Guest Blogger: Are You Risking Your Personal Safety? with Andy Tolbert,

If you’ve been following the tragic story of Cincinnati-area landlords Bobby Jones and Crystal Warner,
you know that landlords and real estate entrepreneurs of every description need to be more aware of their personal safety in today’s world.

Tonight at 5 p.m. on Public Radio’s Real Life Real Estate Investing, Andy Tolbert of will talk about personal safety and how you can minimize risk when interacting with buyers, sellers, tenants, contractors, and others.

If you miss it, you can catch up on all the Real Life Real Estate Investing shows at — and make sure you

Here’s an Article Andy Wrote About Personal Safety:

It might be the last think you’ve considered as part of your investing strategy, but I want you to realize that nothing else matters if your life is endangered.  You can have all the money in the world, a successful business, have everything you own tied up in trusts… none of it matters when a knife is at your throat.

I’m an investor.  I’m a Realtor®.  I’ve been both for 18 years now.  My investing activities have put me in more scary situations than my Realtor®-ing ever has.  But guess what?  With some simple changes that are EASY to implement, we can eliminate most of the risky situations you might ever face.  To be included in my safety plan, I knew it needed to be easily remembered when needed and could NOT be a major change to my lifestyle, because frankly I’m just not willing to change much.

So first let’s talk about what “safety” is, then we’ll talk about what it’s not.

Safety, at it’s very core, is awareness.  Paying attention to your surroundings, body language, and red flags.  Safety is NOT self-defense.  Safety is all about avoiding the situations from the start.  Self-defense is what you need to resort to when your avoidance didn’t work out so well.

What are the most vulnerable times for an investor?  The top 3 are:

Open Houses.  What other industry puts bandit signs all over the place that basically say “I’m at this house all alone from 12-4, come rob me, and in case you didn’t see the sign I’ll put balloons on it, oh yeah, and I’ll have cookies for you too!”  Open houses can be a criminals dream and your nightmare.  But there are some simple tips to stay safe.

  • NEVER host an open house alone. Get a lender, Realtor, apprentice, anyone to stay there with you.
  • Check to make sure your cell phone has a signal in all areas of the house.
  • Leave your purse, briefcase, and all valuables locked in your trunk.
  • Keep your self-defense tools handy and ready.
  • Don’t let them lure you into a small enclosed room. Make sure you always have an exit.

Showing to potential renters or buyers.  I know a landlord that was meeting a potential female tenant at a vacancy.  Two cars pulled up, blocking him in the driveway, and 8 people got out!  It ends up that it was all of her family that wanted to see the place too, but he didn’t know that at the time.

  • Ask on the phone “and will anyone else be coming with you?”
  • Tell the caller that you’ll have your partner with you (even if you won’t) it will deter some of the people up to no good.
  • Don’t park in the driveway, park in the street where you can get away if needed.
  • If you get ANY uneasy feeling, listen to it.

Driving.  Yes, the more time you spend in your car, the more at risk you are.  Some of the things that are common right now are

  • “Sliding” Make sure to lock your doors at gas pumps. While you’re filling up they steal whatever’s on your front seat.
  • Carjacking at stop-signs, stoplights, or parking lots. Keep your doors locked and windows up.  Get in and out of your car quickly, don’t sit there.
  • Bump & Run. Have you ever been rear-ended?  What we tend to do is get out to assess the damage, usually leaving the car running, the door wide open and our purse in the front seat.  The “bump-ers” partner hops in and steals your car.  Thanks for making it so easy.

On Real Life Real Estate on August 10th,  I’ll be sharing my safety plan with you so you can see just how easy it can be. Some of it might be things you’ve heard before, but I guarantee that you’ll leave with some simple things you can do right away for little or no cost that will send the bad guys running to find an easier target!  We’ll also discuss some of the pros and cons to various self-defense products that are available, and we’ll even have some with us that you can try out for yourself. Listen in at 5 p.m. eastern at

Whether you’re a guy or a gal, young or old, newbie or seasoned, you need to hear this.  Your family needs you to come home safe.

2 Comments on “Guest Blogger: Are You Risking Your Personal Safety? with Andy Tolbert,

  1. I had two incidences. One a guy came to see a remodeled house. He sounded great on the phone but he said he left his 14 year old son at the park a block away.. thought that odd since his son would have a room in this house (if bought). Once the guy was in the house, I felt EXTREMELY uneasy… was glad to get out of there and found out he couldn’t afford anything… $19,000 child support due in Oregon and his son was 13 and wasn’t even in Arkansas AND lied about employment.

    Second case: a tenant, his mother bought the house with my holding loan and gave it to him and he didn’t make any payments… after eviction notice, I saw he tore down my for Sale signs, thinking he wasn’t home went to look in the garbage can for the sign. Walking away he came out yelling at me. Got in the car like I didn’t hear him and started out to turn and see him running toward my car then turning and running back into the house. Thought he was getting his gun as he has one… so I backed half way down the block to get away from him chasing me. Suddenly, I thought this creep is not going to chase me anywhere. Put it in DRIVE and rived up the engine… gave him a heads up and burned tire going straight at him… got a block away and called the cops!

  2. While rehabbing a property, I was AMAZED, and, admittedly, a bit freaked out at the number and variety of people who just walked into the house. I learned to lock the front and back doors, even when my partner was on site. I started to carry my holstered CCW on my person (as opposed to inside my backpack or purse) The other thing I did, I introduced myself to two neighbors once I felt comfortable that they would not become my next safety problem. The neighbors now help keep my property safe.

    Enjoyed Andy’s post, and your interview with Andy. Cooper’s Color Code for Awareness is a good way to summarize being aware. All the precautions in the world won’t consistently nor 100% stop crazy.

    Thank you for addressing a difficult, but very real issue.

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