5 Tips to Help Maintain your Safety When you are in a Vacant Property

Happy New Year! I hope you rang in the new year with optimism, ambition and love. Now is the time to take advantage of the opportunities you may have neglected last year. As a person who buys properties at the tax deed auctions, I am in and out of vacant houses all the time. One issues that I am always asked about is security. How do you maintain your safety when you are in a vacant property? Because the house is empty there may be no one checking on the property to make sure vagrants, squatters or unwanted people stay out.

Is it a good idea to enter a vacant house alone? The answer is NO. I try to make sure I have someone with me at all times when I am looking at vacant properties.
What happens if no one is available to go see the properties with you? If no one can go with me the next best option I chose is to ask a neighbors that you already know. If you are alone nosey neighbors can work to your advantage. They are watching everything that is going on in the neighborhood and often they know more about that house then anyone else on the block. Picking the right neighbor is a judgment call because you don’t want to pick a person who may bring more harm than good. I always say hello and strike up a short conversation with the neighbors to let them I know will be in the house. When all else fails and no one is available I try to check in with a loved one to let them know where I am and the situation, that way they will check on me if they don’t hear back.

There’s also an app for that! Seriously, there is an app for your smartphone that was built for real estate agents but works just as well for real estate investors. AgentArmor is an app that puts mobile security in the palm of your hands. It has settings for showing properties, open houses, listings etc. The app allows you to record a voice memo of where you are, the vehicle description of who you are meeting at the property and even allows you to captures a copy of the driver’s license of who you are showing the property to at that time.

All the data is uploaded to the AgentArmor servers and in case of an emergency it is shared with your office, another contact and law enforcement. The app checks-in with you later and at that time you are asked to enter a pin to let it know you are ok. If everything is not ok, you tap call 911. If you don’t check-in the prescribed time period your emergency contacts are notified via text and email as well as the cops. GPS coordinates are sent so police can respond in case of an emergency.

This isn’t just for women… The app’s youtube video states that 30% of all crimes to realtors are committed against male realtors. You can download the app in the apps store on your smartphone or go to their website or youtube channel for details. It’s available right now in the Google Play and the Apple’s App Store.

Another important safety tip when you are inside of a home with someone you don’t know is to always maintain a direct access to the exit. Don’t let anyone stand between you and a door. If you have to flee the area you want direct access to the exits. Never let anyone stand between you and any exit in a house.

Beware of your surroundings and maintain a confident posture. Keep an eye out for potential danger. Beware of who may be watching you. The bad guys (or girls) see you coming long before you see them. Always make direct eye contact with people. Walk with confidence even if you lack it because people can sense fear. You know that saying, ‘fake it until you make it.’ That applies here too.

Tip# 5
I recently bought a keychain called the Munio self defense key chain. It was created by a martial arts instructor. It is a non-lethal and there are no legal restrictions so you can carry it anywhere. The keychain’s innocent and attractive appearance makes it easy to carry. If attacked you can use it a defensive weapon. There are similar products on the market place like the Kuboton.
Wishing you a Safe and Happy New Year! In addition to being the immediate Past President of CFRI, Sandra Edmond is also a Realtor ® and a licensed real estate agent with Matrix International Realty. She has been buying tax deeds & liens full time since 2004, a CFRI Success Team & Lifetime member and is known as the Queen Of Tax Deeds. Visit her at BuyingTaxDeeds.com or ArdnasInc.com for more safety tips and information.