SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) — A case of strange behavior in a potential buyer has prompted the Realtor Association of Southeastern Massachusetts to warn its members to take safety precautions when showing homes.
Some agents have reported that an unknown male buyer has acted strangely in encounters over the past week. The man comes by himself, and his car has Rhode Island license plates. The association said at one point this week, an agent found the man in a closet during an open house. Another time, the male buyer reportedly asked the agent to go down into the basement ahead of the buyer. In both cases, the agent walked out of the house and the buyer left without saying anything further.
Filomena Silva, an agent for RE/MAX ELITE in Seekonk, said Friday she’s had some close calls over her nine years in the industry with people who purported to be a home buyer. She’s recently changed the way she interacts with potential clients to increase her own safety.
“I found myself getting calls and going in and out of basements with these guys,” she said. With one client, “I sold him a home — come to find out, I’m getting a call from the police saying, have I had any contact with him recently because he was in trouble.”
The Realtor Association issued these recommendations:
1. You should NEVER meet anyone who you don’t know in a non-public area the first time you’re meeting them
2. If it is in the evening or the property is secluded, try to have a second agent or family member go to the appointment with you
3. Never park in the driveway, which could allow someone to box you in
4. Leave your valuables, pocketbook, and jewelry in the trunk of your car. Only have the property file and your cell phone handy
5. Always insist that the customer walks in front of you and never go down to the basement or up to the attic alone
6. MOST IMPORTANTLY, if you begin to feel uncomfortable or the showing seems to be taking a strange turn, trust your instincts. Have any excuse to go back to your car and call 911 and your office manager
7. Once the incident is over, contact the RASEM board, which is tracking incidents and may send out additional advisories