How to Be a Safe Real Estate Investor

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We know that we never take a seller's word when they tell us the amount of their mortgage balance, or their monthly payments, or their interest rate. (We confirm all of this by using the "authorization to release information" form. By using this form and doing our due diligence, we are protecting ourselves financially from doing a "bad deal". But what about our personal safety? What about protecting us from physical harm?

I've been in many "shady" places as an investor. I've walked through vacant, boarded up houses at 1:00 in the morning with nothing but a flashlight (but it was the huge Maglite that's about 2 feet long and takes 6 D batteries). The most important word of advice that I can give you is to trust your instincts. Instincts are very powerful and when the hair rises on the back of your neck, you know that something's not right.

There's only been two occasions in my investing career that I did not go into someone's house. One time I was in Baltimore City and I had just finished up a deal in a neighborhood that I really liked. It was a beautiful day outside, so I decided to go knock on other doors to see if anyone else wanted to sell their house.

When I was approaching one house, a bunch of HUGE guys were out in the yard. I gave them my "pitch" about how I was looking for houses in the area, yadda, yadda, yadda. They seemed interested and invited me to the basement to see the house. Now let me think about this one...a bunch of HUGE guys invite me into the basement...probably not a good idea (plus, I had a bad feeling). I obviously declined and gathered the property information while we talked in the yard.

The second occasion was pretty similar to the first, and happened in Fredericksburg, VA. I was doing work at a place I owned and one of the neighbors came and asked if I would buy their house. Something was not right with this person and I didn't go into his house either.

So besides trusting your gut, what else can you do? Well, I always carry a knife on me. It's a small pocket knife with a clip, which I can clip to the inside of my jeans pocket. If I get in a "scary" situation I can quickly take out the knife to protect myself. Also, as I mentioned above, when I'm in vacant houses I carry a big, metal flashlight which makes a great weapon.

Another important thing you can do is to let someone know where you're going. If you're going to meet with a seller, give your spouse or a friend the address of the property. Let them know that you have a 7:00 appointment that night at the address and if you're not home by 9:00, they should come looking for your body.

In all seriousness, no deal is worth your life, so be safe out there and use GOOD JUDGEMENT!

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Jason R. Hanson has 1 articles online

Jason R. Hanson is the founder of National Real Estate Investor Month, author of "How to Build a Real Estate Empire" and mentor to students all across America. To get a FREE copy of Jason's Special Report "The Insider's Guide To Buying Your First Investment Property in 83 Days or Less!" visit or call 800-865-1702.

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How to Be a Safe Real Estate Investor

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This article was published on 2010/03/31