Your real estate agent’s good. She’s gone above and beyond to find a buyer for the house you’ve raised your family in. She’s working on a Sunday afternoon at an open house on your property, while you and your family are out for the day.
Strangers wander into your home throughout the afternoon. Your real estate agent tries to vet them all and gauge whether their interest in your home is legit, but it’s not always completely possible. Besides, it’s just a precaution she doesn’t really have to take, and the strangers aren’t under any obligation to tell the truth. It’s just an open house, and she’s watching as closely as she can.
A man walks in alone late in the afternoon. Your agent introduces herself, and the man introduces himself. Your agent says it’s unusual for a single person to visit a family home by themselves. The man says his spouse couldn’t join him, but has trusted him to make a good choice. He’s just scouting anyway; they’re planning to buy but don’t have a timetable.
Your real estate agent’s phone rings. It’s the manager of her office, probably calling about that snag that came up in that sale from earlier in the week. Your agent says to the man, “Excuse me, I have to take this in another room.” She walks out the sliding glass door to the backyard for some privacy.
The man’s by himself in the home, looking at the portraits of your family on the mantle. Pictures of your children, your spouse, your parents, your extended family, your pets. He takes out his smartphone and takes a picture.
He sees a bulletin board in the kitchen. It’s got receipts, flyers, notes from the school with your children’s names on them. He snaps a picture of those too. Then he walks into your bathroom and opens the medicine chest. Prescription bottles with your family’s names and yours on the labels, along with what medication is in the bottle. For a moment, the man’s tempted to pocket one or more of the bottles, but decides just to take a picture of them instead.
Your real estate agent’s still on the phone outside. The man decides to leave while she’s still engaged. He got all he needed.
A couple of weeks pass. Your house remains unsold. One of your children is getting out of school on a weekday afternoon. As she walks out the front door she’s approached by a man who calls her by her name.
He says he’s a friend of your family and that you’ve sent him here to pick her up because you can’t make it. Your child has never seen him before. In fact, she’s never even heard his name before. The man says he’s surprised she can’t remember him, because they went on a vacation together. Then he shows her a picture of you — with the man in it. You and he are friends from way back, he says.
Your child’s smart, but even she can’t always tell when someone’s been Photoshopped into a picture.
This scenario might sound improbable or unlikely. But the risks involved with real estate open houses are real.
Crimes originating from real estate open houses are on the rise, and they’re diversifying. It’s not simply the risk of property theft. Criminals use open houses for a variety of illegal activities: identity theft, opioid and prescription drug theft, online harassment, assault and worse—including the situation described in this story, and a range of potential offenses you can’t even imagine.
Fortunately, Todd Carrison has a proven home selling solution that allows potential buyers to experience your home, without exposing you or your family to threats. You choose what to show and what to hide. Your personal information, family heirlooms and keepsakes are never left uncovered or revealed without your knowledge.
Just as our world is getting more sophisticated, so are lawbreakers and the scams they work. The need to guard your loved ones, properties and possessions is an everyday reality. Todd can help present your home in an environment that keeps you, your family and your home safe from strangers’ wrongdoing. Because it happens to the good guys.