Jack Russell Terrier Snarling --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Originally Posted on January 25, 2016 by John Dessauer

Operating a real estate investment business can be a very rewarding career, but just like any other job, there can be occupational hazards. Personal safety is an issue that should always be a real estate investor’s prime concern, especially when investigating a new property that might be vacant or in a somewhat challenged area.

While touring a property for potential investment purposes, especially if the property is a foreclosure, it is quite possible that the homeowners (or other investors for that matter! Lol) can be less than friendly. This can be true even if they don’t legally own the property anymore. Some homeowners may be downright hostile and threatening to anyone who shows interest in purchasing the property. Always try to remain neutral and be ready to walk away quickly from such a situation. It is never wise to argue.

Other dangers may lurk on a property as well, such as aggressive pets, or criminal activities on the premises. This could include such things as the manufacture, use or sale of drugs, since criminals typically target vacant houses for these purposes. If a house has been abandoned for some time and squatters are living there, this could be a potentially dangerous situation for a real estate investor interested in looking the property over. Squatters can be drug dealers, sex offenders, or even mentally ill.

Watch for signs of wild animals that could have invaded abandoned houses. Infestations of bees or snakes are another potential threat. If the house is in a state of serious disrepair there could structural damage that could cause an accident to the unwary. Watch where you step and be careful of tripping hazards.

If you want to investigate an abandoned property for investment purposes, don’t go alone. Always inform others of your destination, how long you expect to be there, and what time you expect to return. Visit the property during broad daylight. If you see anything remotely suspicious, immediately leave the property and call the police.

If the property is in a bad section of town be sure you have plenty of gas and have clear directions how to get to your destination. As you approach the property check carefully to see if there is anyone loitering nearby. Are there other people nearby going about their business or is the area suspiciously quiet?

Park your car in a fully visible location and make sure all doors are locked. Don’t leave items in the car that would tempt a break-in, such as a briefcase. Don’t leave anything important in the trunk of the car and carry as little as possible of money or credit cards. Also, don’t wear expensive jewelry that could attract the attention of a thief.

Have a strategy ready if you encounter trouble with a threatening person. For instance, you could have a code phrase that you can text to an associate to indicate you are in a dangerous situation. Your associate can then alert the police. Have important numbers already programmed into your cell phone to save time. Some real estate investors carry pepper spray to deter a human or animal aggressor. Our students receive with our ELITE program and higher, a bulletproof vest, a machete, and an armored vehicle. Just kidding… wanted to make sure you were paying attention. J But they do receive awesome stuff!

“Remember, wealth has nothing to do with money, success has everything to do with failure, and life is as simple as you make it!” – John Dessauer