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- Over 5.6 million¹ female homeowners may be risking their personal safety by allowing men to view their property while home alone -


Embargoed until 00:01 on Thursday, 8th May 2008 – Although over half (55 per cent) of women questioned said that they’d never let a man into their house on a first date to protect their personal safety, 82 per cent of women are prepared to put their personal safety at risk by inviting men in to view their home while home alone, so as not to miss out on a potential sale.

The research² conducted by, Sheilas’ Wheels Home Insurance, reveals that nearly a fifth (19 per cent) admitted that they wouldn’t even think of safety issues when showing male viewers around their property.

Consequently, 63 per cent of women did not ask their estate agents what safety checks (if any) were made on buyers before allowing them to visit their property. Astonishingly more than half (57 per cent) didn’t even know their potential buyer’s name and almost two thirds (62 per cent) of women didn’t ask their estate agent whether the interested party was coming to the house alone. This is increasingly relevant as women’s earnings continue to rise³, meaning more females are becoming financially independent and choosing to buy their own homes and live alone.

Furthermore, with the ability to arrange private house sales online, more women are liaising directly with potential buyers to sell their properties and sharing personal information with strangers. The research showed that four out of five (81 per cent) women would agree to viewings with men without asking for any details from the potential buyer. A quarter of women (25 per cent) would give their personal mobile number out to men interested in their property and 19 per cent said that they would discuss personal details – such as when they left work and when the house was empty - before meeting the buyer.

A staggering 77 per cent of women admitted that the main reason they are not protecting their safety and allowing prospective male buyers into their homes unaccompanied was eagerness not to miss out on a potential sale – especially in the current climate where buyers are in shorter supply. Other reasons include: estate agents being unavailable at arranged viewing times (64 per cent), embarrassment to ask whether the male viewer would be accompanied by a female (56 per cent), reluctance to bother friends or family to come over (56 per cent), and embarrassment to ask the estate agent to be there at all times (43 per cent) during viewings.

Nearly a third (30 per cent) of women that have shown a man around their house say that they felt ‘intimidated’ or ‘nervous’ when they were alone with the prospective buyer and a further 10 per cent admit to ending a viewing early because they felt uncomfortable about being alone with a stranger.

Worryingly, women are most likely to conduct property viewings in the evening: 53 per cent of women have shown people around after 7pm, with 3 per cent (over 200,000) admitting that they have even allowed viewers to arrive after 9pm.

Top reasons that women arrange house viewings outside of daylight hours:
• Inflexible demands of the potential buyers (35 per cent)
• Long working hours (19 per cent)
• After-work commitments (16 per cent)
• Reluctance to use annual leave allowance (6 per cent)

Jenny Fawson from the Suzy Lamplugh Trust (www.suzylamplugh.org) comments:
“With the rise of property websites that enable users to sell properties privately without the aid of estate agents, it is increasingly common for women to show prospective buyers around their home unaccompanied.

“There are obvious potential risks attached to this practice, therefore anyone showing a stranger around their home should take their safety into consideration and take suitable precautions.”

Top safety tips for showing your property to potential buyers who are unknown to you:
• If selling your house privately, get as much information as possible from the interested party before arranging a viewing and pass on their contact details and home address to a friend or relative. Ask a number of questions until you’re confident that they’re genuinely interested in purchasing your property.
• If the potential buyer is being sent by an estate agent, ask if their identity has been checked. Do not accept the viewing unless they have.
• If the potential buyer is not coming via an estate agent, do your own checks. Always ask for a work number and call it later (but before the viewing) to confirm that they are who they say they are.
• Try not to conduct viewings alone. If you're single or your partner's unable to attend, ask a friend or family member to be with you.
• Take a friendly but professional approach. Avoid getting too familiar in case it gives out the wrong message. Try to look confident and in control.
• If you have to conduct a viewing on your own, keep a mobile phone with you at all times with a speed dial to a close friend or family member.
• Be alert and continually assess the situation. If you feel uncomfortable at any time, don't be afraid to cut the viewing short. Use a pre-planned excuse.

Jacky Brown at Sheilas’ Wheels home insurance, commented:
“With increasingly hectic modern lifestyles, it is easy to arrange viewings of your property with prospective buyers without thinking of the safety aspects of inviting a stranger into your home.

“Sheilas’ Wheels is calling for women to become more aware of the dangers of allowing male prospective buyers into their house unaccompanied and for estate agents to undertake thorough checks on all potential buyers before setting up a viewing. It’s better to risk losing a buyer than risk your personal safety - no matter what the condition of the housing market is.”

Visit Helpful resources|Sheilas' Wheels for further tips on personal safety when buying your property and for a user friendly Guide to Buying and Selling your Home

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About Sheilas’ Wheels Home Insurance:
Sheilas’ Wheels provides both buildings and contents cover – with a contents no claim discount
• Free online access to the CreditExpert identity fraud detection service – provided by Experian which is worth over £80 per year. (Correct at time of print.) Experian will monitor credit reports and provide alerts to help customers detect potential fraudulent activity. This cover is available with either buildings or contents cover.
• Alternative accommodation in the event of lost utilities in the home – covers for loss of gas, water and/or electricity, in the event of a flood for example. (Terms and conditions apply.)
• New for old cover on clothes – depreciation and reductions for wear and tear are not applied for clothing stolen or destroyed in the home.
• Family legal protection – Free to policyholders for one year when bought online (usually £17.80). Policyholders will be provided with up to £50,000 of cover for legal assistance to help them recover uninsured losses. It also provides assistance in finding emergency registered childminders while the insured person is attending jury service, and legal representation for a customer’s child if they do not gain entry to the school of their choice. (Terms and conditions apply.)
• Pest cover – additional cover for the removal of: grey squirrels, wasps and hornets’ nests, rats and mice from the home from just £1.67 per month.
• Home emergency cover - covers up to £500 (inc VAT) for claim the call out charge, up to 2 hours labour costs, and parts and materials up to a maximum of £100 (inc VAT) from just £3.33 per month.
• For an additional premium, personal possessions cover away from the home covers for accidental loss, damage and theft of personal possessions that are temporarily removed from the home.
• Unlimited rebuildings sum insured.
• High market limits for contents in the garden – up to £2500.
• High market limits for contents in outbuildings – up to £5000.

For further information please contact the Sheilas’ Wheels press office at Mischief PR on 020 7100 9999 or email sheilaswheels@mischiefpr.com

Visit the media centre: www.sheilaswheels.com
Visit the official fansite for Sheilas’ Wheels: www.ilovesheilas.com

An ISDN line is available for radio interviews.

Notes to Editors:
¹ 5,693,175 (82 per cent of 6,942,896) Source: Office of National Statistics - Table S046 Sex and NS-SeC of Household Reference Person (HRP) by tenure
² Sheilas’ Wheels used the independent online research company MyVoice who surveyed 1,000 of the UK’s female homeowners, from across the country aged 18 and over, on 21st April 2008
³ Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) 2007, Office of National Statistics
 208,287 (3 per cent of 6,942,896) Source: Office of National Statistics - Table S046 Sex and NS-SeC of Household Reference Person (HRP) by tenure

About Sheilas’ Wheels:
Sheilas’ Wheels was launched in October 2005 to offer women drivers cheaper car insurance and female targeted product enhancements. In February 2008, the brand moved beyond car insurance, to also offer home insurance with product enhancements including free online access to the CreditExpert identity fraud detection service, alternative accommodation in the event of loss of utilities in the home (terms and conditions apply), new for old cover on clothes and family legal protection cover which also includes assistance in finding emergency registered childminders while the insured person is attending jury service, and legal representation for a customer’s child if they do not gain entry to the school of their choice (terms and conditions apply).

Sponsorship:
Sheilas' Wheels sponsors the ITV National weather: “Whether skies are grey or blue, Sheilas’ Wheels could cover you.”

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Mischief PR in the following categories: Home & Garden, Women's Interest & Beauty, Construction & Property, for more information visit http://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.