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Tip #195: Be Careful Out There

The death of a landlord whose body was discovered inside a vacant Houston area rental property last week serves as a solemn reminder of the risks real estate professionals face while maintaining or showing vacant rental properties.

Criminals may seek out  ‘for rent’, ‘for sale’ or ‘open house’ signs because these properties are easy to scope out and can provide cover to commit crimes like robbery, assault — or in this case, an apparent auto theft.

To ensure your safety when visiting vacant properties, adopt a few precautions, like these:

Before touring the property, familiarize yourself with the lay of the land — know the escape routes, if it comes down to that.

Let someone else know your schedule.

Keep window shades open.

Avoid showing properties after dark.

Carry a cellphone  and stay on the line with someone during tours.

Beware the stranger who comes to the door to tour a property.

See last week’s Landlord Quick Tip.

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