Tips for Safe Rental Property Showings

Tip-Top Tips for Safe Rental Property Showings

Showing homes to complete strangers these days can be a very dangerous proposition.  In 2010, the latest year for which the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) has released statistics, there were 63 workplace fatalities in the real estate industry.  In 2010, 940 workers in the real estate and rental and leasing category, which includes but is not exclusive to real estate agents, were victims of a nonfatal assault, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, up from 620 in 2009 and 170 in 2008.  These statistics help to illustrate how dangerous the real estate industry can be and that safety is of paramount importance while showing homes.  This week Real Property Management Select is going to provide you with some helpful tips and preventative measures for a safe showing.  These are great tips for real estate agents, leasing agents, property managers, and even those that prefer to show and manage their own properties.

1. Develop and implement a system of communication with your home office.

In short, let everyone know where you are going to be.  In our office at Real Property Management Select we have a calendar that shows what everyone in the office is doing throughout the day.  Whether you are using iCalendar, Google Calendar, or Outlook, everyone in your office should have their calendars synced.  It is a great tool for real estate agents, leasing agents, and property managers alike to let everyone know where they are throughout the day.

If you are headed to a particularly bad or dangerous area check in with someone in the office before and after the appointment just to let everyone know you are safe.  If you are a private owner trying to rent your home call your husband, wife, or loved one.

2.  Create a dress code.  

When showing property you definitely want to wear shoes and clothing that are conducive to business and safety.  This means no high heels, no
provocative clothing, no fancy jewelry, and no handbags or purses.

Wear tactical shoes.  You want shoes that you can run and kick in if you need to.

Don’t wear provocative clothing.  You can still look professional and fashionable but you don’t want to wear anything too provocative.

Leave the fancy jewelry at home and leave your purses or handbags in the car.  Just bring what you absolutely need to the showing.  Bring your keys and your phone, and the rest can wait safely in your car.  You don’t want to give any would-be attackers the chance to steal your valuables.

3.  Familiarize yourself with the property’s floor plan and determine how you would escape.

If you are showing a home for the first time make sure to show up a little bit early so you have a chance to familiarize yourself with the property.  Take a walk around the exterior of the home and watch for signs of occupancy (broken windows, lights on inside, personal belongings, furniture, cigarette butts, or alcohol bottles).  Since you are there early you can also check if you have cell phone reception.  You want to make sure you will be able to call for help if trouble arises.

After walking the exterior and determining it is safe, you can now walk the interior.  You want know all of your exits.  If you feel unsafe at anytime just stand with your back to the door and let the prospective tenants/buyers walk the property by in front of you.  Use your gut feeling and trust it!

Escalation of Force

Now that we have covered how to avoid or prevent possibly dangerous situations that can arise during a showing we can go into escalation of force.  If a situation starts to escalate it can become dangerous very quickly.

  1. EVADE – If you feel a situation is starting to escalate beyond your control your first action should be to leave the area and avoid any possible conflict.  Flee to a safe zone and make the necessary calls to get help.
  2. SHOW YOURSELF – The mere presence of an authority figure can work to deter crime or diffuse a situation.  No force is necessary.  You just need to show yourself in a confident manner and demeanor.  Use eye contact while being observant of your surroundings and staying alert.
  3. VERBALIZATION – If at all possible, calmly diffuse a situation by issuing calm, nonthreatening requests.
  4. PHYSICAL – Only do what’s reasonably necessary to defend yourself.  Use a level of force to match the level of force being used in the threat.
  5. PEPPER SPRAY OR STUN GUN – Pepper spray or a stun gun should only be used as a last resort.  Taking a class on how to safely operate these devices is highly recommended.

Thank you for reading Real Property Management Select’s “Tips for a safe showing”.  We hope you can include these tips and preventative measures into your daily routine to make your showings just a little bit safer.  For more informative and interesting property management blog articles, check out the Real Property Management Blog.

Renters Beware: Know the Signs of Rental Scams

Protect yourself from rental scams. Know the signs of rental fraud.

So you need to move and you are looking for a nice new rental property to call home. In your scanning of the various online rental sources you find a beautiful home on Craigslist. A 4 bed 2 and ½ bath home with 2300 square feet and a 3 car garage in Green Valley of Fairfield for $1400 a month. You contact the owner/listing agent to schedule a showing. A very nice gentleman tells you all about the property, but unfortunately he is out of the country and cannot show you in person. But you are in luck. He loves the sound of your voice and just knows you are the right person for his beloved home. He is ready to give you a 12-month lease. All you need to do is wire him the $2800 for security deposit and first months rent and he will send you the keys to move in.

That sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? That’s because it is; just one of the many rental scams that are currently present in our market. How do you avoid falling prey to one of these many scams? If you know what to look for and make sure you gather all the needed information regarding your potential rental, you can greatly reduce your chances of defraud during your rental search.

The situation above is a pretty obvious example of a rental scam, specifically because it should raise multiple red flags to the consumer.

Here is a list of some of the tell tale signs of a rental scam:

Market Price

There could be hundreds of available properties to rent out in your area. One of the most common ways to promote your product or service over your competitors is to be a better value than your competition. That usually means more services or a better product at a lower rate.

Luckily for our scam artists, over head is relatively low when you do not actually have a product or service, and you are posting on a free listing site. That means they can post a home for a ridiculously low rental rate to get their ad noticed and hopefully get a victim so enticed by the value that they won’t notice the other questionable items throughout the leasing process.

The best way to protect yourself from this tactic is to know the market rental price for the home you are interested in. If you see a home that is listed at 25%-50% below similar homes in the area, be careful. You can get a basic idea of the value of similar homes in the area by using websites like or You may also be able to find a suggested rental price for the particular home you are looking at by searching the address on


There are some legitimate reasons why a home will be unavailable for showings. There could be tenants still living at the property, the home is having some maintenance work that is yet to be completed, or the owner/leasing agent is temporarily unavailable. There is no reason for you to rush into a lease agreement or make any payments towards the property until you have had a chance to view the property. If a home you are interested in is currently unavailable for showing, you should not make any payments to the owner/property manager (besides an application fee if applicable) until the home has been made available for you to view.

You could also drive by the property. Not only is it a good idea to get a first hand look at the neighborhood, but if the home is being listed by a Property Management Company then there should also be a sign out front of the home. If you find a different number on the sign than what was listed in the online ad, you should call the phone number listed on the sign to confirm you are in contact with the correct agency.

Office Location

If a Property Management company is listing the home they should have an office in the local area. Even if the office is in a near by town it would be beneficial to take a visit to the office. If you can confirm the rental property information from the local staff, you will have eliminated a large portion of the potential scams. It is also helpful to find out whom you will be working with once you move in.

Cash or Money Transfer/Wire

Many North Bay and Sacramento property management companies will not even accept cash. You could imagine the threat risk for a legitimate business office to have hundreds of tenants sending in thousands of dollars each to the same location, around the same time each month. For that reason, most offices will require payment via check, cashiers check, or money order. The scam artists would rather not go through the extra work of having to identify themselves to cash your check, cashiers check, or money order. They would much prefer cash or better yet, have the money directly deposited into one of their foreign bank accounts via money transfer or money wire. You should have already had personal contact with the owner/Property Manager and have access to the Lease before any payments are made. The lease should specify what funds are acceptable for both the initial payment and for the future monthly rental payments.


Wherever there is successful commerce, there will be the potential for fraud. Knowing what to look for and how to proceed will go a long way in helping you avoid the potential fraud. As detailed above, the best way to avoid a potential scam is by getting as much information as possible from the Owner/Property Manager, physically walking the potential rental property, visiting the Property Management office (if applicable), reviewing the lease before making any payments, and paying with a personal check, cashiers check, or money order. For some more information on rental fraud and how to spot/avoid it, check out, or