Squatters Plague Vacant Area Homes

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TURLOCK --

A local realtor says she’s reeling after a scary experience at one of her listings. It’s a story she wants all realtors to hear.

FOX40 was with property owner Hilda Papion Friday when she got her first look at her for sale Turlock property after people broke in and trashed it.

“Even the closet door is gone, the bathroom door is gone,” she noted.

Papion’s realtor for the vacant property, Jori Nunes, believes she just missed those squatters the day before. A neighbor had noticed the normally open blinds had been closed and called the realtor and police.

“It was very disturbing. Police had already made a round when I got here and they told me they found disturbing material inside,” Nunes said.

Turlock police confirm they responded to a trespassing call, but said they didn’t find anyone inside.

Though Nunes said the graffiti on the walls, broken closet doors and trash made it all too clear someone had been there. She said she’s run into squatters at this home before.

“I actually walked up while they were carrying the appliances out of the home,” recalled Nunes.

However, Thursday was different.

“I got a call from a blocked number asking me to show the property, and being a female I was a bit suspicious,” she said.

Nunes never agreed to meet the caller, but now believes he was trying to lure her to the vacant home. She fears for what would have happened if police hadn’t gotten there first.

“Unfortunately, that’s not a new occurrence, people are threatened safety-wise every day here in Sacramento,”said Erin Stumpf, a board member with the Sacramento Association of Realtors.

Stumpf said she herself is one of many realtors who has had a close encounter with squatters at vacant properties.

“It seemed to be a big problem during the Great Recession, and then it seemed to go away a little bit, and now squatters seem to be back,” Stumpf said.

The Sacramento Association of realtors recommends realtors always let someone know where they’re going before showing a property.

Additionally, they advise never meeting an unknown client for the first time at a property.

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