Summer months are on their way, but higher temperatures mean a different season for REO agents. It’s the time of year when air-conditioning (A/C) units go missing from foreclosed properties.
Oana Sterlacci is a broker and owner of Sellstate Realty Solutions in Las Vegas, Nev. She said thieves target different appliances during different seasons of the year.
“It’s the summer now, and air-conditioners and pool equipment will go. On a hot day in Vegas, there will be open storage units filled with appliances. And the longer these properties sit on the market, the more exposed to vandals they become,” Sterlacci said.
Dan Humston, a broker with Century 21 in Henderson, Nev., also said it’s a huge problem, and the thieves are targeting the copper wiring in the units.
“I have no idea how to prevent it. We cannot exactly chain them down. It’s happening in all neighborhoods,” Humeston said.
South of Vegas, in Arizona, Del Rounds is a broker and owner of RE/MAX Fine Properties in Scottsdale. He’s had an A/C unit go missing at the same home twice.
“There’s no solving the issue other than re-installing the unit one hour before the close of escrow,” Rounds said.
Camille Swanson had actually avoided the issue until thieves took the copper wiring that connected the exterior portion of the unit to the system inside. She’s a broker at Realty Executives in Phoenix, Ariz.
“It was an expensive repair, but the units themselves were intact. There was no barrier to the area where the A/C unit that was burglarized,” Swanson said.
Swanson has since learned the easiest way to prevent the theft of the A/C units is to create a barrier around it, whether it’s a locked gate or wall with no other exterior access.
“A/Cs usually aren’t installed in the front of properties so it’s not like they are right out on the street visible to everyone. Putting up a barrier if none exists may be just an added cost, but I think those costs are outweighed by the additional security gained,” Swanson said. “There are inexpensive ways to do everything. It just takes some creative thinking to come up with the right solution to the problem.”