The murder of 24-year-old Victoria real estate agent Lindsay Buziak has sent a chill through the industry.
Saanich Police found Buziak dead in a vacant house at 1702 De Sousa Place, Saturday, shortly after 6 p.m. Buziak had an appointment to show the house to a client that afternoon.
Police were tipped off by a pair of 911 calls, including one made inside the home. So far, Saanich Police haven’t confirmed if they have any suspects in the murder.
“It’s a bit scary hearing stories like that,” Prince George real estate agent Summer Giene said. “As woman realtors we’ve all had scary experiences with phone calls or things like that. I don’t think I would go [to a showing] without knowing who I was meeting.”
Giene said she and her business partner Shannon Thomas use a buddy system when meeting new clients.
“We have used that as a benefit of our partnership. Generally, both Shannon and I go to the first appointment with a new client,” she said. “If one of us can’t be there, we have people meet us at the office before we go anywhere.”
Local real estate agent Helen Leckie said agents in the city are taking extra precautions since Buziak’s murder.
“We’ve been given instructions in our office to make sure if it’s a brand new client … to have them come and meet us at the office,” Leckie said.
Her instincts may have saved her from a dangerous situation last fall, she added.
New clients from Vancouver called and asked her to pick them up and show them an isolated, rural property.
Something about the situation left her feeling uneasy.
“For one, it’s your instincts. For two, it’s what they say to you and how they say it,” Leckie said. “I ended up getting a realtor, a male realtor, in my office to come with me. I told them he was new and I was taking him with me as part of his training. I never heard from those clients again, what does that say?”
Real estate agent Sharlene Chometsky said staying safe is a realtor’s first job.
“A lot of it is you have to trust your instincts. At the end of it all, it’s not the deal that’s the priority self preservation is,” Chometsky said.
A few weeks ago, Chomestsky had a new male client call her to show a property.
However, the client didn’t want to meet at the property, at her office or at his residence, she said. After agreeing to meet the client at a local coffee shop, she had second thoughts.
“I didn’t like the sound of this person on the phone. I thought about it, then I just phoned a male realtor and referred the client to him,” she said. “We have to follow through on those self-preservation instincts.”
B.C. Northern Real Estate Board president Glen Holling said when events like the murder of Lindsay Buziak happen, safety becomes top of mind.
“In a situation like this, realtors are all aware… and know what they should do. Practically speaking, we should not be going out and meeting people we don’t know. And we should be making sure the office knows where we are,” Holling said. “[But] when it calms down realtors, like everyone else, tend to forget that.”
Several posting on the Facebook group, In Loving Memory of Lindsay Buziak, described her as a “vibrant” and “ambitious” young woman.
With files from the Saanich News.