Friday, May 11, 2007

Selling Your Home and Living Elsewhere? Beware of Copper Pipe Thieves

An article on the website by Donna Miller reminded me of this issue. Those of us in the real estate business are very aware and I personally know agents who have had vandalism/pipe theft in their clients' vacant homes. I'm glad three of the thieves in Akron were caught red handed.

What can you do to help protect yourselves? First I suggest alerting your city police or the Cleveland Police District in which your 'for sale' home is located. The police are always saying they will provide some extra neighborhood patrols to help.

Secondly, you might want to have your real estate agent provide keys in their office for other agents to show buyers, as opposed to a lock box. Times are tough and copper pipe provides a decent rate of exchange for thieves. Oh and by the way, hot water heaters have been stolen as well.

If you live in the area, visit your vacant home frequently and at irregular hours. Or have relatives or friends do the same. If a thief is 'casing the joint' they won't be able to establish a pattern of time when no one is ever home.

Keep lights on in the basement and/or other parts of the house. I know it costs money but it's much better than having thousands of dollars in home repairs if something is stolen.

If you have one of those beautiful Cleveland homes with the character of leaded or stained glass included and the house is vacant and for sale? Do not let your agent put a lock box on the door. Seriously. This is another area that experienced a rash of theft about a year ago. Agents from all brokerages networked and the solution we came up with was to not use lock boxes. Your agent can keep keys with them and provide copies at their offices. Just a few tips from the trenches. Peace Out - 3C

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