When it comes to REALTOR® safety, being a day late and a dollar short can cost you a lot more than just the deal. As associates, never assume someone’s intentions match your own and be on alert at all times. Though attacks on real estate agents heavily favor women, men are not immune. In fact, they face exactly the same on-the-job dangers. The bottom line: you need to have a plan and be prepared.
Here’s our short list on staying safe and staying in the game:
- Share Your Schedule: Letting people know where you are is an easy way for your peers to check on you. Even if you’re too busy to call, share your calendar with a friend or spouse so that if something goes awry, they can get to you quickly.
- Let Someone Know Who You’re Meeting: Tell someone, either at home or at the office, who you’re meeting with, when, where and how long you think you’ll be there. This is a quick and easy way to let someone know that if you’re not back on the grid by a certain hour, there may be cause for alarm.
- Park Strategically: If you happen to be running late and just zip quickly into the driveway, you might overlook this very important step. Be mindful when approaching a home and either back into the driveway, or park on the street for a quick getaway if necessary.
- Your Phone is SMART: Technology today can assist REALTORS® in a plethora of ways. Be sure to know how to make an emergency call from your phone in case of well, an emergency.
- Go Public: When meeting a new client for the first time, choose a public, yet inviting space. If a new client insists on meeting in their home, oblige but bring a colleague to ensure your safety.
- Be Spatially Aware: When you’re showing a home, whether it’s the first time or the 100th, keep clients in front of you so you are aware of their movements at all times.
- Follow the Light: When feasible, contain your showings to daylight hours. Attackers are generally less willing to strike if there is a chance they may be caught.
- Embrace Your Inner Ninja: Though REALTOR® safety is a serious issue, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and learn something while being proactive. Head to your local martial arts institution and take a self-defense class. Better yet, schedule one for your brokerage for a fun, informative team-building event.
- Save the Heels for Date Night: You might have the perfect shoes for the outfit you’ve chosen but if you can’t run in them, ditch them for a reasonable, flat shoe. Be sure that it’s one you can maneuver in if you have to get out of somewhere fast.
- Change the Code: If you’re a real estate agent that doesn’t change their lockbox codes or uses the same code for all of their listings, you are doing yourself a disservice. Though clients are not supposed to have these codes, agents sometimes give them to contractors and the like. Be ahead of the game and change codes regularly to ensure that when you walk into a house, you know what to expect.
- Phone a Friend: When it comes to vacant houses, make every effort to have someone with you. Whether another associate or a pal willing to sit in the car and wait for you, this is an easy way to prevent you from being in an unsafe situation.
In addition to these, many REALTORS® opt to carry some sort of weapon. In the National Association of REALTORS® 2017 Member Safety Report, the most two commonly held items for self-protection were pepper spray and firearms. Of these, there was a significant gender bias in each case: five times more women carried pepper spray than men and more than twice as many men carried firearms than women. Be aware however, that carrying a weapon you are unsure how to use has the potential do more harm than good.
Finally, don’t just be smart, be smarter! Take a look at some tech solutions that can help with REALTOR® safety at your fingertips. Click here: Safety apps for REALTORS®.