Realtor Found Dead in Vacant Home, Mu...

Realtor Found Dead in Vacant Home, Murder Suspected

There are 30 comments on the WJW Fox 8 Cleveland story from Sep 21, 2010, titled Realtor Found Dead in Vacant Home, Murder Suspected. In it, WJW Fox 8 Cleveland reports that:

A real estate agent was found dead inside a vacant home early Tuesday morning. Investigators said he was murdered and were trying to figure out if his death is related to similar crimes in Northeast Ohio.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at WJW Fox 8 Cleveland.

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Brecksville, OH

#21 Sep 22, 2010
Lock box wrote:
They can go in the system to see when that lock box was accessed if he had it registered. This should tell them what time he entered the house so then a time line could be set if anyone was around that area during that time. So sad I am a realtor and I hate to see stuff like this.
A Combination Lock Box WILL NOT show the time he entered the home. Not everyone has the I-Keys on their homes, alot of agents use Combo Lock Boxes.....

East Liverpool, OH

#22 Sep 22, 2010
Another Realtor wrote:
There are buddy systems in place and smart agents have them. Andy had the best possible buddy system- On Star which located where he was in a minute. However, telling someone where you are going and who you are meeting may not be as efficient as ensuring that who ever you are meeting is a ready, willing and able client who has no problem with providing personal data first. And if they have a problem with that, then they are not worth working with.
OnStar isn't a buddy system. It didn't PREVENT any harm. It just allowed them to find a body. Not 'dissing OnStar but that is NOT the same as a two-partner system.

Neither am I blaming the victim. It's sad that you have to THINK about things such as this. In a perfect world, you'd be safe doing your job and trying to serve the public. Apparently not.

I think it IS a wake up call to the males among us that they are not safer because they are men. Sadly, I'm going to guess that a lot fewer FEMALES would have gone out to that vacant house alone but men normally don't think like women and see danger in every corner.

Perhaps, sadly, they should (but again this is NOT blaming the victim, Mr. VonStein, for "going there.") He SHOULD have been able to go anywhere in pursuit of his job and been safe doing so.

This is just tragic.
NE OH Realtor

Cleveland, OH

#23 Sep 22, 2010
I am a Realtor who was formerly in the Law Enforcement field. Even with my background in Law Enforcement, I sometimes forget to put safety first. I can think back to the last few months of how many times I have just met a prospect at a home without meeting in the office first, or the times at open houses or showings that I have gone into a basement with the person and before you know it they have walked across the room and got between me and the stairs. Thank God that I am fortunate that nothing has happened to me. My heart goes out to the families of Andrew VonStein and Vivian Martin (For those of you who don't know Vivian -a Realtor- was found on Monday in a burned out home in the Youngstown, OH area). I really feel that we all need to re-learn and re-vamp our safety plan and make sure to document everything we are doing. I recommend that every agent take a self defense course and carry at least pepper spray if not also a stun gun or taser. I know that many brokerages have a policy against agents carrying firearms, however, if you have your concealed carry permit, I would rather you deal with the fact that you broke your brokerages "policy" than to end up like Andrew or Vivian.
Buddy system

Cleveland, OH

#24 Sep 22, 2010
Every Realtor I know has a buddy come with them to at least their open houses. I actually have sat around while they showed a house and they'd slip me 40 bucks or so. No a bad way to earn a few bucks on a Sunday ans ensure the safety of a friend.
Of course , I live in Cleveland itself and my Realtor friends show a lot of "ghetto" properties.
And I personally think that open houses should be banned or at least have the requirement of having a second person there.
Another HH Realtor

United States

#25 Sep 22, 2010
I don't think open houses should be banned and I don't agree they don't sell a home, I've sold 3 of them this year through an open house, HOWEVER, we all know when we meet someone, we sometimes get that vibe...don't ignore it! I have no problem if someone is already IN the house or coming IN to ASK them to stay until the person I don't have a good feel with leaves. I have never had anyone turn me down, instead, they will sometimes step up and follow them thru.....I will also dial the 91 so I only have one number to press....I move to the door for easy exit. I do not follow people around nor will I go to the bsmt. If they don't sign in, they don't get to look....PERIOD. Don't care if they leave in a huff or not. We HAVE to learn to ALWAYS stay alert and if it doesn't seem right.....listen to our intuition, we have it for a reason.
Sheppard 07

United States

#26 Sep 22, 2010
Andy was a great guy and a mentor to me when I got in the business. No pre approval in the world would have kept this from happening. This is not Andy's fault for not being dilligent. Knowing Andy, he would have been willing to accept this fate rather than it happening to one of his Realtors. Lets all just be safe, use a the buddy system and varify as much info as possible when we're in the field. God Bless you Andy Vonstien.
No name

Kent, OH

#27 Sep 22, 2010
It is unfortunate that Andrew has been shot and is unfortunate that no one has heard the shot. We (neighbors and construction workers have been working on a house) did not see anything suspicious. However, I have been watching a car lurking around Monday and Tuesday when the reporters, detectives and sheriffs were there. As I was speaking to one of the detectives, I had him turn his head and he saw the car I was describing about that kept going by the sheriffs and the media.

I think the car that I have described, seems a bit suspicious.

This whole thing is tragic and was shocked because you would not expect something like this to happen in a nice neighborhood. I hope the people or person that did this, gets arrested and be sentenced to 30 years to life in prison. This could be linked to the same type of crime in North East Ohio.

However, reading the comments, I do agree with the fact that there should be another Realtor there in case something happens and the other Realtor can call 911 if in an emergency situation.

I am keeping my thoughts and prayers to Andrew, his family and friends.

United States

#28 Sep 23, 2010
Demanding prior proof of buyer/looker loan pre-approval is absolutely necessary these days. This should be done before you let anyone "look" at, let alone step onto, the property. Doing so can not only save your life but, can also help avoid the very real, and not at all uncommon, problem of "lookers" who are only interested in looking for something to steal and/or a place to burglarize at a later date (always double check that all the doors and windows are properly locked after each and every "showing"). Another good thing about following this well known advise is that you, the Realtor (and the seller), will avoid wasting time and money on "lookers" who have little or no hope of buying the property. Also keep in mind that certain people make a hobby of "looking" at, but never buying, property (some of these people are just out to "snoop" around).

The above advise, along with the necessity of having at least one other person with you, must not be ignored.

It's also a good idea to make a cell phone call, from the very beginning of the "showing", so as to verify the time, date, and place of the previously arranged event.

The only good thing here is that those who are investigating this crime will, almost surely, find out just who did this and why...

Our condolences go out to the family and loved ones of this man.
Ravenna Homeowner


#30 Sep 23, 2010
Sheppard 07 wrote:
Andy was a great guy and a mentor to me when I got in the business. No pre approval in the world would have kept this from happening. This is not Andy's fault for not being dilligent. Knowing Andy, he would have been willing to accept this fate rather than it happening to one of his Realtors. Lets all just be safe, use a the buddy system and varify as much info as possible when we're in the field. God Bless you Andy Vonstien.
I absolutely agree with you. Horrible things happen to even the best of people. Andy was my realtor, and a pleasure to work with. I never saw him when he wasn't upbeat or smiling. There is no way he could have expected this tragedy, and his personality was not one that would have allowed him to live his life in fear. My heart goes out to his family. Andy spoke of them often and with great love for both his wife and his girls. I hope that they can find peace in the fact that they made him very happy while he was here. He will be truly missed by many.
j powers

Kent, OH

#31 Sep 23, 2010
i live maybe a few miles from where this tragedy took place. actually i live on the street andy and my mom grew up on. she tells me stories; with tears in her eyes.
she told me" he was my very first friend" why does everything always happen in chucks? scared for all of us that someone so cruel could live among us.we should know by now how fragile life is. watched my neighbors how burn down a few days before...thats more. no one deserves this

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