OPEN SLATHER FOR THIEVES
Article originally published on JUNE 18, 2003 – Reviewed and approved.
By Neil Jenman
Reports from both Queensland and New South Wales about robbers targeting homes for sale via the Internet or public inspections should sound alarm bells for home sellers across Australia.
In an age when home security is a major community concern, the disregard for personal safety in real estate is astonishing. There are virtually no security checks on people who inspect homes. More identification is required to hire a movie than to wander through a family home.
“There are virtually no security checks on people who inspect homes.”
Warnings from police, Neighbourhood Watch and consumer groups seem to be having little effect on the growing problem of security for families buying or selling real estate.
The standard line from the real estate industry is that the problem is “isolated”. Many agents say they have been doing public inspections for years and never had a problem. What the agents are not saying – or perhaps what they don’t realise – is that homes are rarely robbed during an open inspection. They are robbed later, long after the agent has gone.
A public open inspection gives criminals a perfect opportunity to check-out a home prior to returning later. With many homes now featured on the Internet, criminals can check-out the interiors from a computer. The concept of a ‘virtual-tour’ has made it virtual open slather for thieves to get inside knowledge of both the layout and the contents of a home. Some agents are even providing floor plans which make it easy for thieves to plan their robberies. Agents may as well hand burglars the keys to homes.
It is not just homesellers who are at risk. It is also homebuyers. There are a growing number of reports of homes being robbed after they are sold. In the excitement of moving into a new home, many buyers don’t realise the danger that awaits them.
“homes which have been offered for sale via public inspection or the Internet could be at risk of robbery for many months.
Sellers are warned that the only people who should ever be allowed to inspect their homes are those whose identities have been confirmed. Buyers are warned that homes which have been offered for sale via public inspection or the Internet could be at risk of robbery for many months.
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