Real Estate Agent Safety Tips
Always let someone know where you are going and when you will be back. Leave the name and phone number of the client you are meeting and schedule a time for your office to call you to check in.
When showing a home, always have your prospect walk in front of you. Don’t lead them, but rather, direct from a position slightly behind them. You can gesture for them to go ahead of you and say, for example, “The master suite is in the back of the house.”
Whenever possible, take your car to a showing. When you leave your car, lock it. Also, park in front of the house and not in the driveway. This insures you don’t get “blocked” in.
While every real estate agent should take a basic self-defense course, the primary goal in any threatening situation is to escape from the danger and call for help.
Create on office distress code, a secret word or phrase that is not commonly used but can be worked into any conversation for cases where you feel that you are in danger. Use this if the person you are with can overhear the conversation, but you don’t want to alarm them. Example, “Hi, this is Jennifer. I’m with Mr. Henderson at the Elm Street listing. Could you email me the RED FILE?”
Part of being prepared to deal with a threatening situation is having “an out.” Prepare a scenario in advance so that you can leave – or you can encourage someone who makes you uncomfortable to leave. Examples: Your cell phone went off and you must call your office, you left something important in your car, or another agent with buyers is on the way.
Take two seconds when you arrive at your destination to check out potential dangers:
Is there any questionable activity in the area?
Are you parked in a well-lit, visible location?
Can you be blocked in the driveway by another vehicle?
If you encounter an individual while working late or alone in your office, indicate to that person that you are not alone. Say something like, “Let me check with my supervisor to see whether she’s able to see you now.”
When showing a vacant commercial site, be aware of the time of day you meet a client. Showing a property at dusk or after dark, with no electricity on in the space you are showing is not advisable.
Remind your clients that strangers will be walking through their home during showings or open houses. Tell them to hide any valuables in a safe place. For security’s sake, remember to remove keys, credit cards, jewelry, crystal, furs and other valuables from the home or lock them away during showings. Also, remove prescription drugs.
Upon entering an open house property for the first time, check each room and determine at least two “escape” routes. Make sure the deadbolt locks are unlocked for easy access to the outside.
At an open house, be alert to visitors’ comings and goings, especially near the end of showing hours. Police have reported groups of criminals that target open houses, showing up with multiple people near the end of the afternoon. While several “clients” distract the agent, others go through the house and steal anything they can quickly take.