REALTORSafety2011

Burglars continue to target vacant homes for sale in the Bay Area. Recently, there have been reports of a surge in burglaries in Livermore, where burglars hit nine homes in December. The burglars appear to have used a cutting tool to cut the lock box and get the keys to the residences. Electronics, televisions, appliances and even picture frames have been stolen from the homes, many of which have been staged.

The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) reminds all REALTORS® and their clients to take precautions to prevent this crime from happening to them. For your safety and that of your client, please consider taking the following precautions and share them with clients who plan to sell their home or leave their home vacant for a period of time:

  • Make the home look occupied. Use automatic timers on lights, a TV, and/or radios and set them to go on and off at different times to make your house appear occupied. Install motion detectors on the exterior of your home and garage/shed.
  • Keep curtains/blinds closed and lock all doors and windows. Use wooden stakes inside door/window frames to prevent them from being opened from the outside.
  • Keep the property maintained, grass mowed, and leaves raked. Trim trees and shrubs so they can’t conceal burglars.
  • Inform the police and trusted neighbors that the house will be vacant for an extended time.
  • Ask neighbors to keep an eye on the property and call 9-1-1 immediately if they see or hear any suspicious activity. Ask them to park their vehicle in the driveway and/or pick up fliers or circulars that may be left on the front porch, driveway, or in the newspaper box.
  • Consider installing an alarm system and/or security cameras. Keep alarms activated even if the residents have moved out.
  • Consider hiring a house sitter to prevent the home from being vacant during the selling period.
  • Refrain from putting “For Rent” or “For Sale” signs in front of your property.
  • Schedule viewings by appointment only.
  • Never leave a spare house key under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes, or other hiding places.
  • Place the lockbox out of plain sight, so it is not easily visible to passersby.
  • Don’t place posts on social networking sites that inform others that the house is for sale.

 

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