NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office is warning real estate agents to be careful when meeting for appointments to show houses.
The warning comes after several real estate agents in Nassau County reported that a man called them and asked to see properties as soon as possible, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
“The man’s manner was very urgent," the Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post Thursday.
The Sheriff’s Office said that when one real estate agent could not meet the man’s last-minute request, he called another agent and immediately requested to see another house. Deputies said both requests were denied.
Deputies now are asking real estate agents to report any suspicious activity by calling the Sheriff’s Office at 904-225-5174.
Keller Williams real estate agent Edwina Burch was not surprised about the warning, as she said she has had a few encounters with potential home buyers that raised red flags.
“Sometimes with real estate, we get a lot of crazy calls," said Burch, who ranks ninth on a list of Florida’s top 100 real estate agents on social media. “I’m 4′11”. I’m a female, and so we always have to be safe, and sometimes we have to take that extra precaution.”
Extra precautions for real estate agents include letting someone in the office know where they are going and who they are planning to show a property to, as well as asking to scan a copy of the potential buyer’s ID so that it’s on record. In addition, agents are encouraged to walk behind potential buyers but still guide them, especially after entering the property.
Burch said she also interviews potential buyers over the phone.
“Depending on the type of phone call I receive, I always try to ask probing questions to see what the buyer is interested in and what is prompting them to buy," Burch said. "Based on our initial conversation, that’s when I will decide if I will go over to the property.”
Burch said that sometimes she will take her husband with her for personal security when showing a property. When he’s not able to join her, Burch said she will meet the potential buyer outside the property while she’s Facetiming with her husband. She explained she’ll introduce the potential buyer to her husband and then say goodbye to him, but by letting her husband see the potential buyer’s face and the location, the hope is that the potential buyer will have second thoughts if they are thinking about doing anything.
Burch said Keller Williams is really good about providing its real estate agents with enough training on how to avoid situations that could place them in harm’s way, and she and her fellow agents take that training to heart.