So just last week, a male real estate professional was attacked in a two-bedroom apartment with LOTS of other people close by, and he almost didn’t live to tell the tale. It’s a dangerous world out there for real estate professionals – and investors in particular – folks, and you have got to be alert. REI Today’s Scam Alert List is a great way to stay informed about the latest scams, cons, and attack tactics that the worst of the worst who are targeting OUR PROFESSION are using to hurt you physically and financially. Sign up now at www.rei.today/scamalert (one word) and you’ll immediately get access not only to our 2016 Red Flag Report that identifies the most common “tells” that a contractor or other real estate professional is out to get you, but you’ll also receive our Real Estate Investor Safety Guide, an ebook dedicated to helping you keep yourself safe without sacrificing your access to deals and your ability to turn a profit. Go to www.rei.today/scamalert (one word) and sign up for these valuable resources and ongoing alerts about safety and security right now.
Now, here’s what happened to this real estate professional and how you can prevent it from happening to you. This guy, he lives in Milwaukee, was ready for a routine showing at an apartment complex. Now, just a quick side note right here: he had several things working in his favor (you’d think) before he ever stepped in the door of the property. For starters: he’s a guy. You hear all the time how women should never show alone, but men do it all the time and no one really points out that it’s not really that safe for a guy to show alone either. And in this instance, the guy’s wife was waiting for him in the car, probably making him feel even more as if he had covered his safety bases. Furthermore, the agent was showing an apartment. BY DEFINITION, an apartment is kind of in the middle of a populated area. It’s not like a vacant house in a blighted neighborhood. I probably wouldn’t have thought much about showing that property on my own either. After all, there are residents all over the place, right? Well, turns out, NO.
So let’s keep going. This Milwaukee real estate professional gets to this routine showing of a two-bedroom apartment and he meets a young woman who is allegedly a prospective tenant and he goes inside where he is PROMPTLY AMBUSHED by two masked gunman, one of whom was hiding in the bathroom. They whacked him over the head with their guns, stole his wallet, iPhone, and wedding ring, and then, fortunately, fled the scene instead of killing him. And they’re still at large, and now they know just how easy this is to pull off.
So what went wrong, and how can you protect yourself from a threat that is likely to be replicated over and over again in our industry? Well, the investor himself said that if he’d checked the property out before entering, he’d have realized that it wasn’t secure. After all, the gunmen had to break in to set up the ambush. If he’d checked the locks on the doors before entering, he’d have realized something was amiss. This is even more important when you’re showing a home, since there are more entry points than in an apartment. Broken windows, jimmied locks, and unlocked, open doors or windows are all signs that someone might be inside, and you should proceed with caution.
Want to get more information on this and other related real estate crimes? Well, be sure to sign up for our REI Today Scam Alert List to make sure you don’t miss anything that represents a threat to your physical or financial safety. Go to ww.rei.today/scamalert to join. And remember, we’ve got lots of safety-oriented information in the REI Today Vault as well, so you can text REI Today to 33444 to make sure you’re on the list for our reports and analyses, breaking news, great trainings, news coverage, interviews, and lot more timely information that will help make your investing safer, faster, and more profitable. I particularly recommend you check out the interview I did recently with a real estate expert who still “door knocks” (to great effect, I might add) to find deals. He addressed how his family handles the safety issue associated with that practice in a vault item titled “Bill Twyfords UNCUT Interview.”
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REI Nation, thanks for listening in and always remember this:
Your best investment is your own education.
Carole Ellis is the host of Real Estate Investing Today, a popular 9-minute daily podcast focused on educating real estate investors about the important topics that will make their investing SAFER, FASTER, and MORE PROFITABLE. She's also the editor of the Bryan Ellis Investing Letter. She has more than a decade's worth of experience in and reporting on the real estate industry and, additionally, has written dozens of courses on the topic. Carole lives in Kennesaw with her husband, Bryan, and four children. She believes wholeheartedly that your best investment is always your OWN education.