Agent robbed at gunpoint in show house

Agent robbed at gunpoint in show house

Hosting a show house is a public affair and these days one can’t be too careful to ensure the necessary safety measures are in place.

The issue was brought to the fore recently in the United States when a 55-year-old estate agent from San Francisco was surprised by three men, one armed with a gun, while hosting a show house last month. They took her cash before taking off when the sound of the doorbell startled them.

A few months earlier Inman reported about an Omaha-based realtor who was nearly sexually assaulted during a showing by a man posing as a potential buyer. The agent used self-defence and was able to call 911.

One could say, well that’s not here, it’s the USA, but also in South Africa criminals have posed as prospective buyers to gain access to a show house. In 2014 the police put an end to the ‘shopping spree’ of the infamous ‘Steve the Shopper’ in show houses in Johannesburg and Pretoria. He would pose as buyer and then steal jewellery and cash while the estate agent wasn’t looking. Last September a woman died from multiple stab wounds after she and her husband were brutally attacked in their home in Chatsworth, KZN which they were trying to sell. IOL reported they were attacked by four men posing as buyers.

Being careful and cautious could save you and your client’s life. Here are some safety tips:

  1. Instruct the owner to remove or lock away all valuables and expensive equipment before show days
  2. Check the property out before the viewing, all rooms and cupboards and preferably while talking to someone on the phone telling them what you are doing. Make sure potential weapons such as blocks of knifes are not visible.
  3. Find someone to be there with you, or if that’s not possible, then make it look as if there is another person by e.g. draping a jacket over a chair.
  4. Do a basic identity, credit and employment check on all prospective viewers.
  5. Tell the owner viewing will only be done by appointment, they are not to allow anyone in that show up unannounced. Include phrases like “view by appointment only” on your signage.
  6. Keep your phone close always and try to show the property only during day time.
  7. Keep your wits about you. If you suspect a client is helping him/herself to valuables, don’t confront them. Rather leave the property and call the police and the security company immediately.

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