionally felt unsafe. I think that stat is low.

Below are 6 crimes against real estate agents in the US, I will follow up with Canada.
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  • Ohio – Andrew VonStein was shot dead by a disgruntled client. He was lured by a client who was upset about a sour deal that resulted in his wife losing her home.
  • Ohio – Vivian Martin was found dead in a home that was lit on fire. She was robbed $56 and strangled by men claiming to be home buyers.
  • Texas – Sarah Anne Walker was hosting an open house when she was stabbed 27 times by a felon on parole.
  • Tennessee – Brenda Wilburn was found bound inside the closet of her own home. Murdered and robbed. Likely followed home.
  • Orange County – an agent was raped and bludgeoned by a man claiming to be a buyer. He found her photo online. She survived by pretending to be dead.
  • Other – Anne Nelson was 71 years old and was robbed, strangled and beaten with a fireplace poker while showing a home to a prospective buyer.


Here are some things that make it easier to be attacked:
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  • Advertising your open house online. Social media is increasingly becoming a tool for criminals to track their prey as we are all guilty of leaving a Web trail on places like Facebook and Twitter
  • Putting your face on your open house signs as that is an open invitation to a stalker
  • Putting your name on your open house signs as a creep may be driving around and see a woman’s name on the open house and decide to pay her a visit


Here are some things you can do to protect yourself:
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  • Trust your instincts
  • Call 911 if your instincts speak to you, police officers would rather come to a false call than a crime scene
  • Bring a friend or colleague to your open houses
  • Meet ‘prospective buyers’ at the office, criminals don’t want witnesses
  • Ask for ID and send their information to a friend or colleague along with the address of the house you are showing
  • When advertising open houses advertise as a team of agents or don’t put who will be hosting it
  • Take a self defence course-or 10! There is never too much training for self defence
  • Carry a weapon if it is legal to do so
  • Carry pepper spray if it is legal to do so
  • Always keep your cell phone on your body
  • Always keep your car keys on your body
  • Upon entering a home quickly scope out an exit plan
  • NEVER let your client follow you into a home or down stairs, always make them go first even if it is a female as sometimes they work in pairs
  • Keep your client in your eyesight at all times
  • Have a code with a colleague if you are in a potentially unsafe situation like calling them and mentioning the ‘red file’ or something less obvious
  • Always tell someone where you are going, leave a list of homes you are showing with someone or on your desk


Those are just some of the things you can do. I know there are more. Please comment if you have any additional points to add!