I know this issue varies from community to community and neighborhood. On Oahu we have a new problem to deal with. The stealing copper is becoming a major problem. Drug users have begun to climb under vacant homes and saw off the copper plumbing to sell for scrap metal. I have been lucky so far not to have it happen on any of my listings, but it happened to two of the listings from our office in the last few months.
Believe it or not, thieves climbed under the homes, turned off the water and sawed off the pipes one by one and removed all of the copper they could. In one case the buyers came to do their final walk-thru and could figure out why the garden hose wouldn't work. That cost $3500 to the seller or his insurance company to fix.
On one of my listings another Realtor was managing the property for several years, which was across the road from a major surfing beach. The owners hired a contractor to come in and make needed renovations so I could list and sell the home. The first evening after the contractor started to set up, thieves broke in and stole not only his tools, but the major appliances from the home. Fortunately the major appliances were to be replaced anyway. During the renovations the contractor had workers sleep at the home. Before signing the listing I had an alarm company secure the home and place signage appropriately to keep would be burglars off the property.
One of the things I do that many agents do not do is I meet the neighbors. They are our best line of defense, especially if they are retired or stay at home types. I let them know the home is vacant and if they see anything suspicious please call me and or the police. I leave my refrigerator magnet with them. Those magnets have helped me sell a few homes. Many times they have a friend or relative looking to buy or sell in the neighborhood. I also got a call one evening when the neighbor noticed that the last Realtor to show the home left it wide open. I drove to the home, locked it up and set the alarm. I also left a thank you card and a small gift for the neighbor the next day.
I make sure the home is secure and check on it on a regular basis. If possible I have my seller's install a security alarm system. It is also a selling feature for buyers. When agents do a showing I have a separate alarm code created for them so we can monitor who comes and goes. I change that code regularly. (In Hawaii we do not use electronic lock boxes.)
This year my State representative asked for feed back on bills we think she should work on. I suggested a law requiring the metal recyclers to keep records of people selling copper and aluminum, the same way we require pawn shops to do. She had the same concern was already working on it. If it makes it to committee I plan to testify for the law change and will be soliciting other Realtors and community groups to do the same.
I know that we are selling and marketing homes. But if the home is vandalized or worse you will not have anything to sell and your clients will be hurt. As their representatives we need to advise them and do our due diligence to ensure their property is a safe as possible.
Randy L. Prothero, REALTOR®
Broker-in-Charge, ABR, AHWD, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, MRP, SFR
Team Leader - "The Prothero Group"
Randy Prothero is well established as an expert in working with military / VA clients and first time home buyers. His home seller's (listing) campaign is one of the most aggressive marketing programs in the area. His luxury home listings sell faster and for more money.
Based out of Mililani, Hawaii. Randy services the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) Performs mediations and ombudsman services for the Board of Realtors. To improve overall professionalism in his area Randy also offers classes for real estate agents.