Thursday, August 15, 2019 / by Ashley Lay
This one’s for our fellow agents and real estate professionals! We love what we do, but being a realtor can be scary. Think about it: you show up at a vacant house to meet anyone who calls your number. Here are some things you can do to make sure you stay safe out there!
When you first meet a client, take your meeting in a public place: the office or a busy local coffee shop. Make a habit of bringing another agent along or at least introducing the client to a friend or fellow agent so they put a name to the face. Consider asking the client if you can make a copy of their driver’s license before you head out to look at homes. Pay close attention to body language and demeanor and if you’re still uneasy, have a code to let someone know. A common practice is to use “red file” protocol. Ride separately from clients and park where it would be easy to pull out quickly. And before you even consider meeting a client, become your own PI! Google their name and check out their social media pages.
Schedule your showings during daylight hours and if you think the appointment might go past dark, take a fellow agent or friend along with you. If meeting someone at a vacant home, don’t enter the home before they arrive. When you do enter, leave the deadbolt flipped out and the door cracked. Avoid allowing the client to come between you and the door and leave space between you as you tour the home, constantly noting exits. If the whole showing still isn’t sitting right with you, unlock the door to the home and allow the client to tour it themselves. Remain outside and phone a friend to remain on the line until the showing is over.
During an open house, lock the door when in the home alone and consider leaving the door locked during the open house so you can monitor who is entering and exiting. Invest in a wireless driveway monitor that will notify you when someone pulls in. Or really utilize your bluetooth headset: call a friend when the showing begins and stay on the call as long as you need to, just in case!
Always keep your car keys and cell phone on your person and utilize that smart phone! Consider using a tracking app like Life360 to let family or maybe even your fellow agents know where you are. If you don’t want your team members know where you are after-hours, the iPhone app, “Find Friends” allows you to share your location for a set period of time. And there are several apps aimed specifically at realtors that can dial 911, capture an ID, send your location, or turn on recordings, a flashlight or a siren! If you have a permit, consider carrying a concealed firearm or invest in a good can of pepper spray. You can get a good can for less than $20—which is a great tool for a vicious dog, too! And check to see if your office offers courses about being aware of your surroundings or basic self-defense.
As a realtor, we utilize cutting edge technology, the latest tools and all our brainpower to connect the right home with the right client, but don’t forget to utilize all your assets when it comes to your own safety. And don’t forget your greatest tool: your gut! If something tells you the situation is just not right, trust your instincts and get out of there. Stick together, stay safe, see you out there.