Everyday REALTOR® Safety Tips While on the Job
As the month of September highlights Safety for REALTORS®, the NAR has put together everyday REALTOR® safety tips to refresh their knowledge of safety while on the job. While it is important to consider your safety all year round, we’ve compiled some important tips to consider while on the job everyday.
Avoid listing a property as ‘vacant’: Criminals have been known to scour real estate listings in search of properties to target that are currently vacant. In order to deter this threat, make sure both online and on any signage or printed materials on a property that you do not list it is vacant. Disclose this information only to serious buyers once you have met with them, have shown them a property and feel comfortable that they are genuinely interested in the property. You should also alert local authorities, such as police and fire departments that this property is vacant so they are aware in case of any sort of emergency.
Don’t put personal information on any marketing materials: To avoid personal information getting into the wrong hands, if you do not have a physical office address or phone number, do not list your personal details on any for sale signs or online listings. Simply put your first name and a work email address for prospective buyers to contact you. By using your personal contact information, it jeopardizes your family or personal residence as a target. Make sure you always have at least one form of business contact, whether that is an email address or phone number that is not linked to your personal information. Avoid using a photograph of yourself on signage outside of homes for sale.
Inform your colleagues: This is a very big everyday REALTOR® safety tip, and a very simple one to follow. If you are on your own, or even with a colleague, inform your real estate team about where you are showing a property, what time, and whether the clients are traveling with you in your car. Keeping your team informed in case of an emergency not only helps ensure your safety, but the safety of your clients. If they do not hear from you by a certain time, this will also help them alert any local authorities in case of an emergency.
Meeting clients for the first time: Never meet with clients in a secluded area when meeting for the first time. Meet with them at your office, in a cafe near your office, or somewhere neutral and public. This ensures that both you and your clients feel comfortable with each other, and will help you make an educated decision whether they are genuinely interested or if you believe they might be targeting you or your property.
Help keep your REALTOR® team safe: If you had a bad experience with a suspicious client, make sure you voice your concerns to both your immediate team, and other REALTORS® in the area. This will help alert fellow colleagues of potential targeting, and keep everyone informed and safe.
Be aware of your surroundings: Make sure you stay alert when in an unfamiliar area. Keep your eyes up and stay alert. Don’t walk with your head down or distracted by looking at your phone. When showing a property, make sure your clients stay in front of you as you show them the property. Make sure you know where all the exits are located, and that your car is parked in a place that it cannot get blocked in, in case you have to leave in haste.
Be smart with your keys and lock boxes: Do not share keys or passwords with clients or third parties. Make sure only those who need to know passwords have access to them. Consider changing passwords every week (with the permission of the homeowner) in order to help avoid the chances of someone breaking into your listing.