I found this one in a recent issue of The Real Estate Professional. A vacant house in Jupiter, Florida had been on the market for two years. In January, a woman and her children moved into the $750,000 house, removed the sign, and put the utilities in her name. The problem was that she never bought or leased the house. She not only moved her furniture into the 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom house, but she also decorated it. It wasn’t until several months later that the listing agent bothered to stop by to check on the house and discovered the squatter. Police removed her from the house (perhaps she’ll get some more rent-free living at the county jail).
As a Realtor, I find the fact the listing agent went months without checking on the house as appalling as the squatter moving into it. When I list a vacant house in the Austin area, I walk through the house each week. I’m not there to perform an inspection, but I am looking to make sure that everything looks as it should. I verify that all doors are locked, that the thermostat hasn’t been changed, the lawn has been mowed, and a variety of other things. If you have a house to sell, and it is or will be vacant, contact me at 512-650-7300, by email, or the form below. I think you’ll find that I am one of the few Realtors that regularly visit vacant listings.