As a real estate agent, you thought you’d seen just about everything. Then you saw what appeared to be illegal drugs and related paraphernalia in a property you’re going to be showing to buyers. This isn’t a particularly uncommon discovery in homes that have been through a foreclosure or are otherwise vacant.
Real estate safety experts warn not to touch anything, leave immediately and then call the police. First, though, calm down. You haven’t done anything wrong. Moreover, you’ll need to think clearly as you deal with this – and you do have to deal with it.
Don’t touch anything (even on your way out)
If you even suspect that something is an illegal substance, don’t pick it up and inspect it more closely. Chances are that you’re not going to know whether that powder in a baggie is cocaine no matter how long you study it. Try not to touch anything on your way out either. If you did touch the suspected drugs or paraphernalia, put them back exactly where you found them.
Call the police
When you call them, just give them the basic facts – for example, that you saw what you believe to be illegal drugs and where you saw them. Let the police know if you touched them.
Call the agent who’s listing the property
You have a responsibility to let the listing agent know what you believe you found and that you notified the police. Don’t call them instead of or before you’ve called the police, however.
If it turns out that what you found wasn’t drugs, at least you did the right thing by reporting it. You did what is required professionally and for your own and others’ safety.
You shouldn’t face any type of legal ramifications for reporting suspected illegal drugs. This is more likely if you see them and don’t report them. However, if the police have questions that seem to go beyond what you reported to them, it may be wise to seek legal guidance before talking with them further.