Safety Risks When Showing Property

Beware of These Dangers

When you decide to show your property instead of hiring a Realtor to do so, you must realize there can be certain risks to your safety. While the only intention most people have is to view the property to determine if it is the right fit for them, there are a select few that do not have such innocent intentions. These individuals will use the guise of viewing a property as a vehicle to commit various crimes.

Safety Risks

There are many different crimes an individual can commit through viewing a property, so you must be aware of these risks. Here are some examples of crimes that can be committed against you or against your property.

  1. Robbery-

    • Against You- When an individual schedules a property viewing, their motivation may actually be to rob you. You are inviting a stranger into your property, and odds are, you will be showing the property alone. Inside the property, the individual or individuals could easily attempt to steal your wallet, purse or other valuables and run out the door.

    • Against the Current Tenant- If you are showing a property that is currently occupied, the criminal may not harm you, but they could attempt to steal from the current occupant. This is especially true if there is more than one person viewing the property. One “prospective tenant” will distract you, while the other person cases the property or steals small items like jewelry, money or credit cards. Once they know the layout of the property, they can also come back at a later time to steal big items like televisions or computers.

    • Against the Property- Even if the property you are showing is not currently occupied, the criminal may still have an interest in it other than renting or buying it. You may never even know the person you showed the property to is the same person who is responsible for the later crime.

      In this situation, you show the property to an individual or individuals. They may even express interest in the property and when you part ways, you assume the showing was like any other showing because nothing out of the ordinary happened. However, in this case, the individuals were actually taking inventory of the property to determine if there was anything of value.

      Water heaters, furnaces, boilers, copper piping, appliances, toilets, bathroom vanities and even light fixtures are all fair game for these types of criminals. Now that the criminals know what is available inside the property and the layout of the property, they will come back at a later date to steal these items.
  1. Assault- Some individuals who view the property do not have the intention of robbing you, instead, their intention is to assault you. The risks include both physical and sexual assault. These types of assaults can obviously happen anywhere, but it does not help your odds when you invite a stranger into your property and isolate yourself behind the closed doors of the often vacant property.

  1. Identity Theft- Another safety risk when showing property involves identity theft. This theft could target you or the current tenant of the property. The thief could easily pick up a piece of mail, such as a mortgage document or credit card statement, with more than enough information on it to rack up charges on your current cards, attempt to open new credit cards or accounts in your name or, if they are able to obtain enough information about you, completely steal your identity.

  2. Property Scams- Another risk of showing property is that it can make your property vulnerable to property scams. This type of scam is more common with rental property because security deposits and first month’s rent can be collected more easily than an entire down payment on a house.

    These scams can differ, but what usually happens is, the individual pretends that they are the owner or Realtor for the property. They run a couple of ads for the property, including their information at the point of contact. They then show the property to unsuspecting prospective tenants and collect as much money as they can for the security deposit and first month’s rent. The criminal can access the property through an open door or window, by breaking into a door or window or by being given the lock box combination by you.