Nassau County Sheriff’s Office warning to real estate agents

Nassau County Sheriff’s Office warning to real estate agents
Open houses

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. —

Nassau County Sheriff’s Office is wanting real estate agents to be on guard when meeting for appointments to show houses.

Several Realtors working in Nassau have reported a suspicious man calling requesting to see a home ASAP.

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They said the man’s manner was urgent and suspicious.

When one real estate company could not meet his requests, he immediately called another requesting to see a different property right away.

Both times he was told no to tour the properties he requested.

His motive is unknown, according to Nassau County Sheriff’s Office.

NCSO asks to report any suspicious activity to the sheriff’s office at 904-225-5174.

The following are Nassau County Sheriff’s Office’s reminders to agents:

1. Share your plan

Let someone in your office and someone in your personal circle know where you’re going and when you will be back. Leave the client’s name, phone number and any other relevant contact information. Ask for someone to call during your scheduled meeting time and make sure you’re safe.

2. Verify identities

It may seem overreaching, but you should always verify your clients are who they say they are. Ask for a scanned copy of a photo ID before meeting any prospective clients at a property.

3. Walk behind

When showing a property to potential buyers, always have them walk in front of you, particularly when going downstairs. You can still direct them to specific areas of the house, but you’ll never leave yourself in a vulnerable position.

4. Be the driver

You should always drive your own vehicle to a property when possible. Either offer to drive your clients to showings or have them follow you.

5. Don’t share personal information

Yes, you want to be personable, but you should never share personal information — such as where you live, where your children go to school, your plans after work – with clients.

6. Stay in the light

When at all possible, you should show properties during daytime hours. If you have to show a home after dark, never enter a darkened room without first turning on the lights. Make sure all shades are open so passersby can see inside.

7. Have emergency numbers ready on your cellphone

In an emergency, how easily can you access your phone to dial 911? Keep your phone within reach during open houses and showings to ensure you can easily access emergency numbers if needed.

8. Be aware of your surroundings

Before entering a property, take a moment to scan the perimeter. Is anything out of place? Is there anything that could potentially be hazardous or harmful? Are all windows and doors locked? The best defense for dangerous situations is to stay aware of what’s happening around you at all times.

9. Don’t go alone and check your open house

It is wise to bring a friend to your open houses so you are not alone. You can often team up with another real estate agent or even a local mortgage loan officer so you have another person with you. Also, before leaving your open house, be sure to go through all rooms, checking closets and other spaces to ensure no one has stayed behind. Check to be sure all doors and windows are locked. Authorities report vandals coming into open houses in groups, distracting real estate agents while other members rifle through the homeowner’s belongings. Stay aware of visitors' whereabouts.

10. Know basic self-defense

We hope you never need to use a self-defense plan, but you should be prepared just in case. You should have necessary self-defense skills at the very least, and consider having some sort of defensive weapon. Many communities offer self-defense courses, particularly for women. You might consider carrying pepper spray, a licensed firearm, a pocket knife or an emergency beacon.