Friday, August 1, 2008

The Lesson of the Real Estate Rapist Conviction

The recent conviction of Oliver Hooper, the real estate rapist, presents a grim and important lesson for homeowners. In your urge to sell your home, do not throw common sense out the window.

The Lesson of the Real Estate Rapist Conviction

The story of Oliver Hooper offers a lesson for all people selling there homes. Called the real estate rapist, Hooper was a traveling salesman. During a spree that sent shockwaves through the Massachusetts and New Hampshire, Hooper tried to view homes by himself with the intent of sexually assaulting women who were showing the home on their own. In one case, he was successful and was recently sentenced to 80 years for the act. As sad as this is, an important lesson can be taken from it for people selling their homes.

When showing your home, it is vitally important that you keep safety in mind. There are some weird people out there, and you should not unnecessarily risk exposure to them. Bad apples are a very rare event in real estate, but the consequences can be horrendous.

So, what should you do when showing your home? The first step is to make sure you do not show it alone. You should have another family member with you. If you are a single person, you can ask a friend to attend the showing with you. If that is not practical, you should ask a mortgage broker to come to the showing. Mortgage brokers are happy to do so as they like to talk to potential buyers about financing needs. Regardless of how you approach it, make sure you are not alone. Two or more people generally will scare off anyone of dubious character.

The second step is to evaluate the person that asks to see the home. Again, the key is to use your common sense. If they give you the creeps on the phone, refuse to show them the home. You do not have to be rude, just tell them you have an interested buyer and are going to see if it results in a sale.

Finally, it is hard to evaluate people, particularly on the phone. What most sellers forget is that they control the timing of the showing. If your neighborhood is deserted during the work day, set the showing on the weekend. Also, try to show the home to multiple parties at one time. This is safer and creates a potential bidding war that can only benefit you.

Obviously, the real estate rapist represents the worst possible scenario. If you use your common sense and take some precautionary steps, you should not have any problems when showing your property.

Raynor James is with the site - FSBO America - sell your own home and save thousands in real estate agent commissions!

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