NEWS AND INFORMATION
VOLUME 22, NO. 5
REALTOR SAFETY ISSUE
Showing Empty Properties
Take these smart steps to protect and empower yourself against attack or theft.
- Be sure to use the lockbox property-key procedure that has been established to improve real estate agent safety so that keys don’t fall into the wrong hands.
- Show properties before dark. If you must show a property after dark, alert or bring along an associate turn on all lights as you go through, and don’t lower any shades or draw curtains or blinds.
- Check in with someone on your team once an hour to let people know where you are.
- Prepare a scenario so that you can leave, or to encourage someone who makes you uncomfortable to leave. Examples: Your cell phone went off and you have call your office; you left some important information in your car; another agent with buyers is on his way.
- When showing a property, always leave the front door unlocked for a quick exit while you and the client are inside. As you enter each room, stand near the door.
- Lock your purse in the car trunk before you arrive. Carry only non-valuable business items (except for your cell phone), and do not wear expensive or watches, or appear to be carrying large sums of money.
- Park at the curb in front of the property rather than in the driveway. It is much easier to escape in your vehicle if you don’t have to back out of a while parked in a driveway another vehicle could purposefully or accidentally trap you.
The safety of Realtors is paramount to all of us at Pillar To Post, so this issue of Post Notes reminds brokers, agents and their teams how to stay safe.
Please visit these websites for additional safety information, tools and resources:
Sources: Louisiana REALTORS® Association; Washington Real Estate Safety Council; City of Albuquerque, NM, Nevada County Association of REALTORS® City of Mesa, AZ
Top 10 Tips
for Personal Safety
- Touch base. Always let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll return. Arrange for your office to call you to check in.
- Don’t get lost. Always know the exact address of where you’re going. If you use a navigation app, pull over and stop in a safe place if you’ve made a wrong turn.
- Sense your surroundings. Is there questionable activity in the area of a property you’re showing? Is anyone loitering? Follow your instincts if you feel you should leave. Leave!
- Don’t go it alone. Have an associate or other colleague host open houses with you.
- Limit the view. If you’re working late, use window coverings so that you’re not visible to passersby or a potential attacker.
- Go on the defense. Learn some self-defense skills. Many health clubs, martial arts studios and community colleges offer basic classes.
- Choose flight over fight. Self defense is a good idea, but the primary goal in any threatening situation is to escape from immediate danger and call for help.
- Park for protection. Always park in a well-lit, visible location whether you’re parking at your office, an open house, or an empty property.
- Make calling for help easy. Program important numbers into your cell phone, including your office, roadside assistance and 911.
- Know who you’re dealing with. Ask for ID, take a photo of a client’s license plate. A criminal won’t be comfortable with this and may be thwarted.
Source: NAR Realtor Safety Resource Kit.
Office Safety Action Plan
Personal safety in the office is important to everyone. Here are some elements to include in your office safety action plan.
Initial meeting with clients
Hold the first in-person client meeting in or just outside your office rather than at properties or at home. It’s also a good idea to introduce them to a colleague on-site.
All first-time clients must provide a driver’s license, state ID or other official photo ID. The office will retain a copy of the ID for security purposes. You can download a Client Profile Form at www.beverlycarterfoundation.org.
Implement a verbal distress code—a secret word or phrase that can be casually worked into conversation if you feel threatened and the person you are with can overhear your conversation.
If you’re uncomfortable meeting with clients alone or hosting open houses alone request another agent or employee to accompany you.
Keep personal information private. Don’t discuss where you live, after-work, or vacation plans in front of prospective clients, new colleagues, or anyone with whom you’re not comfortable.
Make sure all doors other than the main entrance are secured and have a clear exit route from the front desk to the door.
If you encounter a stranger while working late or alone, say something like “My supervisor will be right with you.” to give the impression you’re not there alone.
Know your business neighbors
Get to recognize the staff of other nearby businesses and be aware of their schedules. This will benefit everyone.
Sources: Beverly Carter Foundation
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