Unfortunately, this blog post is being written because Broker Beverly Carter’s body was found yesterday. You can read CNN’s article on it here: Risky Business: Real Estate Agent’s Killing Hits Home for Realtors
A major concern for realtors is personal safety. Many times we are working alone, showing a property, having an open house, or a broker preview. Some personal safety issues should include:
- On the first meeting of a client, have them meet you at the office. Get as much personal information as possible. A copy of the driver’s license is a good start not only for safety, but also for the client database.
- If you have a strange feeling about the client, don’t show property by yourself. Ask a co-worker to go with you; at worst you might have to split the commission. If you are manning an open house and you feel that you might be in danger, leave the property and call for help.
- Always drive your own car to the property as this might be the only means of escape. On the way make notes on the type of car, color, and license plate number and call the office with this information. Once at the property make sure your car is not blocked and you have an easy escape (no backing-up).
- As you are showing the property, always have the client lead you; this allows the property to present itself and keeps the client where you can see them. Make sure they sign-in on the registry and if the office does not have the information on the client, get the information to them. Your office will know you are with a client at this time.
- Keep your keys and cell phone close and easy to access. If need be, keys can be an effective weapon of surprise. If you have a handbag, keep it with you at all times or locked in the trunk of your car.
- Know the property. Not only do you look more professional, but safer; your client does not know all of the exits as well as you should.
- Take a few self defense classes, as a few minutes head start out of the property means the difference in a safe escape and being trapped. Take the first chance for escape and don’t try to talk your way out; keep your advantage. The more time you spend in a dangerous situation means a diminished chance of a safe exit.
- Let the client see that you have contacted your office and the office knows who you are with. It is also a good idea to have a secret code for trouble such as “Pick up dog food” when you don’t have a dog. It is also a good idea to set your phone to vibrate as your client will not know if you are calling or if you are receiving a phone call.
- If there is an emergency, your office can play a vital role. Make sure they have the make of your car, its color, and license plate. If you are using a different car that day, make sure they have its description as well.
- Make sure your office has your schedule for the day and that you check in on each appointment. If you are hosting an open house, make sure you have a registry book for clients to sign in. See if you can also include the client’s car description. Tell the client it is just in case they get a parking ticket and you want to document the reason for parking there or some other reason.
These safety tips should become second nature with little thought to be truly effective. Being an agent means sometimes you will work alone. With today’s cell phones and email capabilities and some careful thought, you will be safer and can be in contact with help quicker.