The importance of safety practices for REALTORS® cannot be overstated. The National Association of REALTORS® 2020 Member Safety Report shows that 31% of agents reported feeling unsafe during an open house and showings. With that in mind, here are some of the best methods to engage in for your safety as a real estate agent.
Start with safe practices in mind. Before showing potential clients properties, meet them somewhere neutral and ideally with another person. Make it a point to introduce them to your coworkers. Knowing that several people can identify them may discourage predators.
Building a safe relationship with your clients should start at the very beginning. Don’t forget to make a copy of their ID and note their vehicle’s make, model, and license plate number. Keep this information in a place your coworkers know about so they can easily find it if needed. Remember, you set the tone for the relationship with your clients. Listen to your gut and walk away if they show any qualms about these basic safety practices.
Get to know the neighbors.
This one is a good safety tip and a good business practice. Once a property is listed, take some time to introduce yourself to the neighbors and let them know you’ve listed one of their neighbor’s homes and will be in the neighborhood on occasion. Feel free to give them a card. Remember, the more people who have seen you will help deter potential threats.
Don’t be complacent.
Stay aware and stay safe. While it isn’t always possible to only show properties during the day, try, if possible, to avoid showing properties after dark. Even during broad daylight, even in the best neighborhood, even in an expensive home, make sure you don’t get complacent and let your guard down.
As real estate agents, we frequently work in a silo by ourselves. However, try not to attend showings by yourself. Having a partner with you is safer, such as a colleague or a close friend. But, again, just because you are showing a property to a “nice couple” or a “family man,” don’t let your guard down. Predators will do anything to give a false sense of security.
Lastly, make sure several people know where you are going, which client(s) you will be with, and what time you expect to be done. Even better yet, write it down.
Be smart. Be safe.
If you are driving a client to a showing, put away your purse and any valuables before the client enters the vehicle. And, if you are driving to a property with a client, stay on the planned route. Unplanned stops alone can provide opportunities.
Once you are at a property, keep an eye out for squatters. Should you see a door ajar or a window that is open when you are approaching the listing, do not enter. Do not approach a squatter yourself, as this could put you and your client in danger. Call the police immediately.
Let your client go first.
When showing a property, carefully avoid going into closed-off areas of the home, such as basements, closets, and laundry rooms. When touring the property, always keep the client(s) in front of you.
No commission is worth your life.
During the showing, if you feel uncomfortable or feel like something is not right, stop right away. Listen to your intuition and get away from the situation. Do not worry about offending anyone. A commission is not worth risking your life.
Agents, don’t let yourselves be intimidated by the risks of your job. Instead, take pride in what you do and be smart about how you do business. Check out our FREE agent safety guide for more essential tips on being smart and safe.