When a house is listed on the market and the “For Sale” sign props up in the front yard, potential buyers are not the only ones taking notice. Throughout Chicago, newly built, renovated and staged homes are increasingly being targeted by burglars.
Recently, a Chicago REALTOR® had a client who was a victim of such a crime. The home had been recently gutted and remodeled for sale and the home’s furniture was arranged in such a way that it appeared staged, even though the family was still living in it. Midday, while the seller was at work, the thieves arrived in a moving truck, broke open the lockbox and entered the home, ready to steal the furniture. Luckily for the seller, there were interior cameras at work; alarms sounded and the burglars were scared away before they were able to take anything.
Sadly, many sellers are not as lucky. By forced entry or faulty security, burglars are finding their way into listed properties by breaking open lockboxes and leaving with furniture, appliances and other valuables. As a REALTOR® who wants to help protect your clients and their property from these unwanted visitors, remember:
- Do not expose any security codes or lend keys.
- Use a smart, high quality lockbox. C.A.R. only recommends SentriLock. The incidents that have occurred have been on non-Sentrilock lockbox properties.
- Stay by the potential buyers’ side as they look around the home.
- Ensure all windows and doors are secured and, if applicable, surveillance cameras are working.
- Ward away potential perpetrators by identifying the home as being secured and under watch.
- Work with trusted neighbors to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.
- Encourage sellers to secure and/or remove valuables.
Equally as important, report your experiences. If you or your clients have any security concerns, questions, tips or unfortunate encounters, contact authorities and C.A.R.’s Member Care and Professional Standards Department. This allows us to assist you and communicate any potential concerns to your fellow REALTORS®.