It’s no secret that REALTORS® can be exposed to work environments that put their physical safety at risk. Properties located in remote neighborhoods or even closed homes in well-populated communities are a major concern. The biggest and most alarming danger of the business stems from an agent being in proximity with a predatory character who may try to take advantage of the situation.
The purpose of this posting is not to create alarm, as most all REALTORS® advance through their careers without any incidents whatsoever. However even seasoned brokers and agents will stress that taking precautions and remaining vigilant are two very important aspects of maintaining a safe workplace in the real estate industry.
There are four obvious “danger signals” all REALTORS® should recognize, especially when working with brand new clients or prospects:
- A new client who refuses to meet at the office first. New clients should always agree to meet at your office and never at a property. During that first meeting, be sure to make a copy of their driver’s license and have them fill out a basic information sheet better identifying who they are.
- Suspicious behavior. If you have any suspicions or uneasiness about a client, do not go to the showing alone, no matter what time of day. Ask another person to accompany you. If you are at an open house and you feel that you are in danger, leave the home and seek assistance.
- Clients who want you to ride with him or her to a property. Always drive your own car to the property. Keep your car locked while driving to the property and after you park it. If your client will not ride with you, make sure that the completed information form contains the client’s vehicle description and license plate number. Once at the property do not park your vehicle where it can be blocked.
- The buyer wants you to lead the way through the home. Always follow the prospect through the home and never let them get behind you. Your attention should be focused on the client, not on the house.
By no means are these the only measures REALTORS® should follow to ensure their personal safety. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry or going alone to neighborhoods that have a potential for high violent crime rates. Make sure someone at your office knows where you are at all times and have check points to call in throughout the day so they know you are in good shape. Be sure to carry your cell phone with you at all times in case an emergency arises.
These are just a few of the safety tips available on the National Association of REALTORS® updated “Field Guide to REALTOR® Safety” webpage. Be sure to review it thoroughly prior to going out in the field. Also talk with seasoned brokers and agents to learn how they go about maintaining their own personal safety, as well as tactics they use to protect their client’s and their own personal property while on the job.
Have you made a unique safety tactic a routine part of your business practice? Share your thoughts in the space provided below.