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Safety Tips for Real Estate Agents
Real Estate Agent CareersReal estate agents enjoy working with the public and have historically felt safe while performing their jobs, but the trend has shifted in recent years, with a number of agents raped, robbed and murdered while showing homes and other properties.
Real estate firms have responded to the violence by implementing procedures to help keep their agents safe. If your office has developed agent safety policies, follow them. If it hasn't, there are several things you can do to help minimize your risks of an attack.
Verify Customer Information
Ask your customer for work, phone and cell phone numbers and a physical address. Ty to verify the information by calling the customer at one or more numbers. If you cannot do that, enter the customer's home phone number or name, city and state on Google to see if you get a match.
Do not meet unknown customers at a property. Require that they come to your office and make sure someone writes down their license plate number and notes the type of car they are driving. It isn't out of line to ask to make a copy of customer driver's license.
Give someone in your office an itinerary of properties you plan to show and check in as often as possible by cell phone or ask someone at the office to call you occasionally. Work with others in your office to come up with a code phrase that alerts them when you are uncomfortable about a showing and a second phrase for emergency situations. If you call and say those words, they'll know that someone should either head out to accompany you or call the police.
Never get into a car with someone you don't know. Use your vehicle for showings or ask your customer to follow you in another car. If you encounter a threatening situation while in your vehicle, hit the brakes to startle your attacker. An alternative that some agent advocates recommend is to create a minor, slow speed accident in a public place by brushing up against a fixed object then open your door and run. If that's not possible, pull the car very close to an object on the right side so that your passenger cannot easily get out, then run. Be noisy create as much attention as possible to frighten your attacker.
More Real Esate Agent Safety Tips
- Carry a cell phone in your pocket and program it to dial 911 at the touch of a button
- Never work at a public open house by yourself
- Do not show vacant properties by yourself unless you know your customers
- Carry pepper spray or mace in your pocket, but be sure to get the type that can be aimed at a specific target (some are general and might affect you as much as they do your attacker)
- Let your customers enter a room while you stay by the door
- Pay attention to exits
Trust your instincts. Ask someone else to accompany you to show or list property if you feel uncomfortable about the people you are working with. Don't assume that women are safer customers, because they are as capable of armed robbery as a man and sometimes work with a partner who waits at the house for the two of you to arrive.
If your office doesn't have safety procedures, ask your broker in charge to conduct a meeting where agents can work together to devise and implement a plan that keeps you all a safe as possible while you're showing real estate.