Knock, Knock. Who’s There? Sellers Beware!

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs TX Broker 0513551

Door Knocker

I received a call this evening from one of my sellers. A potential buyer had showed up at her home, rang the doorbell, and asked to see the home. While this raised red flags for her, she let him into her home and showed him around.

The good news is that nothing happened.

It’s one thing to allow an agent with a keycard and who has scheduled an appointment into your home, but allowing a stranger off the street to do so could be a recipe for disaster.

Buyers off the street should always be referred to your agent. Agents generally qualify potential buyers before showing homes to them. This process tends to weed out unqualified or “buyers" with other motives.

Sellers, I know you want to sell your home, but please do not forfeit your safety in the process.

Photo licensed from iStockPhoto

Originally posted at http://www.thebranchteam.com/wordpress/2012/04/30/knock-knock-whos-there-sellers-beware/

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Tom Branch and Gina Branch, The Branch Team with RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs, service the greater North Dallas suburbs including Dallas, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Frisco, Lewisville, and Carrollton.  While Gina concentrates on traditional listings and buyer/tenant representation, Tom specializes in assisting distressed homeowners to avoid foreclosure.  Tom and Gina have published two books (Achieving Rock Star Status and The Field Guide to Short Sales) and are available for speaking engagements in the greater Dallas - Fort Worth Metroplex. Subscribe to The Branch Team Blog.

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Re-Blogged 5 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Kamal Salim 04/30/2012 09:12 PM
  2. Cheryl Ritchie 05/01/2012 12:45 AM
  3. Elva Branson-Lee 05/01/2012 05:31 AM
  4. Margaret & Martin Jackson, Tampa Florida Home Team 05/01/2012 06:12 AM
  5. Robert L. Brown 05/01/2012 09:15 AM
Topic:
Home Selling
Location:
Texas Dallas County Dallas Preston Hollow
Groups:
RE/MAX Active Rain Bloggers
"Whacked"!!!
Diary of a Realtor
Texas Real Estate
Active Rain Newbies
Tags:
safety tips
home selling

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Rainmaker
223,321
Pamela Smith
Long Realty West Valley - Sun City West, AZ
Sun City West, Corte Bella, Sun City Grand

I hope your client remain safe and secure.  I have heard of couples going thru homes like this only to return and rob later.

May 01, 2012 07:23 AM #37
Ambassador
519,457
Tom Branch
RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs - Plano, TX
Broker, CDPE, SFR, ACRE, Plano TX Ambassador

Rosalind,

The home is under contract! We're only looking for back-up offers...

Tom

May 01, 2012 07:33 AM #38
Rainmaker
313,760
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

HI Tom, I always give the seller extra cards to give to people who just drop in for a viewing. If they aren't working with an agent the sellers tell them to call me. They are never to let a stranger in.

May 01, 2012 07:54 AM #39
Ambassador
1,233,087
Paul Henderson
RE/MAX Professionals. - Tacoma, WA
I always put my clients first in any transaction!

Hopefully people will heed this warning before a disaster happens. I once had a client in her late eighties who would sign anything. I had to sit with her through every showing to ensure her financial well being. 

May 01, 2012 07:55 AM #40
Rainer
46,963
Lisa Hickling
Brampton, ON

Thanks, Tom. Listing agreements here in the Greater Toronto Area typically include a clause that requires sellers to refer unrepresented interest to the seller's agent. 

May 01, 2012 08:05 AM #41
Rainmaker
478,165
Robert L. Brown
www.mrbrownsellsgr.com - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Michigan

NEVER. You're inviting trouble when you do this. It worked this time but maybe not the next 1. I have told my sellers if someone knocks on the door to see it or if you're in the yard working etc just point to the sign. You basically dont have to do a thing but point. Keeps EVERYONE safe.

May 01, 2012 09:13 AM #42
Rainmaker
648,639
William James Walton Sr.
WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group - Waterbury, CT
Greater Waterbury Real Estate

Tom,

That was scary, indeed. Glad that nothing happened to your seller as well. It is good advice to give to sellers - no, it is good instructions to give them that they are not to let anyone see their home without it having been routed through you or your brokerage's showing service.

May 01, 2012 09:16 AM #43
Ambassador
764,590
Brenda Mullen
RE/MAX Access - Schertz, TX
Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!!

Very good advice.  I tell my sellers to hand them my card if they are approached in such a manner.  It's good that the buyer is motivated, but we need to get them qualfied and you never know, this could have been a potential burglar or worse.  Wow...

May 01, 2012 09:28 AM #44
Rainer
270,556
Richard Bazinet /MBA
Realty ONE Group - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale Real Estate

A great message to communicate to clients Tom. I always instruct my seller clients never to do this for the reasons mentioned. I tell my clients to always say -- to call the agent on the sign.

May 01, 2012 09:33 AM #45
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Tammy Lankford
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Your Lake Sinclair Expert (706-485-9668)

Tom- we've even started to require photo ID and license number of agents not in our MLS who call to see one of our listings.  Better safe than sorry.

May 01, 2012 09:34 AM #46
Rainmaker
1,309,952
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker/Owner
BuyersAgentPortland.com | (503) 810-7192 Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% o... - Portland, OR
Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results

Listing agents need to add this to their script:  Do not let anyone in that doesn't have and appointment and/or a buyers agent.  TOO risky. 

May 01, 2012 11:03 AM #47
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Debbie Reynolds
Prudential PenFed Realty, "The Real Debbie Reynolds" Your Clarksville Real Estate Professional, 931-920-6730 - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

I agree totally and prepare my sellers to call me immediately if that happens while they are at the door. Then I can either talk directly with the prospect or ask to schedule a time good for all.

May 01, 2012 02:00 PM #48
Ambassador
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Virginia Hepp
ERA - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale - Mesquite, NV
Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS

One of my sellers recently had a "buyer" show up - they said that their agent told them that the home was vacant and that they could walk around the outside of the property to see if they liked the yard and views. 

May 01, 2012 02:32 PM #49
Rainmaker
32,593
Mark Corbett
The Buyer's Choice - Providence, RI
I'm always surprized when I see a fsbo for my client, the owner is happy to show me the inside of the house.
May 01, 2012 05:11 PM #50
Rainmaker
628,889
Barbara Altieri
RealtyQuest, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Tom -- I had this happen a few years back. The walkup buyers did not like the sellers or their attitude. They were so turned off, they left and placed an offer on another home that same day. They were represented by an agent. That agent did not know her buyers did a drive-by, saw the sellers working outside, stopped and visited until they told her after, and the agent relayed the info to me.  I had also warned the sellers NOT to let anyone in and refer them to me, but.......

May 01, 2012 05:34 PM #51
Rainmaker
690,987
Kay Van Kampen
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX Solutions - Springfield, MO
Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate

I have advised the sellers to keep my cards by the front door and hand them out if this happens.  I just got out of an offer where the seller let the buyer in the home, they agreed on an offer on a short sale, then the buyer walked after I got the short sale approved.  This never turns out to be a good situation.

May 01, 2012 06:52 PM #52
Rainmaker
355,744
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA Skogman Realty - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist
This gave me chills. So glad nothing happened. Safety is so important, you have to be careful who you allow in your home. You have no idea if they are qualified to buy your home. Yikes.
May 01, 2012 08:39 PM #53
Rainmaker
699,703
Pamela Seley, REALTOR®
REALTY EXECUTIVES OTF - Temecula, CA
Seals the Deals in Temecula Valley California

Tom, especially in these times. Affluent neighborhoods especially are being targeted for robberies. Sellers need to beware. Thanks for your post today,

May 02, 2012 12:20 AM #54
Ambassador
1,910,487
Judi K Barrett
Judi Barrett~Integrity Real Estate Services~Idabel, Oklahoma - Idabel, OK
Broker/Owner, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDAB

Tom, I go over this with every seller and invariably they will let people in to look AND 99% it's a waste of their time. :)

May 02, 2012 07:05 PM #55
Rainer
15,438
Brian Park
Danville, CA

I don't even want them to open the door, and I told them that because I didn't want to be the one to discover their body. In 1989 in the S.F.Bay Area 9 agents were murdered on the job and in 1990 I used that figure to warn sellers of the danger plus the massive amount of rapes, robberies and other foul deeds that happened to agents and that sellers were not immune from the same dangers.

I asked them why would a buyer have to see it right now, even if they are real they are going to say they have to think  it over, they are not going to write a contract and do a deal right there for you unless they are trying to take advantage of you while your agent isn't there, and if it was that important they could just slip a photo ID under the door and wait until me or someone I sent showed up before they let them in, and don't let them know you are alone if you are but even if you aren't can you overcome a gun or knife, just be firm that your contract with your broker requires his presence if the party at the door is that insistent. I tell them history shows that the odds of that person buying the home are 1 in a 100 but the odds of that person being trouble are 1 in 10 and if they are alone 1 in 2, and to remember that if someone shows up at the door insisting on admission.

I once had a FSBO list with me after she called me a fear monger when I handed out a safe showing pamplet to them as part of my listing effort. Luckily a neighbor interrupted what was just starting to happen and the perk ran off.

May 05, 2012 02:59 PM #56
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