Today I read an article about a Cincinnati agent who was attacked while closing up her model home around 6:00p.m. on super bowl Sunday. The attacker appeared at the front door with a ski mask on, and while she told him she was closed and shut the door, by the time she got to the garage door to lock it, he was there and attacked. She was able to fend him off and he ran off.
She was lucky. I know we all have horror stories to tell and I personally know of an attempted rape of an agent with whom I have had several deals. She too was spared.
But many have not been spared and have, in fact, died , and often times in brutal ways.
I believe the risk is now greater than ever before:
- so many vacant homes, but we still hold open houses there
- agents eager to improve their business and/or make the sale
- so many more people feeling the effects of the economy and sometimes resorting to crime
What can you do?
- ALWAYS make sure that someone knows the exact address of your open house. I think it's so easy to forget this and I have many times myself. I believe we think that as long as our cell phone is in our hand we don't think about telling our loved ones the address. And even better, let several people know where you are and ask them to write it down.
- ALWAYS let people know of the exact times of your open house. So often buyers come in at one minute to closing. When that happens, excuse yourself and say "Ill be glad to show you this home but I need to call my husband/wife/friend to let them know that I will be late."
- ASK a friend or loved one to call you midway between your open house to check on you
- NEVER follow open house guest around the house. especially if something does not feel quite right. Stay near your UNLOCKED door so that you can run if need be.
- NEVER park your car in a single wide driveway to prevent being trapped. If parking restrictions prevent you from parking on the street then leave your car at the very end of the drive.
- DO MAKE NOTE of the make and color of your guests' cars. You never know if this information will be needed but some recollection is better than none.
- IF YOU ARE committed to open houses on new construction during the winter months, ask you builder to have hours that will get you home before dark.
- OUR POLICE DEPARTMENT in Broadview Heights told me it was o.k. to carry mace and I do, right on my keychain. A quick search will tell you that it is legal in all 50 states but if you have heard otherwise it's always advisable to check the laws in your area.
- WHILE YOU MAY THINK THIS ADVICE IS ONLY FOR WOMEN, men should be careful too and follow the above advice. No one is safe from a gun or two people vs. one
Please feel free to add to this list of precautions so we can help keep each other safe!
If you would like to buy or sell a home in the southern communities of Cleveland Ohio, please call me at 440-263-7496, or you may want to visit my website for more specific information on the communities I service: Brecksville Ohio Real Estate, Broadview Heights Ohio Real Estate, North Royalton Ohio Real Estate Independence Ohio Real Estate, Seven Hills Ohio Real Estate, Parma Ohio Real Estate, Parma Heights Ohio Real Estate and Middleburg Heights Ohio Real Estate. Information is obtained from Neohrex (Northeast Ohio Real Estate Exchange) and is deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. Properties subject to prior sale, rental, or other status changes. All properties that are advertised as being listed or sold by Barb Szabo are in conjuntion with ReMax Trinity.