Women “putting themselves in danger” to sell homes

// 8 May 2008

Shelia’s Wheels, that doyenne of spangly dresses and hairy blokes in drag, has done a survey which found that whilst 55% of women wouldn’t invite a man back to their home* on a first date, 82% would let a male house-viewer into the house whilst they were alone. Apparently 20% had not considered safety issues (they will now) in house-viewings and 63% had not asked estate agents about safety checks on house-viewers.

The message – if something happens, women, it’s your fault, you didn’t consider it, you didn’t ask. After all:

The group also warned that women trying to arrange a sale themselves, such as through the internet, were making themselves vulnerable.

From Channel 4 News

77% of women said safety concerns had to come second to trying to make the house sale. Why might this be? Perhaps because women carry the majority of the burden of household work (including viewings and being in for maintainence people). Because lone women are the most likely to live in poverty? Because, actually and realistically, there is very little you can do to protect yourself except, perhaps, always have a man around (because then you are “his” and so aren’t “fair game”). I mean let’s remember Suzy Lamplugh here – you can ask for a name, he can give you a false one, so what defence is that going to be?

66% of women reported estate agents making viewing appointments when they (the agents) were unavailable to be there. Surely let’s make this a problem of the organiser – estate agents are paid to sell your home for you, maybe women should demand part of that should always be that they bother to turn up with the client.

One third of women reported being made to feel uncomfortable during a viewing, 10% had ended a viewing because they felt uncomfortable with the stranger. No doubt that 10% were then also told by estate agents that they were making it harder to sell the house.

* No commentary is offered as to how many of that is related to dating only or mostly women – heterosexism being alive and kicking.

Comments From You

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 8 May 2008 at 6:42 pm

Once again women are to blame for men’s violence committed against them. No need to demand that laws actually be enacted instead of just being passed. Instead we are told it is women’s fault because they happen not to be owned by a man! Don’t women know they should not be home owners because this is the province of men. Men are not sexually attacked when they sell their homes so obviously women should not attempt to sell their homes. There – problem solved – pass law banning women from owning homes.

J // Posted 9 May 2008 at 12:23 pm

About to graduate from university, I am trying to sell the flat my parents bought for me to live in for the past 3 years. The issue of safety was never brought up by my estate agents when I said I would conduct the viewings myself. After talking with them I felt very let down by the company we had employed. Luckily my flatmate Donald makes sure he is always there so I don’t have to worry about letting strangers into my home. It upsets me though, that being such an ardent feminist, I am dependent on a man for my security however, I know I would feel just as safe with a woman there – the point is anyone, not a MAN. The truly upsetting thing is that I live in a society where this is even a worry, I dream of a world where I meet a stranger and I dont automatically assess their ‘safety score’.

Ruth // Posted 9 May 2008 at 5:28 pm

I think that the way these figures are presented is rather alarmist. It seems perfectly reasonable to me that women would be more wary of inviting a ‘date’ into their house than a stranger who’s looking to buy it. They’re far more at risk of being raped/assaulted by the ‘date’ than by the stranger.

Cara // Posted 10 May 2008 at 11:50 am

Ruth – agree. I would never invite a date in until I felt I knew and trusted them. There are so many expectations – “going in for coffee” etc. and of course, should something unwanted happen, you would have a far greater chance of being believed if it was a stranger than a date.

But of course this is all about *women’s* behaviour. It is on us to *not* invite men in after a date in case they don’t understand “no”, and on us to “keep ourselves safe”. I wonder what a woman trying to sell her place is supposed to do, if the estate agent can’t/ won’t be there? Get her boyfriend/ male friend/ brother to accompany her? Sounds like Saudi Arabia.

How about men learn to behave like decent human beings and stop assaulting and raping?!

Funnily enough – I have just moved into a new flat and have had 3 separate workmen around to do various work. Not one of them tried to attack me. Perhaps because some men can control themselves and behave.

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