Real estate agents using extra caution - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Real estate agents using extra caution

July 25, 2003

Valdosta - Glenda Hyatt has been a real estate agent for two years. In this business, showing homes to strangers is a daily routine.

But lately, she's thought twice before meeting a customer at a home. "We've been a little more alert and cautious," said Hyatt.

Female real estate agents in Valdosta, Melbourne and Daytona Beach, Florida, and Brunswick have been robbed by a man posing as a potential home buyer. "He tied them up and took their jewelry, money, and ATM cards," said Sheriff Ashley Paulk.

The suspect's description is the same in all the cases. "He's about 300-350 pounds, 6'4, dark hair and eyes," said Paulk.

Glenda says the string of robberies has local agents taking extra steps to protect themselves. "There is no sale worth the risk of your safety," said Hyatt.

Real estate agents say a good way to stay safe in this business is to make an office appointment with the customer before ever meeting at a home. "They have to fill out a lot of paperwork to get pre-qualified, and it could take a few days before they can actually see the house," said Hyatt. "If they're a serious buyer, they'll wait to see the house."

And if you're still not comfortable being alone with the client, ask someone to go with you. "You can always travel in pairs with another agent, or ask your broker to go with you," said Hyatt.

Investigators have several leads, and hope they're close to ending the real estate robbery spree. Until they do, Glenda will take extra precaution to make sure she doesn't become a victim.

posted at 1:00 by ashley.harper@walb.com

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