Sonoma Housing Bubble

Pulling the cork out of Sonoma's bubbly housing foolishness

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sticky Fingered Agent

"In Sonoma County's competitive housing market, homeowners not only have to deal with the stress of selling their homes, they also have to worry about someone stealing their stuff."

"While real estate agents have always warned sellers to lock away valuables from potential sticky-fingered buyers, one recent incident highlights a danger from the other side - the agent herself."

"Lori Bye, a north Sonoma County real estate sales agent, is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday after admitting to burglarizing a Windsor house she was supposed to be showing."

"The homeowners told Sonoma County sheriff's detectives that Bye asked them to vacate for a short time while she showed the house to a potential buyer. The owners said they sat in a car a few doors down and saw Bye arrive alone and leave alone after a brief stay."

"Bye, 41, was arrested in March when the homeowners reported 10 bottles of prescription drugs were missing after she was seen leaving."

"Most crimes involving real estate agents are actually targeted at the agent, said Julie Hunter, who owns Hunter Prestige Properties."In 17 years of business in this county, I've never even had a smidgen of an incident like this," she said."

"More common, she said, are violent attacks on agents.In June, a violent assault on a Napa real estate agent who thought she was meeting a potential buyer at a vacant house prompted a regionwide safety warning from the North Bay Association of Realtors."

"Law enforcement agents say such crimes - whether by agents or by would-be buyers - may be underreported because homeowners might not notice the missing property quickly."

"The Bye case is reminiscent of the 1980s case of the "lockbox burglar," who was sentenced to six years in prison after being convicted of 10 counts of burglary and nine counts of theft.The burglar and an accomplice, both licensed real estate agents, were believed to have used passkeys on lockboxes installed on homes listed for sale."

"Both had their real estate licenses revoked, which is likely what will occur in the Bye case, state Department of Real Estate spokesman Tom Pool said. Bye, who also worked under the name Lori Monette, had been let go from at least two other real estate companies after questions arose about missing medications at homes she'd visited, according to court documents."

"The state regulatory agency fingerprints agents as part of the licensing process and receives information from law enforcement agencies and the courts when an agent is arrested and convicted.Last year, the agency revoked 439 licenses, out of about 500,000 agents statewide, according to department statistics."

"Having a "substantially related criminal conviction" is among the most common reasons for revocation, he said.Of 12 revocations in the past quarter in the department's Oakland region, which includes Sonoma County, 11 were for such convictions."


At 9/21/2006 05:00:00 PM , Anonymous tom stone said...

the good news about lockboxes is that they are now digital,and respond to a digital key that identifies the agent,and the times and dates when it is least here in sonoma far as open houses,all small valuables should be stored safely,which protects you from casual thieves and addicts,but there is no way to be completely safe short of the grave.

At 9/21/2006 08:09:00 PM , Anonymous trailer trash said...

Regarding the junkie Realtor lady who stole prescription drugs from Sonoma County homes she was supposedly showing:

Just for laughs, I entered Realtor + junkie into Google and found a great site: "REAL ESTATE JUNKIE." The funniest part of the site is the PRODUCTS page.

While the real estate investor Boot Camp Class may tell you "how to get started with No Money Down", the course costs $697.00.

"How to Buy Houses" tells you how to receive "a FREE House", but the course costs $497.00. I didn't know it was possible to "create three sources of income from the same house", but this course promises to reveal the secret. Maybe you set up a meth lab in the garage, grow pot plants in the back yard and rent the bedrooms out to prostitutes.

The "TWO DAY BOOT CAMP FOR 2006" sounds a bit pricey at $1,997.00. The cost for the boot camp does include lunch and dinner for both days, so it may turn out to be a real bargain, after all.

Hey, I just noticed that all of these prices end in "97." It must be some kind of Realtor numerology thing, you know, how they make the million dollar listing look bargain-basement cheap by pricing it at $997,000.

At 9/21/2006 09:18:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd rather be stuck in a dark alley with a Lawyer than a Realtor...

At 9/21/2006 10:03:00 PM , Blogger Athena said...

Are you kidding? Me too. Lawyers are better educated and the conversation at least will be worthwhile. One can outsmart you and the other can outsmarm you. you be the judge of which is which. :-D


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