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Old 11-23-2018, 01:19 PM
Location: Wisconsin
2,612 posts, read 1,512,992 times
Reputation: 7751


A couple of times when my DH and I were working with a Realtor, she told us that she wasn't able to come and show us around a property, but that we should feel free to go take a look at it by ourselves. We felt weird doing so, but we did as she recommended.

Old 11-23-2018, 05:46 PM
Location: Living on the Coast in Oxnard CA
15,389 posts, read 25,740,063 times
Reputation: 19693
I have walked up to homes that I know were 1. For sale and 2. Vacant. I don't have a problem with it. We have had maybe 6 homes on our street that have sold since we bought our home in 2010. I have seen people show up and look at the homes from the front of the home. Many looking in the windows. Only one that looked at the back yard. All of these homes sold and I am thinking maybe to someone that looked at it.

When we were in the process of buying our home I would visit it and walk around the outside. I wanted to start fixing it up on the spot. Kept thinking what if the deal doesn't go through and I spent a bunch of money for nothing. One day I was out and about and picked up lunch and parked in front of the house checking out the house and the neighborhood. At the time we were still waiting for the process to end. Seemed like it took forever to get that house. The home we bought was bank owned and no one cared that we were there, or so it seemed anyway.

The ugliest house on our street is for sale right now. Same owner since 1963. With that one we have not had a problem. People see it and keep driving. The realtor has had maybe 8 or 10 open houses and except for some of the neighbors no one seems to want that home. The kids or grand kids that inherited are asking top dollar for that home. No takers in over a year.
Old 11-23-2018, 07:05 PM
Location: Pacific Northwest
156 posts, read 54,232 times
Reputation: 593
It never hurts to call a non-emergency hotline and inform law enforcement if you see suspicious activity. You can think of a million reasons for why they could be there, but where I live it's extremely common to find people doing what you witnessed. If you saw them attempt to enter the home or start moving outdoor objects I would call 911 if you had a gut feeling like you did. Homes on the market are becoming more and more targeted by thieves and all kinds of questionable people. They try to blend in with potential home buyers to scout locations and will used the listings online to see if the home is empty so that they can make plans to squat.

They usually are checking the inside to see if the owner still resides there or if the home is staged/empty. If the latter is the situation they make plans to break in to either steal the staging furniture or they hunker down and establish their squatters rights to ensure at least a month of free rent at the expense of the homeowner who has to go through a lengthy and expensive legal eviction process.

If you want you can contact the Realtor of the home to see if they require an appointment or realtor access to the home. You can also let them know about seeing the individuals outside the home; then they can be on guard and in turn help protect the area by being mindful of people targeting empty homes on the market. In the end go with your gut, if you see something suspects for your neighborhood routine then you would probably know what course of action would be best for your area. I know for my location law enforcement never shows up for squatters without a eviction notice or small property crimes so doing everything you can to keep people at bay is best because if you get them then it's already too late.
Old 11-23-2018, 07:21 PM
932 posts, read 328,756 times
Reputation: 1676
"I feel they are casing the house and my house."

you might be right.
they are "casing" in case they want to buy.

where we live, we see this several times every year.
right now, there is a vacant house across the road ("street" means inside the city limits).
it has been vacant for most of the year. it is maintained and has a sophisticated security system.
all the "casers" are on the system's extensive video surveillance. my opinion is, the seller is asking too much,
but he is wealthy and can wait. as posted above, there is no For Sale sign on the property.
agents have escorted people in the past, but some just "drop in". so...yes, casing.
Old 11-23-2018, 07:25 PM
Location: Rochester, WA
3,949 posts, read 2,139,735 times
Reputation: 10957
If you can discern that they do look like legitimate lookers, then don't waste the police's time, but if they look at all suspicious, definitely do call!

We never recommend buyers go to properties without us. Even if a property is vacant, it is trespassing to go there without permission, and since vacant homes are, unfortunately sometimes hit by vandals and thieves, it is NOT good to be there without permission or escort. For your own safety.

Your realtor has, or can get, permission. It is just better and more secure that way, for everyone.

We put "By Appointment Only" on our listings, so people should NOT feel free to poke around on their own.
Old 11-23-2018, 07:59 PM
2,780 posts, read 2,832,937 times
Reputation: 3219
A couple years ago there were several houses in the area that were vacant and up for sale (I think a couple had been foreclosed). A neighbor saw someone walking around looking in windows, ringing doorbell. She called the local deputies who came by to check thing out. The two people were detained and later charged with arson on empty houses elsewhere in the county. There had been no leads on the other houses until the two were detained.

Yea there may be 'window shoppers' who want to buy the house but around here he have had trouble with people stripping copper, compressors and hot water heaters out of vacant houses as well as some just plain malicious folks. Call the police if you have ANY concerns.
Old 11-23-2018, 09:02 PM
Location: Florida -
8,324 posts, read 10,107,012 times
Reputation: 15313
Part of the point of placing a for sale sign in the yard of a vacant house - is to let lookers know the vacant house is for sale. Most serious lookers driving in an area would feel reasonably free to at least stop and look at the outside of the property, before deciding to contact the listing realtor ... or their own. There is nothing that automatically requires all 'lookers' to be accompanied by a realtor.

Even though you may feel a little disconcerted or concerned, this is an inherent problem with simply posting a sign in the yard of an obviously vacant property.
Since it's the middle of the day and their car is parked in front of the house and they are not doing anything suspicious (except, perhaps, opening a shed), the notion that "they don't look like potential buyers" is hardly a reason to contact the police or otherwise overreact.

If anything, you might step out and ask them what they are doing or if they have contacted the realtor. Otherwise, you might express your concern to the realtor or give them a quick call and ask if they are aware there have been drive-by lookers at the property. (Does the sign already say, "shown by appointment only?" - If not, you might ask the realtor about adding that).
Old 11-23-2018, 09:10 PM
7,621 posts, read 17,760,409 times
Reputation: 8139
"Hi, my neighbor's alarm company just called because the alarm has gone off. Due to the home being on the market, we are the 1st POC when the alarm is triggered. Anytime someone puts their face to the windows, it triggers the alarm. Please do me a favor and scram......" okay, the ending needs work, but almost anyone with half a conscience will back off..
Old 11-24-2018, 08:32 AM
3,274 posts, read 1,896,081 times
Reputation: 3614
I've checked out houses for sale that were vacant. I've walked around, looked in windows, and even taken pix. My car is right there in plain sight, usually with my keys in it. Last year I spent an hour exploring a property and taking pix, as it was early in the morning and I wasn't able to talk to anyone yet. I've sometimes stopped on a bike ride so I think that's even less threatening. I've never opened doors though.

When my next door neighbor died and her house went up for a ridiculously low price, it was attracting a lot of "interesting" people. One lady showed up with a bunch of kids and tried to open the lock box for the key, and wasn't able to. I did call the realtor then and let them know what was happening. Another time, an agent couldn't figure out how to lock the back door so I went over and did it after they left, and called the realtor about that as well.

I've never called the police though, it's usually pretty obvious people are checking the house out to see if they want to pursue it further.
Old 11-24-2018, 08:58 AM
Location: Alexandria, VA
10,799 posts, read 19,215,346 times
Reputation: 14881
Originally Posted by SmartMoney View Post
"Hi, my neighbor's alarm company just called because the alarm has gone off. Due to the home being on the market, we are the 1st POC when the alarm is triggered. Anytime someone puts their face to the windows, it triggers the alarm. Please do me a favor and scram......" okay, the ending needs work, but almost anyone with half a conscience will back off..
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