From our Real Estate Agent Learning (REAL) Program
With recent violent attacks on real estate agents being displayed in the news media, we felt it was important to highlight steps that can be taken to stay safe.
Your whole life you were warned not to talk to strangers, but if you are a real estate agent, this is exactly what you do for a living. Not only do you talk to strangers, you actually meet them in private locations. There are some very real dangers associated with this profession, but taking a few simple steps can greatly reduce the chances of you becoming a victim.
Try using the buddy system. If you can find a co-worker to partner with, showing homes together will greatly reduce your chances of having a crime committed against you during interactions with clients. If you can't find a co-worker, consider bringing a friend or spouse, especially if you are going to be in a location that does not have many people nearby. Criminals prefer easy targets. Two people together makes committing a crime a lot more difficult.
Let others know where you are. Give them date and time of the meeting, as well as the location and when you expect to return. Also tell them who you are going to be meeting. The more information you provide the better. While it is a good idea to share this information ahead of time, it makes sense to share it again, at the start of your meeting with the client. This way, they know that another person is aware of your location and expected time of return. Working on tight time frames is not typically on the agenda of a predator.
ALWAYS TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS: Would you rather offend a potential client or be fighting for your life?
Identify all of the exits ahead of time, not just the front door. Unlock these exits in preparation for a quick get away if needed. Be aware of the nearest exit as you walk through the different parts of the home.
Walk behind the client. This allows you to keep your eyes on them throughout the showing. It prevents an unexpected sneak attack from behind. When entering rooms, allow the client to go in as you stay at the threshold of the door. This way the client can ask you questions, but you are not trapped. Also avoid entering confined spaces with the client, such as basements or attics, that have limited access points.
Have an excuse ready to go! If something feels off... it probably is. If you are feeling uncomfortable with the client's behavior, deploy a pre-built reason that you need to leave. This can be as simple as, "OH NO! I just got a text that my child got hurt. I have to go!" Whatever you choose to use is fine. Just have a reason prepared to get you out of there in a hurry, but also one that a true client would understand.
These simple tips can greatly increase your safety when showing a property to a client. What if you are doing an open house? Check out our blog tomorrow for more tips.