Beat Burglars at Their Own Game

Burglars impersonating REALTORS® have recently plagued the Valley’s real estate listings with this modus operandi:

1. Call an owner of a listed property directly using another Subscriber’s credentials.
2. Set up a bogus showing through the owner, and request that the owner vacate before the showing.
3. Rob the home while the seller is gone.

Last week the Pinal County Sheriff’s office, alerted through a tip from an owner, arrested a Chandler couple with listing contraband in their car. Whether they are the only ones involved in recent burglaries remains to be seen.

Below are Best Practices that can deter some criminal activity:

  1. Don’t place the owner’s name in the listing.
  2. Instruct the owners never to allow a showing that is not set up or confirmed by you.
  3. If an Agent calls for a code or a showing, look up the Agent’s contact info in flexmls, and call the Agent back to verify that he was the one that called you.
  4. Use an electronic lockbox which records access so you can track who has gotten into the home.
  5. Contractor lockboxes, while convenient, are not as secure.  Use the CBS code on your electronic box when a contractor needs access and discontinue using mechanical lockboxes.
  6. If an owner is going to be gone during the showing, ask them not to leave until the showing Agent arrives so they can identify that person if something goes missing.
  7. Share incidents with fellow Agents through social media, RMS tours, etc. to foster real estate community vigilance.
  8. Notify the local police immediately of any incident.

Can you think of any additional practices that can help protect your Sellers?


Archived Comments
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  1. Richard Park

    One possibility might be to set up a showing request form on Flex. The showing agent would need to be logged in to fill it out. The form would then go to the listing agent for showing approval. Perhaps the homeowner’s email address could be loaded into Flex, but visible only to the listing agent when the showing request form arrives. The listing agent approves the showing online which sends and email to the buyer’s agent that it is ok to call the home owner to schedule the showing (or gives other instructions), and it sends and email to the homeowner that an agent will be calling for a showing.

  2. Gary Shapiro

    I’ve been using CBS coded lock boxes on my listings for all
    showings for years. I also make it a practice to look up agent credentials
    before giving out codes. This extra step gives me a chance to talk to fellow
    agents, build rapport and soft-sell my listing. It’s also a great crime
    deterrent. My sellers love my extra attention to detail and the protection of
    their assets.

  3. Rosanne Allen-Hewlett Realtor/Designer via Facebook

    Please, please, please store your valuables and medications !!! ~ R

  4. Jan Green

    Selles should never leave anything laying around with their names in view. Plus, hide all prescriptions, mail, jewelry, extra keys, etc. When showings are complete, agents should revisit the home checking to make sure all windows and doors are locked as well.

  5. Jon Griffith

    On all of my listings, I encourage the seller, whether they want to put a key in or not, to allow a lockbox to be installed solely for the purpose of identifying that an agent is actually a subscriber. They must prove they are who they say they are by opening the lockbox before entering the occupied home.

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