Open house creates great opportunity for homeowners to sell the property for the best possible prices. But not everyone coming through your door is interested in buying your property. While some may come solely for a peek inside to satisfy their curiosity, others may target at your valuable assets.
Christina, a newcomer from China contacted Chinese News telling her heart wrenching experience at an open house hosted by her real estate agent with Royal LePage. According to Christina, when open house was over, she came back home shockingly discovered that her whole jewellery box –which was concealed behind the closet-- were mysteriously disappeared. Christina estimated that the total value of the lost assets were about $300,000.
“Most of the jewelleries were from my ancestors and passed down from generations to generations, so they had very high emotional and sentimental worth,” says Christina, who believed that it was stolen by thieves during the open house.
Christina contacted the police immediately. At the police station, she also learned that a similar incident occurred in the nearby area on the same day.
The thefts from open houses have taken place in communities across much of the GTA. Toronto Star reported in 2010 that Durham police had recovered 500 stolen properties in $500,000 assets, a value much higher over their original estimates. Incidents of open house theft have constantly been reported by newspapers. In some cases, thieves used technology – including small hand-held metal detectors to find where jewelry was being kept in the houses.
Some homeowners were lucky enough to have their stolen assets recovered by the police, after an Oshawa couple was charged with stealing antiques, jewellery, coins and other valuable items from open houses in the GTA. More than $50,000 worth of recovered assets has been returned to victims.
Christina seems not among those lucky homeowners who have got their property recovered. She has taken legal actions alleging that the agent at the open house breached his duty of care by failing to keep track of visitors and to safeguard the assets in her property. But the agent denies any responsibilities in the incident, pointing out that a legal clause in the Listing Agreement protects them from any liabilities during the open house-- including theft.
While real estate agents may not be at fault under the law, there are cases where agents or their company made compensations for the homeowners' loss. Brenda Potter-Phelan, whose jewellery was stolen during a 2012 open house, was compensated by her agent. The goodwill gesture has been widely reported in the news media.
Christina的房地产经纪以及Royal LePage公司是否也会以类似的善意姿态，令身为老客户的Christina提供一些补偿以令其满意呢？Royal LePage公司在回复《大中报》询问的电邮声明中称：“鉴于本案诉讼正在进行中，我们目前无法发表具体评论。Royal LePage的品牌是建立在信任和诚信的基础上，我们会认真地对待Royal LePage客户所提出的问题。”
Would Christina’s agent and Royal LePage show similar goodwill gesture by offering some compensation to Christina, to make her, a repeating client satisfied? The company responded to Chinese News inquiry in an emailed statement: “The matter is currently in litigation and therefore we cannot comment on specifics at this time. Royal LePage brand is based on trust and integrity and we take very seriously any concerns expressed by Royal LePage clients.”
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